"Recalling the Past Practice of Veterinary Medicine for the Future!" 


Oral history interviews given by veterinarians and animal health professions provide first-hand knowledge and insights about how veterinary medicine was practiced in the past. Through the interviewee's own words, they provide precious recollections and primary evidence showing the tremendous changes that have taken place in this medical specialty, especially since the 1930s.


Some of these changes include:

  • Introduction of effective veterinary drugs and antibiotics

  • Vaccines to prevent viral and bacterial diseases

  • Use of antibiotics and advanced pharmaceuticals

  • Narcotics and controlled substance restrictions

  • Shift from rural practices emphasizing large animals and agriculture to production medicine

  • Evolution of small animal medicine and surgery

  • Changing diagnostics, techniques, and equipment

  • Revised veterinary education requirements

  • Gender shift toward more women veterinarians in the field

  • Public health and human disease prevention

In addition to benefiting today's veterinary profession, interviews, recorded either in oral or video form, will enrich future generations by capturing the actual experiences of day-to-day practitioners, professors, and others.

Both interviewers and interviewees report great satisfaction having contributed to the recording of veterinary history.



Any veterinarian or person who has been involved with veterinary medicine is a potential interviewee. This can be an associate in the practice, former employer, former colleague or classmate, or any older, not-so-old, or retired practitioner who would love to share their personal and professional experiences and have many valuable stories to tell.  Talk to them NOW---before its too late!



AVMHS strongly encourages members of state veterinary medical associations, speciality groups, colleges and universities, city and state historical societies, and even private individuals to organize oral history programs in veterinary medicine and conduct one or more interviews with veterinarians in their community, professional group, or geographical area. 


Participate and enjoy this most rewarding experience and enduring accomplishment!!



The ownership of the completed digital audio or video recordings along with the associated written transcripts typically remain with the sponsoring state veterinary association, institution, or agency. Individuals conducting interviews should deposit the items with an archival repository, historical society, library, or other institution that will preserve and provide access to them on a long-term basis. 

AVMHS would also appreciate notification so we can add the interview to our growing catalog of oral histories in veterinary medicine and can provide referral to the owning source.


AVMHS recommends following the Principles and Best Practices for Oral History established by the Oral History Association.


In addition, AVMHS members with experience in conducting oral history interviews with veterinary professionals have developed an extensive Oral Histories of Veterinary Medicine Program. Its "Guide to Conducting Veterinary Oral lHistory Interviews" contains all the information needed to get started.


Our members will work with you in providing advice, practical suggestions, and consultation via Email or by telephone and can share many examples of questions, forms, and transcribing possibilities for anyone to review and work from.  


Dr. Fred J. Born, Chair

Oral Histories in Veterinary Medicine Committee

American Veterinary Medical History Society




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Two forms for 1) submitting information about an existing already completed oral history for AVMHS's files, and 2) suggesting senior or other veterinarians who are strong candidates and thus should be contacted about doing an oral history interview by someone in their area.

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