What is the history of veterinary medicine

History of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna


Veterinary medicine in Vienna: A quarter of a millennium of responsibility and history

The history of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna goes back to the middle of the 18th century, more precisely back in time Empress Maria Theresa (1717-1780) back. When the regent on March 24, 1765 decreed "A training school for the cure of livestock diseases" founded the history of the Viennese veterinary medicine and its school. A school whose scientific development was shaped by human medicine and the military. It was a model for other veterinary schools in the Habsburg Monarchy and in the rest of Europe.

The first veterinary school in the German-speaking area

The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna is one of the three eldest Institutions of their kind worldwide. After Lyon (founding act 1761, opening 1762) and the school in Alfort near Paris, also founded in 1765, it was the first veterinary school in German-speaking countries.

The establishment of the Vienna Veterinary Medicine can be classified in the increasing institutionalization of veterinary medicine, since other countries soon founded similar schools. As in France, the focus of veterinary medicine in Vienna was initially on the horse. Instead of a school for livestock diseases, the "K.k. Horse Cure and Operation School " a training institute for military blacksmiths established. It was not until 1775, with the chair for cattle disease science at the medical and surgical faculty in Vienna, that livestock slowly began to come into focus. But first that Opening of the “K.k. Thierspitals “1776 enabled comprehensive teaching, research and treatment of sick farm animals and horses.


Film 250 years of Vetmeduni Vienna


Historical pictures


Vienna veterinary medicine in the field of tension between human medicine and the military

The early phase of veterinary medicine in Vienna was shaped by the interests of the military and the scientific influence of human medicine. This area of ​​tension remained for the next 150 years - until the end of the Habsburg monarchy. Healthy horses were essential for the military. So was the “K.k. Horse Cure and Operations School "shaped by military influence and was also run by a military course blacksmith, Ludwig Scotti (1728-1806) guided.

Initially, the medical doctors were responsible for researching and treating cattle diseases. The professor of cattle disease at the medical-surgical faculty in Vienna was, for example, Paul Adami (1739-1795 or 1814), Human medicine. He was out in the provinces of the monarchy to examine sick cattle. Also Johann Gottlieb Wolstein (1738-1820), the founder of the “K.k. Thierspitals “, studied human medicine and surgeon before he continued his training in veterinary medicine on a study tour of several years through Europe.

The institutional history of veterinary medicine in Vienna remained closely linked to the history of the medical and surgical faculty of the University of Vienna until the middle of the 19th century. Although Adami's chair was canceled again in 1781, the professors at the Vienna Veterinary Institute, the successor to the animal hospital, were all still graduates of Vienna's human medicine. 1812 eventually became the Veterinary Institute incorporated into the medical-surgical faculty. Until the institute was detached from this association in 1849, only licensed physicians and surgeons were able to study veterinary medicine alongside the military blacksmiths. From 1849, civilians who had only completed normal school were able to take veterinary medicine for the first time.

The close connection with human medicine enabled veterinary medicine to develop its medical and scientific development, so that the focus was not only on the interests of the military, the blacksmiths and thus equine medicine. The Military forge remained one of the institutes despite the medical orientation of the veterinary institute most influential student groups at the institute. They were able to study veterinary medicine, even if they often couldn't even read or write and - in contrast to their licensed human medicine colleagues - did not have to pay either for the study or for the exams.

These conditions not only slowed the scientific development of Viennese veterinary medicine, but repeatedly led to sometimes bloody demonstrations. This problematic situation was finally resolved only after the First World War: by subordinating those mentioned since 1896 "Veterinary College" under the State Office for Education, while she was previously assigned to the War Department.


Viennese veterinary medicine and the Habsburg monarchy

Due to its central position in the Habsburg Monarchy as the political and cultural center of the monarchy, Vienna was the starting point for the development of a Habsburg veterinary system. Since the establishment of the "k.k. Thierspital" in 1776, the Viennese veterinary medicine was a model for further founding of veterinary schools within the Habsburg monarchy. This exemplary character was based primarily on the government's will to create a veterinary system for the entire monarchy to ward off cattle epidemics.

For this purpose, medical practitioners from all parts of the monarchy should be sent to the Vienna Animal Hospital to learn veterinary medicine. They should then return to their home provinces, either as Doctors “knowledgeable about cattle diseases” to practice or to set up chairs for cattle disease studies at the medical-surgical faculties. The government wanted to have such a chair at every medical school in the monarchy.

By the middle of the 19th century, such chairs opened throughout the monarchy, and there were also many such “schools” in what is now Austria: cattle disease studies were taught in Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt and Salzburg, while Linz was a farriery school. However, many of these chairs were canceled because there were no interested parties for this course, which was “unpopular” at the time, and the hoped-for success in the fight against the epidemics did not materialize.

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Vienna as a popular student city

As is well known, Vienna was and is a magnet for students from all parts of Europe and around the world. The "Tierarznei-Institut", the predecessor institution of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, was also frequented by students from all over the world. In the 19th century, students from the Habsburg monarchy predominated. The dissolution of the monarchy in 1919 made the situation more difficult for many students. With the newly established states, citizenships were reassigned, so that students could no longer be accepted at Viennese universities so easily. A few months earlier they could study here without any problems.

Women had been admitted to the Veterinary College since 1919. Interestingly, the first female students did not come from Vienna or Austria. The first female student came from eastern Galicia, what is now western Ukraine and in 1921 attended school for one semester, but without graduating. The following students came from Bulgaria, but left the university just as quickly. First The first woman graduated in 1939.

Vienna has always been characterized by a diverse student life. The Viennese veterinary medicine was since 1777 in the third district of Vienna home, since 1823 in Linken Bahngasse. The civil blacksmith students who completed their training to become master blacksmiths lived around this location. The military blacksmiths lived in the barracks, of course. The human medicine students lived near their main place of study, the medical-surgical faculty and the general hospital in the 9th district.

When the school moved to the third district in 1777, the country road was still a village “buffer zone” between the city and the country. Traders and farmers passed through here on their way to the markets of the city of Vienna. With the localization of the animal hospital there, both townspeople and farmers should have the chance to give their sick animals treatment here. In 1918, Landstrasse had long ceased to be a village, but a heavily urbanized part of Vienna. At this point in time, discussions arose about moving to a new location. But for almost 70 years it didn't go beyond discussion. It wasn't until 1990 that the 21st district found the new location, which the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna 1996 related.

Unique technical and research university

Today the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna is the only university of its kind in Austria and the only way to study veterinary medicine in Austria. It trains future veterinarians at an international level and continuously drives research into animal and human health - in an interdisciplinary and international context.

It is one of the leading veterinary research and training institutions in Europe, as the evaluations of the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE) regularly show.


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