University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

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University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna
motto Teaching with responsibility, researching with vision and healing with ambition
founding 1765
Sponsorship state
place Vienna , Austria
Rector Petra Winter
Students 2400
Employee 1500
including professors 39
University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

The University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna ( Vetmeduni Vienna for short , also University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna ) is the only veterinary, academic educational and research facility in Austria and at the same time the oldest in the German-speaking area. The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna conducts research on animal health issues as well as preventive veterinary medicine, public health and areas of food safety. The research interests are the creation of a scientific basis for the well-being of animals, issues of animal husbandry, animal welfare and animal ethics. It was founded in 1765 by Maria Theresa as the oldest relevant school in the German-speaking areaTraining school established to cure livestock diseases . From 1795 it was run as the Military Thierarzney School . The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna is now located in the former building of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna in the Vienna Landstrasse district .

Employees and students

Vetmeduni Vienna employs almost 1,500 people and is currently training around 2,400 students (as of December 31, 2018). The campus in Vienna Floridsdorf has five university clinics and numerous research facilities. Two research institutes on Vienna's Wilhelminenberg and a teaching and research facility in Lower Austria also belong to the Vetmeduni Vienna.


Founding phase (1765–1777)

The founding phase of the Viennese veterinary medicine was closely related to the Europe-wide processes of the institutionalization of veterinary medicine on the one hand and the reform of the medical system on the other. In the context of the permanently raging cattle epidemics and wars in connection with the intellectual and political developments of the " enlightened absolutism " of the 18th century, veterinary schools opened all over Europe. The hope was to gain the best possible trained staff for military horses and agriculture through the scientification of equine and farm animal medicine. In the civilian sector in particular, the sick animal was previously left to self-appointed animal healers such as skinners , pig tailors or shepherds. With the establishment of veterinary schools, the sick animal came under the responsibility of the state. The organization of veterinary medicine training and practice was based strongly on the content of human medicine, which is itself in a process of transformation .

The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna was finally founded on March 24, 1765 on the orders of Maria Theresa . This makes it the third oldest institution of its kind worldwide, after Lyon and Alfort , and the oldest in the German-speaking area. The initial phase in particular was marked by several structural changes: For example, the Horse Curen and Operations School for military blacksmiths opened in 1767 under the direction of the flag smith Ludwig Scottis instead of a “teaching school for the cure of cattle diseases”, as the Empress actually ordered in the “founding letter” . It was not until the chair for cattle diseases created in 1775 at the medical and surgical faculty of the University of Vienna under the human medicine specialist Paul Adami that cattle diseases were considered in the sense of early farm animal medicine with a focus on disease prevention and cure. The "kk Thierspital und Thierarzneyschule" opened in 1777 under Johann Gottlieb Wolstein , who was also a human medicine specialist, and finally united horse and farm animal medicine; the horse training and operation school closed in the same year, the chair was abolished in 1781.

The Imperial and Royal Thierspital (1777–1796)

The connection of veterinary teaching with an animal hospital, which is still an essential area of ​​the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna today, should guarantee the students a theoretical and practical training: "[...] If students are [trained], have they seen, heard, and done by hand, they can perform all the necessary operations safely and well [...]. ”The didactic concept formulated here by Wolstein corresponded to the reforms of human medicine training that were taking place in parallel, which Wolsteins as a student of the “ Vienna Medical School ” Gerard van Swietens witnessed; prospective doctors should therefore "read little, see a lot, do a lot."

In order to be able to guarantee a permanent influx of patients, the Wolsteinische Schule was opened in Rabengasse, which still exists today, in what is now the third district of Vienna . This localization in what was then the suburbs made it easy for urban and rural animal owners to reach the school. In addition, the many traders who moved to Vienna on the nearby highway every day could quickly hand over their animals here. The campus in Linken Bahngasse was finally opened in 1823 , where the school stayed until 1996.

