Argos

Nr. 17 (1997)

M.C. Horzinek

The beginnings of animal virology in Germany

Animal virology started in 1898 with the discovery of FMD virus. The finding resulted from a close collaboration between Friedrich Löffler (University of Greifswald) and Paul Frosch (then at Robert Koch's institute in Berlin). Their work in Greifswald was greatly hampered by the danger of dissemination of foot and mouth disease in the surroundings. Therefore Löffler proposed to set up a research unit on the Island of Riems in the Baltic Sea. In the Fall of 1910 work could start in the Research Institute Riems Island. A great foreward step was set when Löffler's successor, prof. Otto Waldmann, succeeded in 1920 in transmitting the infection to guinea pigs by intradermal inoculation in the hind pad. Under Waldmann's aegis the Riems developed into a full-fledged FMD research station. The most important achievement for veterinary medicine was the development of a vaccine in 1938 that proved efficient and safe.

Today, the Riems laboratories form part of the Federal Research Centre for Virus Diseases of Animals, together with the Tübingen Unit.

B. Baljet and G.C.M. Heijke

Veterinary double-monsters historically viewed

A large number of duplication monstrosities have been observed in cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, goats, cats and dogs, ever since the publication of the famous wood cut of a swine double monster by J.S.Brant in Basel in 1496, better known as the "wunderbare Sau von Landser im Elsass". Albrecht Dürer also made a woodcut of this double monster in front of the village Landser in 1496. A picture of a deer double monster was published in 1603 by Heinrich Ulrich in Germany. In the monograph De monstrorum caussis, natura et differentiis..., published by the Italian Fortunius Licetus in 1616 pictures of double monsters being half man half dog are found. These fantasy figures have been popular for a long time and were supposed to be really in existence. Apart from these fantasy figures many pictures are known from real veterinary double monsters. U. Aldrovandus described in 1642 in his Monstrorum historia, besides many fantasy figures, also real human and veterinary double monsters and he gave also good pictures of them.

In the 19th century examples of veterinary duplication monstrosities were published by I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1832-37), E.F. Gurlt (1832), W. Vrolik (1840) and C. Taruffi

(1881); they proposed also concepts concerning the etiology. In the second volume of his famous handbook of teratology (1907), E. Schwalbe described many veterinary double monsters and discussed the theories of the genesis of congenital malformations. Various theories concerning the genesis of double monsters have been given since Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). He was already familiar with embryonic chicken double monsters and suggested the possibility of joining of the two early embryos. But also supranatural and astrological causes became very popular and it was not before the beginning of the 19th century that the fission theory and the fusion theory became the two possibilities for the explanation of double monsters. G.J. Fisher stated in 1866 in his paper "Diploteratology" that: "duplex formations are invariably the product of a single ovum". In this study well-documented descriptions of duplex formations in dog, cattle, lamb, pigeon, snake, tortoise and shark were given. The current explanation for duplication monstrosities, well supported by experimental observations on fish, amphibian and chicken embryos still employs two theories, the fission theory and the collision theory, a latter modification of the disregarded idea of fusion.

Another interesting phenomenon is the development of various classification systems for double monsters as well as the development of nomenclature. In France the modified system of I.Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1832) is still in use while in other countries more simple classification systems, mostly based on the classification system of E. Schwalbe (1907) were introduced.

P. Mandigers

Obstetrical observations by the cow doctor W. Munter (1767-1838) from Goudswaard (Prov. South-Holland)

Before the time that certified veterinarians from the Veterinary School of Utrecht became available, assistance with difficult parturitions of farm animals often was given by experienced cow doctors. Such a cow doctor was W. Munter, who practised at one of the islands of South-Holland. He had obtained a license for veterinary practice after being examined by the socalled Leyden Commission, in 1808 installed by King Louis Napoléon.

In 1829 Munter communicated several of his case stories to Alexander Numan, director of the Veterinary School.

These are edited and commented here. They shed light on the obstetrical problems Munter met in his practice and on the manner he solved them, and also on his views on the backwardness of many of his clients. It is concluded that Munter had a good practical knowledge and that he worked with accuracy.