Mr J. Esterhuyse, a veterinary surgeon of Stellenbosch was the first veterinary surgeon known to have used ether as an anaesthetic during an operation, following its successful use on humans by the dentist A. Raymond* and during general surgery by Dr H.A. Ebden*. In a communication dated 10 May 1847 to a Cape Town newspaper Esterhuyse was reported to have removed a tumour weighing more than a kilogram from the lower eyelid of a horse while the animal was under the influence of sulphuric ether. The apparatus he designed consisted of a sheet of wax cloth rolled to form a cone, of which the wider end was fixed around the muzzle of the horse. The other end was attached to a bottle containing ether, placed in hot water. Within 1Â½ minutes the animal fell and remained motionless for 18 minutes. During this time the growth was excised and a hot iron applied to the wound.
Jacobus Esterhuysen, veterinary surgeon, was practising at Paardeneiland, Cape Town, in 1856. He is probably the same person as Jacobus Esterhuyse who died in the Cape Colony in 1871 and was married to Anna Aletta Susanna de Villiers.