Bourgelat, an equestrian writer

François VALLAT

Docteur vétérinaire, Docteur en Histoire
10 rue Jean Pigeon, 94220 Charenton-le-Pont

Before the creation of veterinary colleges, young Claude Bourgelat heads the Academy of horse riding in Lyon since 1740, whereas François Robichon de La Guerinière, already famous for his École de Cavalerie writings, heads the one at the Tuileries in Paris. Bourgelat’s tract on horse riding, the Nouveau Newcastle (1744), will never meet the reputation of the prestigious La Guérinière’s one, which encourages the author to get more involved in other subjects taught by horsemen, hippology and horse medicine. In accordance with the contemporary scientific approach, his works, especially on horse mechanics, will give him a name of specialist to the eyes of politics who will offer him to start veterinary teaching. What is striking about the beginning of Bourgelat’s career is that he shaped himself by being a rival and a mimic of La Guérinière, a support he left by quitting horse school for horse medicine.

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Ref. :éd.sci.vét., 2015, 15 : 155-178

Posted in 2015, A-F, Horses, Modern, People | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The life of an anatomist, inventory after Honoré Fragonard’s death (1732-1799)

Christophe DEGUEURCE

Professeur, conservateur du musée Fragonard
École nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort, 7 av. du général de Gaulle, 94700 Maisons-Alfort

Honoré Fragonard (1732-1799) is one of the rare anatomists who was renowned for the quality of his preparations and not for his writings. Famous throughout Europe for his art of injections, little of him was known until now. This article transcribes the inventory drawn up after his death, a major source of interest containing details of his collections and their financial evaluation by a competent personality, Auguste Thillaye. After all, this inventory matches the description of Honoré Fragonard by Michel Augustin Thouret. A selfless man, whose apartment has no luxury except for his collection of anatomical preparations, his library and his samples of therapeutic drugs.

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Ref. :éd.sci.vét., 2015, 15 : 121-153

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Childhood, youth and war memories of the veterinarian René Dardillat (1893-1980)



De larges extraits des mémoires rédigés en 1972 par René Dardillat (1893-1980) permettent de retracer son enfance, ses études à l’École vétérinaire d’Alfort (1911-1917), comment il a pu apprécier la vie étudiante de la capitale et ses vacances en Algérie chez un oncle vétérinaire. Soldat de la Grande Guerre, ses souvenirs constituent à cet égard un document exceptionnel. Quelques passages évoquent enfin son installation dans la Creuse.

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Ref. :éd.sci.vét., 2015, 15 : 69-119

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Animal and human substances in the traditional pharmacopoeia in Brittany and elsewhere, end of the XIX th century – beginning of the XX th century

Bernard HEUDE

Docteur vétérinaire, Docteur en Histoire
25, avenue de La Mouillière, 45100 Orléans

At the end of the XIX th century, a Breton woman (1859-1957) collected and wrote down a thousand therapy recipes. The study of this corpus reveals the popular volunteer healers’ school of thoughts, whose prescriptions show an ancestral knowledge going back to the Antiquity. As well as using the most divers products of nature, traditional medicine calls in magic, symbols, evil animals to fight fire with fire or other species to which the pathogenic principle can transfer to. The treatments, mainly for external use, would willingly blend disgusting substances. The question is the effectiveness of the latter, since scientific therapy has confirmed the legitimacy for some of them.

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Ref. :éd.sci.vét., 2015, 15 : 35-68

Posted in 2015, Modern, Non veterinarians, Therapeutics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

When rabies stroke in the south of Toulouse area before the French Revolution


Maître de conférences en Histoire moderne
Centre de Recherches sur les Sociétés et Environnements Méditerranéens (CRESEM), EA 2984
Université de Perpignan-Via Domitia, Département d’Histoire, Faculté des LSH
52, avenue Paul Alduy, 66860 Perpignan cedex

A new current knowledge on the rabies epidemic that stroke France during the second half of the XVIII th century in the south of Toulouse area (or Bas-Comminges area) before the French Revolution allows, thanks to new documents, to certify that this area was the first one to be affected in a widespread and lastingly way between 1778 and 1786, although it was sporadically affected by “hydrophobia”. The latter frightened the population and set off quick responses from public authorities for which the effectiveness is yet not ascertained.

