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

Claude MILHAUD

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

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.

Bull-soc-fr-hist-med-sci-vet-2014-09

Ref. : Bull.soc.fr.hist.méd.sci.vét., 2014, 14 : 169-182

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