1945 - 1955

Published on September 30, 2015
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With the end of World War II, “Thousands of people, particularly those in the medical profession, are returning to civil life aware for the first time of the wide and important role the veterinarian can and does play in their community life,” Col. James A. McCallum wrote in the September 1946 issue of JAVMA. In addition to working to ensure animal health, veterinarians were now recognized as playing an integral role in food safety and human health. During the early part of this decade, multiple articles in JAVMA discussed the role of veterinarians in rebuilding the animal and public health infrastructures in Europe and Japan and maintaining them in the United States. Other reports described ongoing research in biological warfare and the effects of radiation exposure on animals that survived the atomic bombings in Japan.

Thousands of people, particularly those in the medical profession, are returning to civil life aware for the first time of the wide and important role the veterinarian can and does play in their community life.”

Col. James A. McCallum, “The Army Veterinary Service,” in the September 1946 issue

Food animal reports still predominated in JAVMA. Particularly prominent were reports on rabies, tuberculosis, and brucellosis. Many reports focused on differentiating antibody titers against Brucella induced by vaccination from those induced by natural infection. Outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Mexico in 1946 and Canada in 1952 resulted in renewed interest in the disease and multiple reports. Newcastle disease virus in poultry also garnered numerous reports, as did mastitis in cattle and hog cholera.

Reproductive management of livestock remained a popular topic, with reports focusing on hormonal management of fertility and artificial insemination in various species. As the decade progressed, reports focusing on ketosis and periparturient disease (milk fever) in dairy cattle, shipping fever in beef cattle, pregnancy toxemia and bluetongue (initially called soremuzzle) in sheep, and transmissible gastroenteritis, atrophic rhinitis, and erysipelas in pigs began to appear frequently.

Parasite control was a popular topic for all species. Multiple articles were published about the efficacy of phenothiazine for the treatment of endoparasites and DDT for the treatment of ectoparasites. As the decade progressed, however, the reports on DDT began focusing on its toxicologic effects.

During this decade, diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats was first described in JAVMA. In dogs, other popular topics included histoplasmosis and distemper.

From the December 1954 issue of JAVMA, the debut of “What
Is Your Diagnosis?”

Advances in small animal surgery were reported and included correction of entropion, use of conjunctival flaps for treatment of corneal ulcers, and orthopedic procedures such as permanent intramedullary pins for repairing long bone fractures and methods for repairing luxated patellas and femoral neck and olecranon fractures. Advances in anesthesia and analgesia for both large and small animals were likewise described, such as the use of intratracheal insufflation for more efficient administration of ether, pentobarbital sodium for general anesthesia and obstetrical procedures, and the use of corneal nerve blocks for eye surgery in cattle. New analgesics introduced included methadone, hexylcaine, and xylocaine.

Radiography was becoming more widely available. Various contrast agents and methods were described for gastrography and myelography, and use of intravenous pyelography was described for assessing renal function in dogs. There were also numerous reports on the dangers of excessive X-ray exposure for both animals and veterinarians.

​An article on the urinary tract and small animal radiography in September 1953 read, “Working together, physiologists and chemists have developed a range of dyes that make it possible to render visible most of the organs and vessels which, because of their structure or position, would not otherwise be seen in sufficient contrast.” Shown are examples of normal variation of the renal pelvis in dogs.

Other notable highlights described in JAVMA during this decade were isolation of the tetanus toxin; the first report on acquired resistance to antimicrobials; introduction of nitrofurazone, chlortetracycline, and tetracycline; embryo transfer in cattle; use of arsenamide for the treatment of heartworm disease in dogs; and the identification of chlorinated naphthalenes as the cause of disease X (bovine hyperkeratosis). Even the benefits of mobile telephones in ambulatory practice were reported in JAVMA in 1950.