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Farm life and veterinary life have been fascinating Katrien Vervaele from a young age, when she often stayed at a farm in Normandy to polish her French. Years later, she assisted her former husband in his veterinary practice in Luxembourg, and even nowadays, living in a quaint rural Flemish village, she loves to chat to local farmers about the good old days and how things have changed for the better.
Their colourful anecdotes and stories prompted her to interview twelve retired veterinarians, all active between 1950 and 1990 and specialized in ‘large pets’. They provide first-hand testimonials on how their profession has changed at a fast pace since the middle of last century. Not only did the range of medicines increase and were new techniques developed and used, the farmers themselves also became more professional and no longer resorted to the saints or kitchen remedies for help, but more quickly called in the veterinarian. The organization of the practice also changed: bag and bicycle were traded in for a well-equipped car, pager and cell phone came in and individual vet practices made room for associations. This is a well-written and entertaining read, full of anecdotes – sometimes poignant, sometimes funny – from a time gone by.
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