Traditional methods used for controlling animal diseases in Iran

Rev Sci Tech. 1994 Jun;13(2):599-614. doi: 10.20506/rst.13.2.777.


In ancient times in Iran, infectious diseases of animals and human beings were referred to as choleraic diseases. Rhazes (9th century), followed by Avicenna (10th century), Jorjani (11th century) and others, had specific opinions on the cause and effect relationship in these diseases, which recall the fermentation theory of Louis Pasteur. In ancient Iran, the methods adopted for veterinary procedures were those of general theoretical and practical medicine, including the humoral theory, accurate diagnosis, signs and symptoms, and the prescription of herbal and mineral medicines or substances of animal origin. If herbal treatment failed, cauterisation and surgery were used. When refractory and contagious infectious diseases occurred, animals were evacuated from the infected region, in order to preserve their health, with resort to the mercy of Allah (God) as a final remedy. Iranian scientists of ancient times had interesting views on rabies. A kind of serotherapy was used for treating persons bitten by rabid dogs. Vaccination was performed many centuries ago by using dried smallpox lesions. In Baluchistan (Iran), infants were encouraged to play with and touch the teats of cows affected with cowpox, in order to immunise the children against smallpox, and this was centuries before the discovery of smallpox vaccine by Edward Jenner. Camelpox was also used for human immunisation. In the case of caprine pleuropneumonia, an extract or juice was obtained from the lungs of affected animals and was inactivated by treatment with certain herbal medicines which had a disinfectant effect. A thread coated with this extract was passed through the ear of healthy goats to render them immune. The author lists various diseases and their treatment. This work forms part of detailed research by the author with reference to some 2,200 books and many ancient manuscripts on the history of veterinary science in Iran.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Animal Diseases / history*
  • Animal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic*
  • History, Ancient
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Medicine, Arabic
  • Vaccination / history
  • Vaccination / veterinary