George H. Dadd.

A practical treatise on the most obvious diseases peculiar to horses, together with direction for their most rational treatment; containing, also, some valuable information on the art of shoeing horses online

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Online LibraryGeorge H. DaddA practical treatise on the most obvious diseases peculiar to horses, together with direction for their most rational treatment; containing, also, some valuable information on the art of shoeing horses → online text (page 10 of 17)
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Exposure to a current of cold air, or being permitted to drink cold
water when hot ; 6, A sudden transition from cold to heat, and vice
versa; 6, Infection. The first three of these Mr. Smith regards as
predisposing causes / the latter three being excitmg causes. ' Gen-
eral debility may be considered the forerunner of every disease, the
system being thereby rendered more susceptible to morbid impres-
sions.' ' Glanders is frequently produced by a variety of other
diseases.' ' I have seen the mucous membrane ulcerated, the bone
carious, and all the characteristic symptoms of glanders produced
by a cut of a sabre. I have also seen one case in which glanders
was produced from the effects of a severe fall, by which the frontal
sinuses were perforated ; in another, the os frontis laid entirely bare,
and the concussion so violent as to excite a copious discharge of
mucus and pus from the nostrils ; and in another, the same symp-
toms produced by a blow on the superior part of the nasal bones.'

"To conclude with my own opinions on the subject of contagion,
they are, shortly, these : I have no more doubt of glanders being a
contagious disease, than I have of syphilis, or small-pox, or itch being
contagious. At the same time, from the known fastidiousness of
contagion in regard to its operation, and from the several collateral
circumstances required to insure its eflect in the case of glanders in
the horse, in the generality of instances the chances of escaping un-
der its influence, greatly, I believe, exceed those of contamination.
The comparatively few examples that any of us can adduce of con-
tagion, even after an experience of many years, in ray mind seems
to warrant this inference ; at the same time, these examples are fully
sufficient, both to establish the fact and warn us against running any
risk of propagating the disease. The lamentable, as well as discred-
itable difference of opinion that has hitherto existed on the conta-
giousness of glanders, seems to have arisen out of the narrowness
of the circuit of observation whence the deductions have been made.
One mnn's practice may not have furnished him with any well-marked
examples of contagion, another's may have shown him several ; the
former infers that glanders is a disease of self-origin, the latter that
contagion is its source ; both too precipitately and confidently run-
ning to their opposite conclusions. Let us hope, however, now that
our sphere of observation and experience is becoming so much
enlarged by the contributions of fellow-laborers, both in our own and
in foreign countries, that we shall approximate in our opinions on
this vitally important question ; and, as a humble step toward such
desirable agreement, I believe the conclusions I have, after a good
deal of deliberation and some experience, come to here, will not be
found widely diverse from the opinions entertained by the majority
of veterinarians whose works or words are, at the time I am writing,
known to us."



Authorities define Farcy to be a disease of the lymphatic vessels,
makiDg its appearance in the form of circular swellings, termed/arcy
bads, which terminate in a discharge and ulceration.

Symptoms. — The horse usually exkibits some symptoms of a
deranged condition ; sometimes, however, scarcely noticeable, at
others very apparent. The horse is not in his usual spirits, appears
dull, and does not partake of food with his accustomed relish. Some
horses will have feOrile symptoms, pulse quicker than natural, mouth
hot, urine high-colored, &c. ; others are suddenly attacked with a
swollen leg. Horses often become suddenly lame in one of the hind
extremities. Mr. Percival remarks : *' I have known horses so lame
from farcy, before the disease had in any local or characteristic form
declared itself, that shoes have been removed, and feet searched,
<fcc., to discover the cause and seat of lameness, no suspicion having
existed, at the time, that farcy was present in the animal's system.
It may so happen, however, that none of these preliminary symptoms
are observed or observable ; that, on the contrary, farcy at once
develops in an attack on some locality — most probably one hind
limb. Indeed, so sudden, sharp, and severe are attacks of farcy in
some instances, that in the course of one night the horse's limb will
be swollen to a frightful size, so as to incapacitate him almost from
turning in his stall and walking out of the stable.

*' Ordinarily the development of farcy plainly accounts for the
halting or lameness ; now and then, however, the lameness appears
without any ostensible cause.

. " Viewing the affected limb from behind, we perceive a fulness on
the inside of the thigh, along the course of the femoral vein ; and
the application of our fmger to this will immediately detect a corded,
nodous swelling, which has been happily enough, in the sensation it
conveys to our feel, compared to a * cord with so many knots tied in
it.'' This is at once declarative of a disease in the lymphatic vessels
of the presence of farcy.

" Tracing the cord upward from its place of origin, which com-
monly is above the hock, the hand is carried into the groin, and there
discovers a lobulated tumor, a swelling of the inguinal glands, which
may, without impropriety, be called a bubo; sometimes, however, the
bubo does not make its appearance until after the full development
of the cord.

" Farcy does not at all limes make its attack in this open and un-
ambiguous form ; on occasions it presents itself in a shape so insid-
ious, that at first we hardly suspect it to be farcy, unless there happen
to be present circumstances to induce suspicion of its existence.
Sometimes one of the limbs, most likely the hind, will swell below
instead of above the hock, and the sweUing will increase around the
fetlock, and an abscess will form there. In other cases, blotches or
isolated pustules will break out upon the limbs, more likely upon the
inner than the outer side of them, or upon the body, or upon the
shoulders, neck, breast, or quarters ; and these will break and dis-
charge among the hair, clothing those parts with an ichorous or
dirty-looking, thin j)uriform matter."




These are the general symptoms of farcy ; if any doubt, however,
exists as to the nature of the disease, it will in a few days, some-
times in a few hours, be dispelled by observing corded lymphatics
issuing from these patches, which soon become running sores.

A case of farcy came under my observation a short time ago.
The subject had for some time been suffering under constitutional
derangement, gradually losing his appetite and flesh. An influenza
was now prevailing in the stable, which attacked all the inmates.
The one alluded to had a fetid discbarge from the nose, differing
from that of the other horses ; and soon farcy buds made their ap-
pearance, accompanied by swelling of the legs. The fetid breath,
together with the constitutional symptoms, would seem to favor the
hypothesis that the patient was a subject of deep-seated farcy, and,
probably, had been such for a length of time. It was thought advis-
able to destroy this animal. The others all recovered; four of the
number, however, having swollen legs, were permitted to run a few
days at grass before they could be put to work. Veterinary writers
speak of several forms of farcy ; but these are only varieties of the
same disease, differing only in their symptoms and duration, assum-
ing a mild or malignant form, as the case may be, in exact ratio to
the general health of the subject.

The first stage of farcy is tumefaction of the lymphatics — " devel-
opment of the farcy bud."

The second stage is commonly a suppurative one, terminating in
a farcy ulcer. After passing through these two stages, the disease
may, and frequently does, terminate in glanders. Hence the prog-
nosis of farcy, in most cases, is considered unfavorable. Yet, when
it attacks horses in good condition, some hopes may be entertained
of a cure. In the diagnosis of farcy, we are not apt to be mistaken,
provided we keep in mind the language of a distinguished veterin-
ary writer, who says, "No swelling of a hind limb (or any other
part) constitutes a case of farcy, apart from the unequivocal signs
of lymphatic disease. There must be present corded, nodulated
swellings — buds in some form or other — together with actual or ap-
proaching tumefaction of the lymphatic glands, or the case is not

" I cannot help thinking," says the same author, " from accounts
I have perused in some veterinary works, that both glanders and
farcy have been mistaken ; or, rather, that diseases of another kind
have been mistaken for them, and for farcy oftener than for glan-
ders. One disease in particular, and one that is by no means so
very rare in its occurrence, I feel quite certain has been called by
the name of farcy, and under this appellation appears to have been
* cured,' and to have been recorded as such. The disease I allude
to is that which is now known by the name of diffuse inflammation
of the cellular membrane — a disease consisting in the generally sud-
den appearance of lumps or patches of sub-cutaneous effusion, of a
solid and even firm description, attended by (Edematous, swollen
states of the limbs, belly, sheath, &c., and thus having, so far, the
character of water farcy. ^ But in these cases, let it be well ob-

* What was in former times known as water farcy, is now understood as superficial dropsy — aa
eflfusiou into the cellular tissue.


served that there is no lymphatic disease, nothing like farcy buds
and cords ; in which circumstance it is (connected with the course
and termination these respective diseases are seen to have) that we
are to seek a correct diagnosis.

*' But how are we to distinguish farcy buds from some cutaneous
eruptions — from surfeits,* which appear so much like them? There
is but one species of fjircy for which these eruptions ean be mista-
ken, and that is the diffuse, or broadcast variety — the button farcy.
Now, should the attack be farcy, the probability is, from its being a
general one, that the animal will show signs of ill health at the time,
whereas a horse that has * broken out in a surfeit all over his body,'
is commonly in unusually good, what is termed fine condition.
Then, again, surfeit lumps are often large and irregular in form, and
frequently appear in patches; whereas the buds of button farcy are
small, and regularly spheroid in shape, and spread pretty uniformly
over the body. Again, surfeit eruptions are often but of an hour
or two continuance. Rarely are they visible on the following day.
Any doubt, therefore, that may impend over the case, is not likely
to be of lengthened duration."

The causes of farcy exist in any thing that deranges the lym-
phatic system ; and probably the same causes that operate, either
by contagion, or otherwise, to produce glanders, will produce
farcy. " By innoculation, farcy has been produced by the matter of
glanders, and glanders by the matter of farcy : and, consequently,
there is every reason to infer a similarity, or rather an identity in
the viruses of the two diseases ; and in further proof of this, as w^e
said before, one disease, or form of disease, almost invariably termi-
nates in the other prior to dissolution. There can be no question
but that the same contaminated or miasmatic atmosphere of the
stable, or elsewhere, which produces glanders, may occasion farcy,
and vice versa.^^

Treatment op Farcy. — The patient should be placed in a well
ventilated stable. If, however, the season permits, a run at grass,
in the day-time, will be preferable. Pure air, and green food com-
bined, are almost certain to produce a favorable effect ; for pure air
decarbonizes the blood, deprives it of those impurities which abound
in farcy subjects, and at the same time distends the lungs to their
normal capacity ; by which means the blood is circulated with more
force to the extreme vessels. The green food, while its action is
alterative, provides for the laxity of the bowels, keeps them free
and unobstructed, and entirely dispenses with cathartic medicine ;
the latter being generally considered necessary to clear out the bow-
els; but in ray opinion, the *' brisk dose of cathartic medicine," so
highly extolled by some, is calculated to produce unfivorable results,
especially if the patient shall be in a state of debility. Any man
who has ever been foolish enough to practice the common error of
periodical dosing with salts and senna, castor oil, &c., can testify as
to their prostrating effects ; but this is only an item in the catalogue
of evils ; great pain, griping, loss of appetite, subsequent constipa-
tion and dyspepsia, are the consequences of cathartics and purga-

♦ Surfeit. A disease of the skin, consistinsr in an eruption of small pustules. It appears to arise
from a diseased state of the stomach and bowels.— White.


tion. Therefore, if the fecal accumulations can be got rid of under
the exhibition of so safe and desirable an agent as grass, it is cer-
tainly to be preferred to the tripe-scouring compounds of the day.

The grass may perhaps act as a cathartic, especially if the sub-
ject has been accustomed to corn and oats. If this should be the
case, a sufficient quantity of dry food should be allowed to supply
the waste of the body, and promote the living integrity ; for with-
out, oil the light will go out^ and food is to the system what oil is to
the light. Therefore, in such case, a liberal allowance of nutritious
food will be indicated.

When green food cannot be obtained, a sort of substitute can be
compounded, consisting of boiled carrots, beets and turnips, thick-
ened with shorts, or fine feed, and the whole pounded up together,
to which a tablespoonful of salt may be added.

As regards the drink, we need only observe that pure water, in
small quantities, is perhaps the best ; yet if the patient be in exceed-
ingly poor condition, he may then be allowed two quarts of hay tea,
and a pint of fresh cow's milk twice a day.

Animals suffering from either glanders or farcy, should have a lib-
eral supply of common salt.* A quantity should be placed in a
situation where the animal can help himself; in addition to which
the food should be salted.

Medicines. — These must possess the following properties :

1. Antiseptic. To preserve the system from putrescence. The
principal one is pyroligneous acid ; dose, one ounce twice a day, in
a pint of sage tea.

2. Alterative. To change morbid action ; the following is an
example ;

Phosphate of Lime 1 ounce.

Powdered Sarsaparilla, ) ^j. ^^^^ 5

" bassairas, j

" Asafoetida 1 "

Mix, and divide into twenty-four powders ; one to be given, night
and morning, in thin gruel.

3. /Stimulant. To arouse vital action ; the chief are capsicum

* Saline matters are essential constituents of the blood, of the organized tissues, and of the secre-
tions. They are, therefore, necessary components of our food, for without them, health and vitality
cannot be maintained.

The alimentary salts, which, on account of their occurring more frequently and largely in the sys-
tem, may be resrarded of the most importance, in a dietetical point of view, are common salt, and
the earthy phosphates. Ferruginous compounds (salts?) and probably salts of potash, are also indis-
pensable ingredients of our food.

1. Gommon Salt {Chloride of Sodiuni). Though salt is a constituent of most of our foods and
drinks, we do not, In this way, obtain a sufficient supply of it to satisfy the wants of the system ; and
nature has accordingly furnished us with an appetite for it. The salt, therefore, which we consume
at our table as a condiment, in reality serves other and far more important purposes in the animAl
economy than that of merely gratifying the palate. It is a necessary article of food, being essential
for the preservation of health, and the maintenance of life.

It forms an essential constituent of blood, which fluid doubtless owes many of its important quali-
ties to it. Thus it probably contributes to krep tlie blood corpuscles unchanged ; for when these are
put into water, a powerful and rapid endosmose takes place, in consequence of which they swell up
and assume a globular form ; whereas in a weak solution of salt they remain unchanged. _ In malig-
nant cholera, and some other diseases in which there is a deficiency in the saline ingredients of the
blood, this fluid has a very dark, or even black appearance; whence it has been assumed by some
writers that the red color of the blood i.^ dependent on the presence of its saline ingredients. From
the salt of the blood, aided by water, the gastric juice derives its hydrochloric acid, and the blood
and the bile their soda. The soda which exists in the blood, in combination with albumen, passes out
of the system in union with organic matter, represented by chloric acid. In other words,
bile contains the elements of cldorate of soda, though not necessarily arranged as such. Lastly
"the soda" whichhasbeen used in the vital processes, and any excess of soda, must be expelled in
the form of salt, after being separated fiom the blood by the kidney.— ZieW^-



and ginger. The author has used the following preparation with
considerable success :

Iodine (reduced to powder) 4 scruples.

' Proof Spirit. 4 ounces.

Tincture of Capsicum, or Ginger 6 "

Dose, one ounce, twice a day, in thin gruel.
Another :

Hydriodate of Potass 20 grains.

^ Dissolve in a pint of water ; then add one ounce of tincture of
ginger. To be repeated daily.

Such are the remedies on which our hopes of cure are to be
founded. They are not to be given conjointly, but separately, as the
various stages of the disease indicate.

Should the horse's hind limbs be enormously swollen, so that he
cannot move about without inconvenience and pain, then the follow-
ing drench must be administered :

Powdered Socotrine Aloes 4 drachms.

Tincture of Gentian 4 "

Sweet Spirits of Nitre 3 «

Syrup of Garlic 1 ounce.

Flour Gruel 1 pint.


It will probably not be necessary to repeat this dose. In fact, we*'
should not recommend the aloes, were it not that the horse is now
unable to seek an equivalent in the pasture, and the grave nature of
the case calls for some agent capable of producing a change in the
system, diverting the fluid (which is now accumulating in the cellu-
lar tissues of the limbs) from the parts to the central membranes.
Lest we may not be understood by the reader (non-professional), we
remark, that aloes act as a mechanical irritant on the alimentary sur-
faces, and a copious secretion of fluid from those surfaces always fol-
lows the exhibition of drastic medicine.

The swollen, hot, and tense state of the limb calls for some local
application. We therefore first wash the parts with a weak ley of
saleratus, and afterwards apply astringents, composed of a strong
infusion of one of the following articles: Bayberry, white oak, nuS
galls, gum catechu. Bandages moistened with equal parts of vine-
gar and water, form a good evaporating, cooling lotion, when pain
and inflammation are^ evident. Yet, after all, voluntary exercise,
such as the animal will take while procuring food in the pasture,
will generally have a better efiect on a tumefied limb than all the
local applications we can make.

