Overview and Timeline of the History of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

From the K.k. Pferde-Curen- und Operationsschule to the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna




March 24, 1765

Constituent instrument issued by Empress Maria Theresia


Commencement of instruction at the Pferde-Curen- und Operationsschule (Imperial Royal School for Horse Cures and Operations) at what is today Favoritenstraße 3


First formal examinations at the Pferde-Curen- und Operationsschule


Johann Gottlieb Wolstein departs on his journey to France, Germany and England to study veterinary medicine


Wolstein returns


Establishment of a professorship for livestock diseases at Vienna’s School of Medicine and Surgery under Paul Adami

December 12, 1776

Constituent instrument issued by Emperor Joseph II establishing what would later be the k.k. Thierspital (Imperial & Royal Animal Hospital) under Wolstein


Opening of the k. k. Thierspital under the direction of Johann Gottlieb Wolstein for farriers, physicians and surgeons at Rabengasse 57


Elimination of the chair for livestock diseases


Publication of Wolstein’s book about preventing livestock diseases and Adami’s book on livestock diseases


Decree to establish a professorship in livestock diseases at every medical school in the Habsburg Monarchy; the candidates for these teaching posts were initially trained in Vienna


The Thierspital is renamed k. k. Militair-Thierarzneyschule (Imperial & Royal Military School of Veterinary Medicine) in the wake of Wolstein’s dishonorable dismissal; the new director is Johann Knobloch


The school is placed under the authority of the Imperial War Council; scientific oversight by a surgeon-general


Partial evacuation of the school as Napoleon’s troops march into Vienna


Establishment of the Imperial & Royal Pensioned Veterans, an institution to train two physicians and two surgeons per year as professors, teaching assistants or rural veterinarians


Four full professorships; their fields include epidemiology, nutrition & pharmaceuticals, shoeing & diseases of the hoof, as well as anatomy and physiology


Incorporation of the k. k. Thierarzney-Institut as a department of the University of Vienna’s School of Medicine and Surgery


Imperial decree mandating that professors at the Tierarznei-Institut have the same status as all other university professors


Opening of the campus on Linke Bahngasse; probably, the opening of a canine clinic as well


Establishment of a sheep pox facility to synthesize vaccines and dispense them free of charge


Introduction of the title Master of Veterinary Medicine, magister medicinae veterinariae


Revolution in Vienna; many veterinarians serve in the physicians’ unit, Akademische Legion


Anatomy Professor Leopold Graf is dismissed due to his involvement in the Revolution of 1848

January 1, 1849

Admission of three classes of persons to receive training in the treatment of animals: farriers, masters of veterinary medicine (licensed physicians and surgeons), and veterinarians (graduates of the third form at normal school); for the first time, the institute also admits civilians who are neither physicians nor surgeons


Separation of the department from the university organization; new name: Imperial & Royal Military Veterinary Institute


The institute is again placed under the authority of the Imperial & Royal Ministry of War


1st academic reform implemented by Moritz Friedrich Röll: applicants must be at least 17 years of age, have graduated from normal school, and be able to read and write; duration of the course of study: six years for civilian students; four semesters for certified physicians and trained farriers


Sixth professorship


Closure of the sheep pox vaccination facility


Regulation mandating that swine and ruminants be treated free of charge at the institute’s clinic


Establishment of the first agricultural-chemical testing station


2nd academic reform implemented by Moritz Friedrich Röll: admissions examination administered by a committee

December 31, 1896

Imperial decree elevating the institute to the level of a university: diploma from a domestic college preparatory school is made a requirement for admission; duration of the course of study increased to four years; Graduate Veterinarian established as an academic title; institute authorized to confer a post-doctoral degree


New curriculum requirements only for civilian students: Graduate Veterinarian (magister medicinae veterinariae) established as an academic degree; establishment of additional lectureships and expansion of the course offerings


Introduction of an evening series of scholarly addresses, an outgrowth of which in 1919 is the Society of Veterinarians in Vienna

November 24-27, 1902

Strike by civilian students protesting the privileges granted to military students, most of whom were merely farriers


