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The 'dog doctors' of Edwardian London: Elite canine veterinary care in the early twentieth century

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalSOCIAL HISTORY OF MEDICINE
Early online date14 Jun 2019
DOIs
Accepted/In press1 May 2019
E-pub ahead of print14 Jun 2019

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Abstract

This article offers the first historical account of Edwardian London’s elite canine veterinarians. Previous historiography identifies increasing veterinary interest in dogs as a mid-twentieth century phenomenon. Despite tension with the mainstream profession, however, an earlier group of specialist veterinarians provided sophisticated canine medical care to London society. Their activities included the policing and investigation of two key threats to the fashionable and lucrative ‘dog fancy’: the devastating infectious disease distemper and the issue of ‘faking’ (show ring cosmetic fraud). This prestigious work gave the canine veterinarians a competitive advantage over their various rivals and enabled the dog fancy to combat the unintended consequences of its own practices on the canine body. This article consequently reveals an early instance of veterinary specialisation, co-driven by client demands and professional politics, and foregrounds the importance of canine biology in the social history of pedigree dog breeding.

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