The century-old American medical symbol has roots in Greek Mythology…

by Aubin Louis Millin, Paris 1811

by BAILEY SHOEMAKER RICHARD

What is the vet tech caduceus and what does it symbolize?  The caduceus used for veterinarians and vet technicians is a symbol from ancient Greek mythology that has been modified to represent modern-day veterinarian practices.

History

The caduceus is normally depicted as a staff with one or two snakes twisting around the top of it. In mythology, the caduceus is attributed to both Hermes, the messenger god, and Aesculapius, the god of medicine.

caduceus

Function

The image of the caduceus used in modern medical contexts is the rod of Aesculapius, and features only one snake in most instances. The vet tech caduceus has the letters V and T superimposed on the image or intertwined with the snake.

Symbolism

The caduceus is an image given to and worn by those in the medical field; it is a common and shared image, and changes are made to it to reflect the field of the individual who wears it. The vet tech caduceus symbolizes the attention and care vet techs give to the animals they are responsible for.

Significance

The caduceus is a symbol that has meaning for people within and outside the medical field. Although an individual may not know the history of the staff of Aesculapius, the medical connotation of a caduceus is immediately obvious to almost everyone.

(ANSWERBAG  5.9.10)

During World War I the Caduceus was used by the U.S. Army as their Medical Department insignia and subsequently became popular as a symbol of the American medical profession…