Early Veterinary Activities at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 1870s - 1920s; The Rise and Fall of Virginia's State-Controlled Veterinary Complex

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Virginia Tech


Veterinary activities at VPI between 1872 and 1959 established the Blacksburg institution as the center of Virginia's veterinary education long before the opening of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1980. This thesis traces the lineage of VPI's veterinary medicine program back to the inception of the institution, locates VPI's contribution to veterinary medicine within the State of Virginia and nationally, and puts all these developments within the general historical context of the role of land-grant agricultural colleges in the development of veterinary medicine. The organization of veterinary activities of the state of Virginia took the form of a veterinary complex, its four main components of education, research, dissemination of veterinary knowledge, and prevention and control of livestock disease located in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries on the VPI campus in Blacksburg. This complex--taken as a whole--functioned as the primary actor in the veterinary network in Virginia--along with other veterinary institutions and offices that existed off- campus. The neglected history of early veterinary research and education in Virginia is important, because it clearly establishes these early veterinary activities at VPI as laying the groundwork for the establishment of the VMRCVM in 1980 and it shows why the VMRCVM was established at VPI (now referred to as Virginia Tech).



dairy herd, Ellzey, disease, outbreaks, black leg