English Almanacs and Animal Health Care in the Seventeenth Century
By Louise Hill Curth
Animals and Society, Vol.8:1 (2000)
Abstract: In seventeenth-century England, the health and welfare of nonhuman animals rested almost solely on the shoulders of their keepers. Veterinary institutions had not yet been founded, and academically trained animal doctors did not exist. Laymen, however, had access to a great deal of information on animal health care. A range of printed publications were available that offered medical advice. The most accessible and easily understood were the ubiquitous almanacs. This article will examine the type of medical guidance offered in these cheap, annually-produced reference books. The major focus was on preventative practices because it was recognized that it was far easier to maintain a state of health than to cure illnesses. When such efforts failed, readers could also obtain recipes for remedies and treatments in almanacs.