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Not Now

The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

small animals in the metropolitan areas of Texas. Food animal practices shrunk,
and the old-style country vet became a character out of the past.
The book reminds us how crude veterinary medicine was until a few decades
ago. In Texas, climate and environmental factors, as well as the long border with
Mexico, helped retard change. For decades, purebred livestock and dogs could
not survive in the harsh conditions. The first great triumph of veterinary science
in the state was the discovery by Mark Francis of the cause of Texas fever and its
eventual cure. Other scourges, like foot-and-mouth disease and rabies, took
longer to control. During World War II, rabies was rampant in the state, and on-
ly animal control regulations instituted by cities after 1945 caused its eventual
Like other professionals striving for respectability and power in a modernizing
society, Texas veterinarians had to fight for turf against unlicensed practitioners.
As late as the Depression, county agents spent some of their time dispensing
care to sick animals. Evidently the U.S. Department of Agriculture encouraged
this practice because vets were few in number. Misunderstandings between the
two groups were eventually worked out.
The authors emphasize the strong connection between the veterinary profes-
sion and the military in Texas. Originally, the presence of cavalry units in the
state cemented this relationship. Later, after the founding of the Veterinary Col-
lege at Texas A&M University, many graduates saw service in the army. This was
especially true during World War II, when veterinarians were employed as food
and environmental hygiene inspectors. In recent years, the military connection
was further strengthened with the concentration of all service guard dog train-
ing in Texas.
Like the medical profession, veterinary medicine has seen enormous changes
from the 1960s onward. The gender barrier was finally breached when women
entered the profession in greater numbers. The urbanization of practice
brought specialization and a high-tech approach. Diagnostic and preventive
medicine became routine for both small and food animals to the point where,
except in the wilds of West Texas, the James Herriot type of doctoring has virtu-
ally disappeared.
This volume, then, is much more than an old-fashioned institutional history.
With its sophisticated analysis of how animal care has developed, it joins the
growing literature which charts the modernization of Texas.
Texas Tech University MARK FRIEDBERGER
Peddlers and Post Traders: The Army Sutler on the Frontier. By David Michael Delo.
(Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1992. Pp. 274. Introduction, epi-
logue, notes, bibliography, index. $29.95.)
The United States Army in the nineteenth century supplied its soldiers with
only the barest necessities in the way of food and clothing, and civilian contrac-
tors called sutlers (post traders after the Civil War) supplied enlisted men, offi-
cers, and neighboring civilians with everything from pocket combs to ketchup,


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 6, 2016.

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