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Ref. :éd.sci.vét., 2015, 15 : 7-17

Posted in 2015, Contagious diseases and vaccination, Dogs and cats, Epidemiology, Modern | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

About the rinderpest in Oise during the war 1870-1871

Olivier BERGER, with Jean-Pierre BESSE (†)
Historien diplômé de Paris-Sorbonne
28 Résidence La Vallée 91120 Palaiseau

The epizootic plague that affected France with the Prussian invasion in 1870 is studied in the Oise county. A first chart counts the dead and slaughtered animals, and their value per town. A second chart tells the losses per village between 1870 and 1872. Oise represented 3% of the national losses. The crisis, conscientiously handled by the occupier, will pass after the armistice under French management. Generally well controlled, contagion went on only because of violation of health instructions.

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Ref. :éd.sci.vét., 2015, 15 : 19-34

Posted in 2015, Bovines, Contagious diseases and vaccination, Modern | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

History of the Dog in Animation


Dr vétérinaire, interne animaux de compagnie à l’École Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort
7 Avenue du Général de Gaulle, 94700 Maisons-Alfort

While the horse stood out as the choice model for illustrations in the 19th-century optical toys, small mammals, whose features were simpler to portray in animated cartoons, became popular with the birth of the motion picture. However, throughout the silent-film era, the dog struggled to gain ground, competing with feline stars which dominated the market. The moment of revenge arrived during the transition to sound and colour. Initially a hero’s likeable stooge, then becoming the main star in cartoons or full-length movies of its own, the dog character in all its forms – from the most realistic to the most anthropomorphic ones – embarked on a flourishing career which was to culminate in the computergenerated technological achievements of the modern era.


Ref. :éd.sci.vét., 2014, 14 : 183-192

Posted in 2014, Contemporary, Dogs and cats | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The equine mange epizootic during World War One: prevention and therapeutic failure


Docteur Vétérinaire, Vétérinaire Général Inspecteur (2S)
Membre émérite de l’Académie Vétérinaire de France
18 avenue Jean Jaurès 92140 Clamart

Mange officially appears among the French army’s equine population in December 1914 in the wake of mobile warfare. Driven by operational conditions and difficulty in implementing an effective treatment, its evolution quickly became epizootic. For technical reasons, new and effective treatments introduced from 1917 – such as pesticide baths and exposure to a sulfuric atmosphere or sulfidation – were not widely available before 1919. Between 1914 and 1918, mange temporarily immobilizes some 460,000 horses and mules – nearly 50,000 of which are slaughtered. Insufficiently concerned command, inadequate veterinary care and particularly severe circumstances contributed to this dismal failure.


Ref. :éd.sci.vét., 2014, 14 : 169-182

Posted in 2014, Contagious diseases and vaccination, Contemporary, Horses, Militaria | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Alfort Battalion’s battle to defend Charenton’s bridge on 30 march 1814

Emmanuel DUMAS

Vétérinaire en chef, Service vétérinaire des armées de Metz, Caserne Ney, CS 30001, 57044 Metz Cedex 1

In 1814, as the allied armies were about to invade France, pupils of the Alfort Veterinary School were formed into an infantry battalion. Known as the “Alfort battalion”, this battalion became renowned for having defended the bridge of Charenton in the battle of Paris on 30 march 1814. The author describes the creation of the battalion, the battle of the Charenton bridge and the losses suffered by the battalion.


Ref. :éd.sci.vét., 2014, 14 : 139-168

Posted in 2014, Education, Militaria, Modern | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A paradoxical veterinary teacher, the Norman André de Chaumontel (1752-1814)

François VALLAT

Docteur Vétérinaire, Docteur en Histoire
10 rue Jean Pigeon, 94220 Charenton-le-Pont

André de Chaumontel, NCO in the French King’s Household Cavalry, was first a student at Alfort Veterinary School and later a teacher – on his return to France after having escaped the French Revolution as an “émigré”. He had to leave the institution in 1805 on account of embezzlement. Hitherto untapped documents shed some light on the personal problems which led this nobleman from Normandy to commit the irregularities.


Ref. :éd.sci.vét., 2014, 14 : 123-138

Posted in 2014, A-F, Biography, Education, Horses, Modern | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment