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Mr. Gibson’s Short Practical Method of Cure for Horses, by William Gibson

Book #31: Mr. Gibson’s Short practical method of cure for horses : extracted from his new treatise on their diseases, and fitted for the pocket, with notes of reference to the original : To which is added, an appendix concerning the right method of firing of horses, shoeing, &c, by William Gibson (1755).

This volume is a much-condensed version of William Gibson’s work A New Treatise on the Diseases of Horses which, first published in 1751. This volume appears to have been assembled by his son, also named William Gibson. This was not altogether unusual, as various editions and sections of farriery works were often re-published or reconstituted, sometimes for many years, after their initial release. It was also not unusual in the 18th and early 19th century for a veterinarian’s children to follow them into the profession and take over their publications. This would appear to be the case here with Gibson’s work.

A New Treatise on the Diseases of Horses is a lengthy volume of more than 500 pages on equine health that was published in two volumes in subsequent editions after its initial release in 1751. Gibson divides the work into three parts. The first section provides an overview of the external shape and confirmation of horses, determining their age by their teeth, and how the colour, marks, and overall shape of individual horses can be used to identify their breed and fitness.

The second section of A New Treatise on the Diseases of Horses provides an in-depth examination of the internal anatomy of the horse, including the muscles, lymphatic system, internal organs, blood vessels, as well as the eyes and ears. Finally, the third and longest section of the work outlines various diseases, including those affecting the feet, eyes, lungs, digestive system, bladder, kidneys, and urinary system, among others. Also included in this section are descriptions of a variety of ulcers and wounds as well as lameness, along with outlines of various treatments.

The noted American veterinary historian, J.F. Smithcors, published a biographical piece about William Gibson in 1958:
J.F. Smithcors, “William Gibson, Surgeon-Farrier, on Fevers,” Medical History 2, no. 3 (1958): 210-220.

At this time, a full-text version of this volume is not available online. View the lengthier, 1754 edition of Gibson Sr.’s A New Treatise on the Diseases of Horses here.