Renewed student protests


Founding of the Vienna and Budapest Military Veterinary Academy: 20 military students per year, all of whom must also be college preparatory school graduates


Doctorate for veterinarians (Dr. medicinae veterinariae)


The last farrier upon whom a Veterinarian diploma is bestowed

May 1908

Renewed strikes by civilian students protesting privileges of military students

February 6, 1909

First celebrations by recipients of a Master’s degree

August 23,1909

Free elections of the chancellors of the veterinary universities in Vienna and Lemberg; the chancellor receives the honorary title Magnifizenz


Further expansion and diversification of the course offerings and research activities


Casualty insurance made mandatory for all students at the university


Founding of the Mensa academia veterinaria (refectory)

January 1, 1914

First year of publication of the monthly veterinary journal Wiener tierärztlichen Monatsschrift

March 1914

Bloody riots protesting the preferential treatment of military students


World War I: conscription of both faculty members and students into military service; clinics’ and departments’ focus is on war-related tasks; Mensa assigned humanitarian functions


Clean-up efforts at the university and reorganization of the teaching activities; financial support from abroad

May 1919

Founding of the Society of Veterinarians in Vienna

January 21, 1919

Women are allowed to be admitted to study veterinary medicine

January 1, 1920

The Veterinary University is subordinated to the Federal Department of Education; civilian administration of the institution

1921 Marie Chalupinka from East Galicia is the first woman to enroll in the Veterinary University


Students on call throughout the day at the university clinics


Establishment of a fund to finance the acquisition of major pieces of equipment: x-ray machines


Student on-call service in the university clinics is expanded to a 24/7 basis

October 8, 1927

Establishment of a Department of Radiology thanks to a donation by the Rockefeller Foundation


Introduction of a new curriculum: duration of the course of study increased from eight to nine semesters


Global economic crisis reduces the university’s activities to a subsistence level

August 1, 1933

Reassignment of veterinarians as officers in the Paramedical and Veterinary Service (pursuant to Army Officials Reassignment Order); veterinarians were previously officials in the Army Administration


Anschluss (annexation) of Austria by the Third Reich; the University is subordinated to Nazi Germany’s Ministry of Science and Education; Gleichschaltung: regulations governing curriculum and examinations brought into mandatory conformity with the Nazi system


Honorata Knopp becomes the first woman to successfully complete the study of veterinary medicine in Vienna


World War II: Cutbacks in teaching and research activities due to conscription of faculty members and students


De-enrollment ban: Students are forbidden to withdraw from the university

September 10, 1944

Bombs hit the university campus for the first time

Spring 1945

Evacuation of the university to Salzburg and Upper Austria to safeguard animals and equipment

July 17, 1945

Restoration of the facts & circumstances prevailing prior to 1938

Beginning in May 1945

Postwar period: Clean-up activities at the university


Complete resumption of teaching and research activities and clinical operations


First international continuing professional education course


Founding of the Electron Microscopy Laboratory


Authorization, construction and opening of the Veterinary University’s Central Isotope Laboratory in the Department of Physiology

April 4, 1957

Ceremonial dedication of Merkenstein, an estate near Baden, as the university’s new teaching and research facility


Establishment of the Association of Friends of the Veterinary University and initiation of the Armin von Tschermak-Seysenegg Prize and the Josef Bayer Medal

July 17, 1962

Gertrude Keck, a specialist in medical physics, is the first woman to be appointed as associate professor at the Veterinary University

February 1963

Outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the Buiatrics Clinic (cattle); as a consequence, the so-called epidemic trap is introduced for the purpose of changing, sterilizing and disinfecting clothing


University Organization Law: The Veterinary University is renamed the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna

Easter 1975

Outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease


Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology


The Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology moves into premises on Wilhelminenberg


Groundbreaking ceremony for the new campus in Vienna’s 21st Municipal District


Opening of the new campus on Josef-Baumann-Gasse


The 2002 University Law goes into effect; 21 universities are granted autonomy


Incorporation of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology and the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Comparative Behavioral Research into the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna; establishment of the Department of Integrative Biology and Evolution


Opening of the Messerli Research Institute