Intermittent claudication (IC) due to arterial occlusive disease was first
diagnosed by the French veterinary surgeon Jean-Francois Bouley jeune in a
horse drawing a cabriolet in the streets of Paris as early as 1831. The ani
mal was repeatedly exercised and always started to limp with the hind legs
at similar work loads. Autopsy revealed partially thrombosed aneurysm of th
e abdominal aorta and occlusions of both femoral arteries which were correc
tly identified as the cause of IC. In 1858 the famous neurologist Jean-Mart
in Charcot working at the Salpetriere in Paris first discovered the conditi
on in a patient, who was wounded by a bullet during the conquest of Algery
and developed iliac artery aneurysm obliterated by a thrombus. He was aware
of the first description in veterinary medicine. In Germany IC was also fi
rst mentioned in horses (Rademacher; 1838). 13 reports of patients were con
tributed by the neurologist Heinrich Erb in 1898 and 1904.
Some interesting features of the phenomenon of IC like the amount of exerci
se necessary to provoke it, localization, social relevance, prolongation of
the Achilles tendon reflex, decrease of maximal plantar flexion force of t
he foot and production of "Lewis-factor p" are summarized.
In human patients arteriosclerosis is the well recognized principal cause o
f arterial obstructions, in horses, however the lesions are due to infectio
n by the roundworm Strongylus vulgaris. In the fascinating life cycle the l
arvae migrate into the intima of small and large arteries and provoke aneur
ysms and intravascular thrombosis.