The creation of a Habsburg veterinary system and the role of the Vienna School

In the period around 1800 the Vienna Veterinary Institute fulfilled a central function in the creation of a state veterinary system. Initially the monarchy's only training center, it was not only supposed to train human medicine practitioners in “Vieharzneykunde” so that they could act correctly in the event of an outbreak of disease, but also to train teachers to establish other veterinary schools in the monarchy. A decree from 1781 ordered the establishment of such a school in the form of a chair at all medical-surgical faculties in the empire. Without exception, these were filled with graduates from the Wolstein school, which was less due to the quality of the school than primarily to the state goal of ensuring a uniform level of education within the monarchy. This development can also be found in other medical disciplines such as obstetrics and surgeons. However, many of the schools that were established at that time closed again in the course of the 19th century because the hoped-for success did not materialize and there was a permanent shortage of young people. The schools in Lviv , Budapest and Ljubljana still exist today . It is noteworthy that in what is now Austria, in addition to Vienna, there was such a chair in Graz , Klagenfurt , Salzburg and Innsbruck , while Linz had a farriery school.

The kk Thierarznei-Institut in association with the military and human medicine (1796–1848)

The close connection between human and veterinary medicine remained in the following decades, as did the connection to the military. The training of blacksmiths for the military remained one of the main tasks of the Vienna Veterinary School until the end of the Danube Monarchy. Scientifically, however, it continues to be strongly oriented towards developments in human medicine. This was mainly due to the fact that their professors were primarily trained human medicine until the late 19th century and only received further training in veterinary medicine after this study. In addition, the "kk Tierarzney Institute", as the school was called from 1796, was subordinate to the medical-surgical faculty of the University of Vienna from 1812 to 1848. Until 1848 only students and graduates of human medicine were admitted to the higher veterinary studies, which today can be understood as an early form of scientific farm animal medicine. Small animal medicine hardly played a role until the Second Republic, although the institute had a dog hospital in the middle of the 19th century. The lessons for military and civil blacksmiths focused primarily on the horse. It was not until 1848 that students were admitted who only had to complete the third grade of the “normal school”. This was accompanied by the introduction of the academic title magister medicinae veterinariae .

Phase of independence and remilitarization (1848–1918)

After the exclusion from the association with the medical-surgical faculty in 1848 and a short period of institutional independence, the veterinary institute was again subordinated to the military in 1851 as a consequence of the Franciscan Josephine neo-absolutism and from then on bore the name "Military-Thierarznei-Institut" which it wore between 1796 and 1808. This development had a negative impact on training: military students were increasingly preferred. They only had to have rudimentary reading and writing skills and take a deliberately easy entrance examination to be admitted to the course, while their civilian colleagues had to meet ever higher requirements up to the Matura. The study itself as well as the exams were free for the military students and they were entitled to the front seats in the auditorium. Even though the military graduates had to commit themselves to military service as veterinarians for a few years, they were able to practice the veterinary practice as well as their civilian colleagues unhindered after leaving the military service. The dissatisfaction among the civilian listeners repeatedly led to protests until demonstrations finally broke out in the early years of the 20th century, which culminated on March 13, 1914 with a bloody clash between the parties and a brief closure of the school.

Despite these conflicts, in 1896 the school was promoted from institute to college. After lengthy negotiations, the “kuk Tierärztliche Hochschule” was awarded the right to award doctorates in 1908. With the “Wiener Tierärztliche Monatsschrift” (short: WTM), an internationally recognized peer-reviewed publication medium was created in 1914, after the “Quarterly Journal for Scientific Veterinary Science” existed as the institute's scientific journal in the second half of the 19th century.

The veterinary college in the First World War

The First World War interrupted scientific and institutional development: the scientific personnel were increasingly deployed for the military. A horse and dog hospital was built at the university itself and the canteen, which has existed since 1912, was used as a supply facility for the starving population in times of need. After the First World War, the university was on the verge of financial ruin. It could only be saved through donations from international veterinary schools. As a consequence of the military defeat and the dissolution of the Habsburg monarchy, it was placed under the Ministry of Education in 1920.

Interwar period

Even though the interwar period was still barely researched, three important points should be emphasized here: Firstly, the veterinary degree was opened to women in 1919, although it was to take until 1939 for the first woman to complete a degree. Second, many students continued to come from abroad, especially from Bulgaria and Serbia. Thirdly, in 1929, at the instigation of the Viennese college of professors and under pressure from the increasingly nationalist and anti - Semitic German student body, it was decided to found an Austrian veterinary association based on the German model.