The local treatment of farcy buds is a matter of importance; for
the discharge from them is sometimes so corrosive, irritating, that it
destroys the surrounding skin and sub-cellular parts. White, and
some other writers, recommend the most destructive poisons as topi-
cal applications, such as corrosive sublimate, muriatic acid, lunar
caustic, red precipitate — in eff'ect, no doubt, setting up a worse dis-
ease than the one already present. In such articles we have no
faith. On the contrary, we consider them first-rate poisons, capable
of altering, and, in a great majority of cases, destroying one or


more of the functions necessary to the support of life. The follow-
ing will form the best local application we know of:

Pyroligneous Acid 1 pint.

Tincture of Blood-root 1 gill.

Linseed Oil i "

Mix, and wet the farcy buds with it morning and evening.


The term Splent, or spUnt, as it is sometimes called, is derived
from the Italian word spinella, a splint — a name properly belonging
to those small bones, at the posterior parts of the cannons, known, in
the fore, as small metacarpal^ and on the hind extremities asmetatar-
sal ; they being considered by some persons, as splinters of the main
or cannon bones. The name of the bone is, therefore, erroneously
transferred to the disease, the proper name of which should be ex-
ostosis, (a morbid enlargement or tumor of bone.) The splent bones
answer a useful purpose in the animal economy ; — they are designed
to receive a portion of the weight of the body, and aid the cartil-
ages of the knee in guarding against concussion. They are united to
the cannon by a fibrous cartilage, which admits of slight motion,
upwards and downwards ; in the disease called splent, the articulat-
ing cartilages become ossified, (changed into bone,) the function of
the part is destroyed, and all motion, or elasticity, ceases. As no
hopes can ever be entertained of changing bone into soft tissue, we
may, without fear of contradiction, assert that 8plent is incurable.

Cause of Splent. — Overworking a horse, or hard galloping, by
which any undue or sudden pressure is brought to bear on the splent
bones, whereby the fibrous cartilage is stretched, strained, or lacerat-
ed, so as to produce inflammatory action, and subsequent osseous
effusion, may be regarded as exciting causes. Trotting young colts
by the side of their mothers, and imposing on them heavy burthens
at too lender an age, are practices, considered operative in produc-
ing this mischief Mr. Percival, the best authority on this subject,
writes: " Over- work, over-action, at a tender age, is the ordinary
cause of Splent. In the anxiety there is to bring young horses into
use, in the precocious practice of breaking, &c., we cannot feel sur-
prised at unperfected parts giving way, or being reconstructed in a
different manner from the original design. Nature is forced beyond
her powers, and finding that the soft and elastic material, placed for
a certain wise purpose between the splent and cannon bones, insuf-
ficient against weight and force, osseous material is substituted for
it. Even before breaking or using the colt commences, the mis-
chief may be perpetrated. A gallop, jump, or gambol, in the field,
or yard, may occasion a Splent. Again, a blow, or other external
injury, may produce a Splent, though this is comparatively a rare case.
To whatever cause, however, it be referable, the fact is notorious
enough, that hardly any horse completes his fifth year without Splent,
latent or demonstrable."

So far as regards American horses, the disease is far from being uni-


versal, and this may "be owing to the difference in our roads, which,
contemplated as a whole, are more easy for travel, than those of Eng-
land. Still we have enough cases of this disease among American
horses, to excite our attention.

Does Splent constitute unsoundness ? I think not ; because it is
seldom associated with perceptible lameness, and so long as the
horse can perform the duties of an ordinary horse, he is sound to all
intents and purposes. I never knew lameness to arise from this dis-
ease. Should Splent, however, extend in an upward direction, and
involve the knee bones, it must then occasion lameness.

The author just quoted sustains this opinion. He remarks:
"There is an old notion very prevalent among unprofessional
people, that splent often lames horses; and to the groom who thinks
so, or to the veterinary surgeon, who prevails upon himself to believe
so, such a doctrine is often very acceptable and opportune, inasmuch
as it serves to help him out of any embarrassment he may feel, to
say for certain, where the horses' lameness is located. Young prac-
titioners ought to be extremely wary how they pronounce a horse
lame from Splent. They must never venture to do so, without un-
questionable evidence that such is really the case.

Treatment of Splent. — When the Splent first makes its appear-

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Online LibraryGeorge H. DaddA practical treatise on the most obvious diseases peculiar to horses, together with direction for their most rational treatment; containing, also, some valuable information on the art of shoeing horses → online text (page 10 of 17)