Virchow's contributions to veterinary medicine: celebrated then, forgotten now

Vet Pathol. 2000 May;37(3):199-207. doi: 10.1354/vp.37-3-199.


In 1858, Rudolf Virchow, the professor of pathology in Berlin University, published the book "Cellular Pathology". A compendium of his lectures to physicians and medical students, he introduced the use of microscopy for the study of human diseases. To an astonishing extent Rudolf Virchow was helpful to the disciplines of veterinary medicine (and veterinary pathology). Considered a scientific genius in several disciplines, this essay deals exclusively with the devotion of Virchow, a scholarly physician, to the profession of veterinary medicine. He respected veterinary research, supported governmental veterinary education, and provided a role model for the veterinarians who were drafting control legislation of contagious diseases in livestock. Repeatedly, he responded in help when seemingly irretrievable problems arose. Examples of Virchow's activities in the realms of veterinary medicine and pathology are marshalled here to shed light on this pioneer "veterinary pathologist". In celebration of 50 years of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 1999, it is timely to remember that Rudolf Virchow, the father of cellular pathology, also fathered veterinary pathology, whose offsprings in Canada and the U.S.A. (Osler, Clement, Williams, Olafson, Jones) had enabled them to form and foster the A.C.V.P.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Communicable Disease Control / history
  • Food Inspection / history
  • Germany
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Meat Products / history
  • Meat Products / standards
  • Neoplasms / history
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / veterinary
  • Pathology, Veterinary / classification
  • Pathology, Veterinary / history*

Personal name as subject

  • R Virchow