Austrofascism and the time of National Socialism

The times of Austrofascism and the Nazi era still represent a gap in the historical reappraisal of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. Was the discursive historical debate of the university tended to be more about the material bomb damage suffered and the performance of the university staff in the context of the much-praised Austrian reconstruction , an FWF project carried out from November 2014 to December 2017 under the direction of contemporary historian Lisa Rettl examined the complex political situation at the university between 1930 and 1955 for the first time. So far it can only be assumed that a large number of professors and university staff, Just like a considerable part of the students, already before 1938 tended to be close to the goals of National Socialism and that quite a few members of the university as “illegals ” paved the way for the so-called “ Anschluss ”. The extent to which National Socialist continuities and disruptions shaped university life in veterinary medicine after 1945 ( post-war period ) was also part of the research. Rettl comes to the conclusion that the same political university elites shaped the university from the 1920s until well into the 1960s, regardless of the political turning points in Austro-Fascism and National Socialism.

The Second Republic: reorganization and expansion of research and task profiles

The time of the Second Republic was marked by diverse transformations and expansion of the veterinary medical task profile. From the 1970s on in particular, there was an increasing proportion of female students, which in the 1990s and 2000s was 80 to 90 percent of students. The increasing number of prospective students from year to year led to the introduction of an admission procedure in 2005. The increasing lack of space was taken into account in 1996 with the move to a new campus in the 21st district of Floridsdorf.

In addition, the economic prosperity of the middle class from the 1960s onwards led to increased keeping of pets in private households. This trend, which continues to this day, has since increasingly called for a medical offer for biodiversity in the living room at home: The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, as it has been called since the University Organization Act 1975 (abbreviated: UOG 1975), has responded to this in the course of the last few decades by creating appropriate Institutions and clinics, research and medical care offers. Small animal medicine, which in the first 200 years of Austrian veterinary history would have been unthinkable as an economic and practical model, is the dominant field of activity of veterinarians today. Closely related to this is, of course, an increasing expansion of the permanently more complex clinical and preclinical research on animal health, prevention, animal husbandry and food safety.

In 2011 the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Comparative Behavioral Research on Wilhelminenberg was included in the association of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. In 2010 the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, was one of twelve applying institutions across Europe to establish the Messerli Research Institute in cooperation with the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna. The research institute was officially opened in 2012 and is located on the campus of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.


The organizational structure is divided into five departments - which in turn are made up of clinics and institutes - and three research institutes (Research Institute for Wildlife Science and Ecology, Konrad Lorenz Institute for Comparative Behavioral Research and the Messerli Research Institute). In addition to seven courses, the range of courses also includes six university courses and numerous further training opportunities for veterinarians. On September 16, 2010, Sonja Hammerschmid took office as the first female rector of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. Since her resignation on May 17, 2016, Petra Winter was the interim rector; in December 2016, Winter was elected rector.

The Medauhof is a research facility of the University of Veterinary Medicine.

Position of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

In an international comparison, the university ranks 6th among the universities of veterinary medicine, in the same ranking (Shanghai Ranking 2018) Vetmed leads the German-speaking universities.


  • Department of Biomedical Sciences
  • Department of Pathobiology
  • Department / University Clinic for Farm Animals and Public Health in Veterinary Medicine
  • Department / University Clinic for Small Animals and Horses
  • Department for Integrative Biology and Evolution

Research institutes


  • Diploma degree in veterinary medicine
  • Equine Sciences (Bachelor)
  • Biomedicine and Biotechnology (Bachelor, Master)
  • Comparative Morphology (Master)
  • Human-Animal Relationship (Master)
  • Wildlife Ecology and Wildlife Management (Master)
  • Doctoral degree in veterinary medicine
  • PhD program

University courses

  • Introduction to Laboratory Animal Science I
  • Animal-assisted therapy & animal-assisted support measures
  • Veterinary physical medicine, rehabilitation and physiotherapy for small animals and horses
  • Applied cynology
  • Functional hoof care
  • Hoof and claw shoeing

