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Hist Med Vet. 2003;28(1):1-11.

The canine veterinary medicine in the Middle Ages according to the Livre de chasse by Gaston Phoebus.


Gaston Phoebus (1331-1391) of Foix-BĂ©arn was a mighty vassal of the king of France as well as of the king of England. His book, the Livre de Chasse was the first technical treaty of this scope. It was fundamental for the regulation of hunting in Europe, as it was copied and plagiarized later on by a number of authors. Chapter 16 is about diseases of the dog and their treatment. In this article Phoebus views about pathology, etiology and therapy are discussed. The absence of superstition, magic and preconceived notions is remarkable. His writings are based on personal observations which are detailed. His therapy is generally rational and probably often effective, never harmful. His love of hounds is evident. It is regrettable that this highly rational approach didn't have a longer lasting effect on the development of canine medicine.

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