The Pashu Ayurveda system suggests that there is a comprehensive relationship between a man and an animal. From ancient times, animals have always been a companion to man.
The origin of Pashu Ayurveda was based on the fact that animals were part of human life on a daily basis. Hence, humans started taking special care of animals and their health. Pashu Ayurveda has special branches such as Gaja Ayurveda (elephants Ayurveda), Ashwa Ayurveda ( deals with horses), Go Ayurveda ( Ayurveda for cows), etc.
Ancient Vedic texts like Rigveda and Atharvaveda contain extensive knowledge about treatment of animals through ayurvedic herbs and minerals. One of the oldest texts in veterinary science was written by Shalihotra. Shalihotra was an Ayurveda physician, who wrote Mriga Ayurveda text (mriga- animal).
“Shalihotras Ashwashastra” (1800 BC) is one of the first works on veterinary science. “Arthashastra” by Koutilya describes cattles, goat, horse, buffaloes, elephants and other animals rearing.
“Hastyayurveda” by Palakpya was written in 1000B.C. on elephants. The non-codified or oral tradition has existed in India, in the local form of health traditions, this is practiced by local vaidya’s.
During Vedic period times, the sages and maharishis observed that it was necessary to maintain the health of animals, birds, and sacred herbs for sacrificial rituals. Hence, they started developing a healthcare system for animals.
Pashu Ayurveda has enjoyed an equal status in Ayurveda, since animals help people in various aspects of food, supply of milk, agriculture, a way of transportation, and warfare.
References of vasti treatment and pashu Ayurveda for goats, cows, elephants, horses, camels, etc are all mentioned in Charaka Samhita, Siddhi sthana in chapter 11. Matters related to pashu Ayurveda are also seen in Garuda Purana and Matsya Purana treaties.