This review, for the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (JAC), gives an overview of the manuscripts related to veterinary bacteriology published in the journal in the past 40 years with a focus on ‘One Health’ aspects. From 1975 to 2000 the number of manuscripts related to veterinary medicine was limited, but thereafter, the number steadily increased. Most manuscripts published were related to food-producing animals, but companion animals and minor species were also covered. Subjects included antimicrobial usage in animals and the consequences for human medicine, new resistance genes and mechanisms, the prevalence and epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance, and the emergence of resistant bacteria in animals with zoonotic potential such as livestock-associated MRSA (LA-MRSA), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) and ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae. These manuscripts have added to our knowledge on the risks of transmission of resistant bacteria from animals to humans and the importance of the prudent use of antimicrobial agents in veterinary medicine.