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Zäuner, Sabine Alexandra (2009): Die Bekämpfung der Pferdeseuchen in der Bayerischen Armee zwischen 1880 und 1920 an Hand der Akten des Kriegsarchivs in München. Dissertation, LMU München: Tierärztliche Fakultät



This dissertation focuses on epidemics which affected horses of the Bavarian army between 1880 and 1920. It is based on files found in the war archive in Munich and supplemented by contemporaneous professional literature when the documents were incomplete. These files show that contagious pneumonia (synonym: Pleuro-Pneumonia Contagiosa Equorum) proved to be a great problem at the end of the 19th century, and there was no solution initially. The discovery of salvarsan® by Paul Ehrlich in 1909 and its use in equine medicine three years later proved to be an effective therapy against this frightening epidemic. Although occasional cases occurred during World War I, the disease was controlled and did not limit the marching ability of the troops. It was a different situation with glanders. Due to strict precautions, horses of the Bavarian army were not affected by this epizootic disease during peacetime. Yet, once the army entered into World War I, the disease flared up and threatened the operation of the troops. Systematic use of the Mallein test and serological blood examination led to quick containment. Even though the disease was not completely eradicated, the operations of the troops were not endangered anymore. The Bavarian army horses were absolutely free of mange before entering World War I. However, the situation changed considerably a few months after the war began. The mange epidemic hit a large number of horses and the known therapies did not cure them. The marching ability of the troops was soon at serious risk. A breakthrough was finally discovered by exposing the horses’ bodies to vaporized sulfuric acid. However, this breakthrough came too late to have deep impact on the course of the war. In the post-war period only glanders and mange were a risk for the horse of the Bavarian army. In Germany, glanders were finally eradicated in 1955.