Source: Ontario Veterinary College

A new exhibit showcasing the role of horses during World War I and the veterinarians of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps will run until April 2017 at the Wellington County Museum and Archives, near Elora, Ontario.

World War I was a turning point in the veterinary profession, highlighting the vital role of veterinarians in the health and care of horses used in the conflict.  Upwards of six million horses were involved in the war, many sustaining injuries that veterinarians would not have encountered previously. Veterinarians were embedded with soldiers at the front line to triage injuries and offer first aid; medical hospitals were set up behind the lines, using a system not dissimilar to how the soldiers’ own wounds were treated.

Brought together by Dr. Lisa Cox, who curates the C.A.V. Barker Museum of Canadian Veterinary History at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, the exhibit highlights the kinds of injuries sustained by these animals, the shape of veterinary care during the War, while focusing on the important relationship between man and animal during this horrific conflict.

The C.A.V. Barker Museum collection includes more than 10,000 pieces, including early surgical instruments, photographs, diplomas, writings, and a large collection of items depicting the profession's role in military conflicts. This collection very much brings to life the history of the veterinary profession and documents the fascinating evolution of the human-animal bond.

Photo courtesy of Ontario Veterinary College