Blog by Dr. Donald F. Smith, Cornell University
Posted Dec. 11, 2011
Michael Morpurgo’s book, War Horse, which was transformed into a Tony-award winning Broadway play, opened on the big screen since Christmas Day 2011.
The emphasis on Joey’s health is a subtext of the story. The critical service of both British and American veterinarians and veterinary stations are described many times throughout the book.
American veterinarian Dr. D. L. Proctor served in India during WW II and was in charge of preparing horses and mules for service in the mountains and jungles of Burma. He told me of the problems with protozal diseases, lacerations, shrapnel wounds. But as far as tetanus goes, things had changed in the 35 years since WW I. “I never saw a case of tetanus while I was in the service because the horses and mules were all vaccinated”, he said. “And this is something because tetanus was the greatest cause of death in horses at that time.”