October 15, 2015


 1935 - 1945

Posted Sept. 30, 2015

Information on food-producing animals was a mainstay of JAVMA during this decade. Tuberculosis and brucellosis were primary concerns. A major step in the eradication of bovine tuberculosis, which began in 1917, was celebrated on Nov. 1, 1940, when it was reported that the incidence had decreased and less than 0.5 percent of U.S. cattle were currently infected.

A major step in the eradication of bovine tuberculosis, which began in 1917, was celebrated on Nov. 1, 1940, when it was reported that less than 0.5 percent of U. S. cattle were infected."

Information on mastitis in cattle and treatment of affected animals proliferated. The use of sulfanilamide for treatment of mastitis caused by Streptococcus agalactiae appeared encouraging. Other mastitis treatments included gramicidin and tyrothricin. Sulfanilamide and other sulfonamides were also used to treat other infectious conditions in cattle and numerous other species.

Several articles discussed dehorning in cattle, with emphasis on control of hemorrhage and the transmission of anaplasmosis. Actinomycosis (lumpy jaw) in cattle was treated by IV administration of sodium iodide. Fertility, infertility, and reproduction in cattle and the use of reproductive hormones were described, and semen collection and artificial insemination of cattle—as well as mares and ewes—garnered attention.

Diseases in chickens such as laryngotracheitis and bumblefoot were described. Numerous articles reported on Salmonella pullorum infections. The incidence of S pullorum infections in chickens was declining.

Hog cholera continued to be a major concern for swine veterinarians. Vaccination with crystal violet was investigated to prevent the disease. The incidence of hog cholera in the United States was declining.

Transmission of equine encephalomyelitis and effects of vaccination to prevent spread of the disease were described in several articles. Scopolamine, bulbocapnine, and morphine were assessed for their ability to control pain in horses.

Nutrition for all species was a main focus. Numerous investigations focused on the role of vitamins and minerals in maintaining health and preventing or treating disease.

Nutrition for all species was a main focus in this decade. In this March 1941 article on nutritional disease of chickens, one is
shown with rickets (left) and two others with riboflavin deficiency (center and right).

Parasites were a problem in all species. Phenothiazine was used to treat intestinal parasites in cattle as well as parasites in numerous other species.

Articles on dogs became more prevalent during this decade. Distemper and rabies were still a major concern, and vaccination was recommended. Dogs with distemper were treated by IV administration of hydrochloric acid. Information was published on numerous facets of canine medicine, including treatment of mammary gland neoplasia, dentistry, blood transfusions, and ophthalmology. Antimony salts were used in the treatment of heartworm disease. Also, commercial dog foods and the dog food industry came under scrutiny, mainly because of the assumption that many humans in the throes of the Great Depression were buying and consuming dog food.

Efforts were ongoing to protect humans from diseases such as brucellosis. Brucella spp (primarily B abortus) were found in 50 percent of milk samples in Illinois; it was reported that pasteurization appeared to destroy the bacteria.

The public health role of veterinarians changed with the onset of World War II. Inspection of meat, dairy, and eggs shifted from foods for public consumption to foods for America’s armed forces. Veterinarians also played a role in food production through the Food for Freedom program. Veterinarians cared for animals involved in the war effort, from the dogs, "our four-footed soldiers," to horses and mules to signal carrier pigeons. Planning for postwar animal populations was discussed.

​According to a November 1937 issue of JAVMA, “The amount of radiation absorbed in a single examination would rarely be
dangerous, but since the effects are associated with cumulative absorption, every precaution to avoid the unnecessary
exposure should be taken. ... It may be truthfully said that the operator should be more concerned with his own protection
than with that of his patient.”

The January 1942 issue of JAVMA contained the first mention of the new wonder drug penicillin. Supplies were initially limited, and treatment of humans was given priority, but mass production soon provided opportunities for the treatment of numerous conditions in domestic animals.

Another major advancement during the war years was the widespread use of DDT. Because DDT was extremely effective against the mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and lice that affected humans and domestic animals, it was believed “that insect life is about to suffer ignominious defeat at the hands of man.” A pyrethrin product was also developed as an insecticide, with mass production awaiting the arrival of V-Day.