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History of Theriogenology
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History of the Society of Theriogenology

The first official meeting of the group that eventually became known as "The Society for Theriogenology" was held in Fort Collins, CO, in February of 1954.  The official title of the organization adopted at this time was "Rocky Mount Society for the Study of Breeding Soundness of Bulls", which was founded by a small group of veterinarians.  Collection and dissemination of information relative to evaluation of bulls for breeding soundness was its chief objective.   During the February meeting in 1956 the official name was changed to "The Society for the Study of Breeding Soundness of Bulls", since the membership now included veterinarians outside of the Rocky Mountain area.  

The years 1960, 1961 and 1962 were years of rapid growth for the Society and many meetings were held.  One of the major problems during this time was the training and subsequent certification of members.  The original constitution stated that members would undergo a training session followed by a subsequent evaluation of bulls under the supervision of a member of the Board of Directors.  The Society was given a charter under the laws of Colorado in 1961.

During this time regional groups of the Society were formed.  The first regional group was the Texas group, followed by the Southeast group, the Montana group, the Missouri Valley group and the California group.
During one of the 1963 Board meetings a new constitution was adopted with modifications solving the predominant problem of requirements for membership and the establishment of dues. Also during the 1963 meeting the name was once again changed to become "The American Veterinary Society for the Study of Breeding Soundness".

In 1974, the American Veterinary Society for the Study of Breeding Soundness changed its name to what we know it as today the "Society for Theriogenology".  The scope of the Society for Theriogenology was broadened to include all species served by veterinary medicine.

History of the Term Theriogenology

History of the Term "Theriogenology” A special "Thank you!” to Dr. David Bartlett for the following information and history on how the word theriogenology was proposed.  This information was sent in honor of the memory of Herbert M. Howe, retired professor of classics at the University of Wisconsin and the author of the textbook, "Medical Greek and Latin,” to whom we are indebted for having proposed the word theriogenology. 

Back in the late 1960’s, there was an organizing committee with intentions:                       

1 – to gain AVMA’s approval for a contemplated new specialty college with an exclusive veterinary identity and which would embrace relevant animal species of both sexes;             

2 – to search for a new word to be used when replacing the names of "The American Veterinary Society for the Study of Breeding Soundness” (founded in 1966) and its predecessor "The Rocky Mountain Society for the Study of Breeding Soundness in Bulls” (founded in 1954)

Representing this committee, I visited with Professor Howe for consultation and advice.  I found him to be both an interesting and approachable gentleman.  Early, he confirmed  that the terms used in human medicine, i.e., gynecology and andrology, were not applicable in veterinary medicine, the former being derived from the Greek root gynos meaning woman (not female) and the latter from andros meaning man (not male).  After consideration and consultation with his associates, Professor Howe proposed the word theriogenology, i.e., from the ancient Greek words Therio meaning beast or animal, gen as in genesis meaning creation, generation, and ology meaning study of.  Theriogenology is etymologically correct.  It gathers mammals, both male and female, and reproduction, both physiology and pathology.

At that time, Dorland’s American Illustrated Medical Dictionary listed and defined the word theriatrics as veterinary medicine, theriotherapy as treatment of the diseases of lower animals, and theriatomy as the dissection or anatomy of animals, all derived from a Greek root, therio.  Webster’s International Dictionary defined theriatrics as the science of veterinary medicine, therianthropic as pertaining to the centaur, which both distinguished and defined beast and/from man, and theriomorphic as meaning having an animal form.  Zoological taxonomists used the term Eutheria to delineate the subclass of placental animals.  

It is of interest to note that the German word for veterinarian is tierartz.

Since the early 1970’s the word theriogenology has been listed and defined in many unabridged dictionaries.

Through the intervening years, I crossed paths occasionally with Professor Howe.  He was always anxious to hear a brief update on the growth of the College and the Society and, obviously, pleased to hear about use of his and our word.

David E. Bartlett DVM, Ph D, Dipl ACT.


Herbert M. Howe, 98, Fort Atkinson
Herbert M. Howe, 98, Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died on June 29, 2010, in Fort Atkinson.During his 34 years on the UW-Madison faculty from 1948 to 1982, he taught about 26,000 students - more, he believed, than any other faculty member in the history of UW-Madison. Throughout his career he was
noted for his wit and popularity as a professor. Many former students remained close to him until his death.
Among the courses he taught were Greek and Latin Medical Terminology, Ancient Religion and the Early Church, and Classical Mythology. He chaired the Classics Department and the Integrated Liberal Studies program.


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The Society for Theriogenology is an organization of veterinarians dedicated to animal reproduction, whose mission is to promote standards of excellence in reproductive medicine, to provide outreach and education to veterinarians, and to foster continual improvements in theriogenology.

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Mathews, AL 36052
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