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ History of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna , on
  2. The Rector , on
  3. ^ Jutta Novosadtko: Executioner and skinner. The everyday life of two “dishonest professions” in the early modern period. Paderborn 1994, pp. 162-194.
  4. Peter Wirnsperger, Wernfried Gappmayer: The Sauschneider. An old, honest Lungau trade. Mauterndorf 1990, pp. 221-223.
  5. ^ Austrian State Archives, General Administrative Archives, Lessons Part 1, Studienhofkommission, Karton 19, 19 ex 1765 (March 24, 1765).
  6. ^ Anton Zwischenberger, Matthias Georgi: 250 years of Vetmeduni Vienna. 1765–2015 Responsibility for Animals and Humans, Munich 2015, p. 10.
  7. ^ William Bynum: History of Medicine. Translated from the English by Christian Rochow. Stuttgart 2010, p. 67.
  8. Daniela Haarmann: The Vienna Veterinary Institute and the development of a Habsburg veterinary system . In: Daniela Haarmann (Ed.): 250 Years of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. Responsibility for animals and people. Festschrift . Holzhausen-Verlag , Vienna 2015 (in press), p. 36.
  9. ^ Erna Lesky: Austrian Health Service in the Age of Enlightened Absolutism. In: Archives for Austrian History , Volume 122, Issue 1, 1958, p. 85.
  10. Daniela Haarmann: A profession emerges - from the beginnings of veterinary history with a view of the 21st century . In: Daniela Haarmann (Ed.): 250 Years of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. Responsibility for animals and people. Festschrift . Holzhausen-Verlag, Vienna 2015 (in press), pp. 103-104.
  11. cf. University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna: Map of Vienna subsidiary schools and veterinary schools in the Habsburg Monarchy around 1820 . Viennese daughter schools and veterinary schools in the Habsburg Monarchy around 1820 ( Memento from April 3, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (March 18, 2015) and Daniela Haarmann: The Vienna Veterinary Institute and the Development of a Habsburg Veterinary System , pp. 36–37.
  12. Daniela Haarmann: The human-animal relationship at the Vienna Veterinary Institute. In: Johann Schäffer (Ed.): Human - Animal - Medicine. Relationships and problems in the past and present. Proceedings of the 17th annual conference., Verlag der DVG Service GmbH, Giessen 2014, p. 23.
  13. Christian Neumann: The development of the study of veterinary medicine at the Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine from 1767 - 1965. Dissertation University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna 1965, p. 50.
  14. Alexander Hönel: The quarrels from the foundation to the end of the Habsburg Empire - The school in the field of tension between military and economic interests. In: Daniela Haarmann (Ed.): 250 Years of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. Responsibility for animals and people. Festschrift . Holzhausen-Verlag, Vienna 2015 (in press), p. 29
  15. ^ Josef Schreiber: The Veterinary University in Vienna. Their establishment, history, curricula and buildings. In: Tierärztliche Hochschule Wien (Ed.): 200 Years of the Tierärztliche Hochschule in Vienna , self-published, Vienna 1968, p. 32
  16. Vienna Veterinary Monthly: 100th Volume of the Vienna Veterinary Monthly . No. 100, Supplement 1, 1-29, (March 18, 2015).
  17. cf. Alexander Hönel, Katrin Tschachler: The Austrian military system 1850 - 1918. Veterinary activity between empiricism and science . Ares Verlag, Graz 2006, pp. 99–126.
  18. ^ Josef Schreiber: The Veterinary University in Vienna. Their establishment, history, curricula and buildings. P. 31.
  19. ibid. 35.
  20. ^ FWF project: University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna under National Socialism . (March 18, 2015).
  21. Vetmed was a "Nazi stronghold". of September 19, 2019.
  22. Elmar Bamberg: The "veterinary" in the Second Republic: From the University of Veterinary Medicine to the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. In: Daniela Haarmann (Ed.): 250 Years of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. Responsibility for animals and people. Festschrift . Holzhausen-Verlag, Vienna 2015 (in press), p. 62, especially Fig. 3
  23. University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna: Admission procedure (archive version as of 2016)
  24. Walter Winding: The veterinary tasks in the course of time. In: Daniela Haarmann (Ed.): 250 Years of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. Responsibility for animals and people. Festschrift . Holzhausen-Verlag, Vienna 2015 (in press), pp. 114–116.
  25. The departments of the Messerli Research Institute
  26. University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna: Overview Organization
  27. Mitterlehner congratulates Petra Winter on her election as rector of the University of Veterinary Medicine . OTS notification dated December 7, 2016, accessed March 19, 2017.
  28. Shanghai Ranking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2018 - Veterinary Sciences, accessed on October 2, 2018

Coordinates: 48 ° 15 ′ 19 ″  N , 16 ° 25 ′ 53 ″  E