Review/Oorsig Volume 23, Issue 02 - Page 23

Volume 23 • Issue 02 • 2019 A Tribute to Veterinary Pioneers 2020 Will be the twin centenary of The South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) and the Faculty of Veterinary Science at Onderstepoort. Leading up to these events The Review will be publishing an article in each issue relating to the history of veterinary science, specifically livestock. Not just diseases, but especially the people - vets - who helped create what we now think of as standard practice VAN TONDER, ELIA MARIUS (26 September 1938 Platrug, Vryburg – 7 Augustus 1989 Middelburg, Eastern Cape). Veterinarian, Bacteriologist, expertise in small ruminants. Son of Joof and Kitty van Tonder, farmer couple. Married Dorette Strohmenger in de Aar in 1963, her father was Pieter who worked as a technician on the Railways, her mother was Anna, a housewife. They had 2 children; Karin, Born 6 April 1967, married in 1988 and had 2 children; and Marius, born 18 January 1970, married in 2006, no children. Marius senior and Dorette divorced in 1978. EDUCATION Attended a local primary school near Platrug, High School was Hoër Landbouskool Noord-Kaap in Jan Kempdorp. Graduated BVSc in 1961 from Onderstepoort. DVSc degree conferred in 1977, thesis on the basis of investigations into Actinobacillus seminis infection in rams. CAREER In 1962 he joined the State Service as State Veterinarian, de Aar. Here he began his lifelong interest in small stock that developed into an exceptional expertise. Marius was very energetic, practical in his advice and accurate with diagnoses and became very popular with the farming community he served. In 1967 he was transferred to the Regional Veterinary Laboratory at Grootfontein to join KM van Heerden in developing a regional diagnostic and investigation capacity, concentrating on sheep and goats. The untimely death of KM in 1968 resulted in Marius succeeding him as Veterinarian in charge, a post he held until health difficulties ended his services in 1988. However on recovery he was reappointed to resume duties in Bloemfontein, but died of a heart attack before he could do so. During his time at Grootfontein he lectured Agricultural College students on animal health. In about 1978 he undertook an extensive study tour of Veterinary Laboratories in Australia and New Zealand. CONTRIBUTIONS KM van Heerden can be regarded as the first South African veterinarian who studied sheep and goats intensively from a flock and herd health viewpoint, but it was Marius van Tonder who gained national (and even international) prominence for his many contributions to the small stock industry. His main field of interest was reproduction, and the diseases that affected success. His work on A.seminis as a cause of Epididymitis in rams was extensive and groundbreaking, and was still widely quoted decades later. His work on the reproduction of small ruminants involved wide-ranging and practical ways of testing rams for genital soundness, including developing a cheap, sturdy and practical electroejaculation apparatus that was used for many decades. His systematic approach formed the basis for all subsequent methods of ram testing adopted in South Africa. He learned bacteriology and pathology the hard way but developed such expertise that he was included in the national team which standardised testing for Brucellosis using RBT and CFT, the basis of which was still used many decades later. 23