Veterinary Diseases in British India
146 volumes (40,000 pages) of veterinary medicine reports have recently been added to the Medical History of British India website, which features digitised documents focusing on the history of disease and its prevention in 19th and 20th-century British India from the National Library of Scotland’s India Papers collection.
The newly digitised veterinary collection dates from 1864 to 1959. The reports are divided into three categories: veterinary diseases, veterinary colleges and laboratories, and Civil Veterinary Departments. Illustrated with photographs, maps and charts, they provide insights into how veterinary medicine was used by the British colonists to control disease, maintain livestock and alleviate famine and show its effect on military and local communities. For easier reading, a new viewing function enables the user to create a customised PDF file by selecting up to 30 pages which are then ‘stitched’ together.
The veterinary diseases collection, for example, includes ‘A Treatise on Elephants’ published in 1901, which covers general features of elephants, attendants, gear, behaviour management, care, anatomy, causes and prevention of disease, as well as several reports on surra, a fatal disease transmitted by the bite of horseflies.
The digitisation of the medical history volumes in the library's India Papers collection, which are all freely available on the Medical History of British India website, was funded by the Wellcome Trust. They cover four main subject areas (disease, institutions, drugs and veterinary) and range from short reports to multi-volume histories related to disease, public health and medical research, including government resolutions on specific diseases and public health, regulations for colonial officials outlining measures to prevent the spread of diseases, regional surveys showing the extent and prevalence of disease and annual reports from medical schools and research institutions. The volumes are fully searchable by keyword, as well as by genre (printed matter, images or maps), subject, year, person or organisation, and place.
Further information about the digitisation project is available on the Medical History of British India blog.
From the archive
Neil Pemberton and Michael Worboys tell the fascinating story of how rabies – a disease that still kills thousands worldwide every year – was eradicated from Britain.
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