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

. (page 12 of 17)
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 12 of 17)
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fining it in a dark room without exercise. We learn that under such
barbarous management there is a disproportion between the oxygen
respired in the lungs, and the carbon introduced into the system in
the form of food. An excess of carbonaceous material in the sys-
tem of man or horse, is apt to affect the integrity of the liver and
develop the condition known as jaundice, and this cause is more
certainly operative in the systems of animals of the bilious tempera-

Jaundice, as it occurs among horses, is usuall)'- a functional disor-
der, yet should it remain unrelieved for some lapse of time, and the
same errors of diet and management be continued, the chances are
in favor of its ending in structural disease. Occasionally the bile
thickens and accumulates in its ducts, and leads to the formation of
gall stones, Avhich finally occasion the death of the subject.

The principal symptoms of liver disease are a yellow tinge of the
visible surfaces ; languid pulse ; dull, sleepy appearance ; urine high-
colored ; excreaient dark-colored ; bowels constipated, &c. &c.

Common salt is a valuable agent in preventing bilious diseases, for
salt undergoes oxydation in the system and forms soda, and this soda
is employed in the formation of bile. Bile consists of carbon, hy-
drogen and soda ; its carbon and hydrogen are the carbon and


hydrogen that are thrown, as waste material, mto the blood by the
destruction or decomposition of textures containing these elements.
The waste carbon, and a considerable portion of the waste hydrogen
of the body, are separated by the liver from the returning venous
blood, and are then thrown out into the bowels in the form of bile.

Bile can be converted into a sort of soap by the addition of soda,
which fact indicates that we should use soda, or salt, in the treat-
ment of liver diseases. The reader is probably aware that common
salt is nothing more than soda combined with chlorine, and that soap
is merely oil mingled with potass or soda.

Salt is considered as a specific for " rot" in sheep. The disease
known as rot^ originates in a diseased condition of the liver, which
gives origin to parasites known as flukes (distoma hepaticum)^ hence
it is good policy for sheep raisers to see that their flocks have free
access to salt.

Very many unnecessary cases of liver disease, and premature
deaths, in consequence, are constantly occurring, w^hich may often
bo traced to errors in diet, therefore I advise all persons having
charge of domestic animals, not to over-feed. This part of the
United States in which I am now located is the great corn-bin of the
country, and there is great danger of men (who love to see their
animals in good condition), dipping their hands too deep into the
pile of corn, to the sure and certain ruin of many fine specimens of
the horse kind.

Gall Bladder. I presume that most of my readers are acquainted
with the fact that the liver of the horse is destitute of a gall bladder;
yet on the upper and inner edge of the right lobe is a small duct,
just large enough to admit of the introduction of a common sized
pencil ; this duct receives many small ducts from tubes from the
interior of the liver, and through them the bile finds its way into the
main duct, and from thence into the duodenum.

Treatment of Functional Disease of the Liver. — The indi-
cations to be fulfilled, in the treatment of this afifection, are to admin-
ister agents which are likely to have a tonic and alterative eflfect,
and in this view I recommend the following:

Podophyllum Peltatura 1 ounce.

Carbonate of Soda i "

Chloride of Sodium 1 "

Goldenseal 1 "

Mix. Divide into 8 parts, and give one night and morning.


Securing the Horse. — In performing most of the minor opera-
vions on horses, the Rarey strap on one fore leg, and a twitch on the
nose, are the means needed to insure submission. Sometimes, how-
ever, when performing operations about the region of the throat,
and the patient being unruly, it will be necessary to blindfold him,
so that if he should strike with the fore feet he cannot take aim ;
in this way the operator may escape a very severe blow.


In some more important operations the side line is resorted to ;
it is applicable when nicking or docking a horse, that is disposed to
strike behind. The side line consists in passing a hobble around
the pastern of one hind leg, and then carrying from a loop around
the neck the end of a rope, which is passed through the iron ring of
the hobble, and then back to the loop where it is secured ; this,
when properly secured, prevents the horse fi-om kicking; sometimes
both hind legs are secured in this way. When castrating, or per-
forming any very important operation, the horse should be cast ;
some persons prefer to cast after the fashion of Rarey, and then se-
cure the animal's legs when down. My plan is, to cast by means of
plain and simple hobbles, one of which is buckled to each leg,
below the fetlock ; the rope is then rove through all the rings, and
the ring through which the end of the rope comes last, is called the
7nai?i hobble^ and into it, the clasp end of the rope is to be inserted ;
a couple of persons pull on the rope which approximates the limbs,
bring them under the centre of gravity, when a slight push will
throw the horse on his side.

The surgeon is assisted much, when performing any important
operation, by ^etherizing the animal ; this renders him insensible to
pain, and he lies on the floor as tranquil as if he were asleep.


Castration. — In the United States are a great number of persons
who, from long practice, have made themselves quite competent
in the performance of this operation, and, consequently, where the
services of such persons are to be obtained, the veterinary surgeon
is not often called upon. The most safe and successful method ever
practiced in this country, is by means of the caustic clams or clamps,
which are applied to the spermatic cord. The caustic lodges in a
groove cut in the centre of the internal surface of the clams. The
clams may be made of different kinds of wood, but it is said
the ** elder'''' wood is most preferable, as it already contains a groove,
and is quite light when compared with harder wood. The caustic
used in my practice, of late, is composed of one drachm of red pre-
cipitate, half a drachm of corrosive sublimate, and one ounce of
simple ointment ; these are to be well mixed ; then fill up the groove
in the wood with the same, and it is fit for use.

When the clams are applied to the spermatic cord, they should be
brought together by means of pincers or screw forceps, so as to
secure complete pressure on the arteries and thus prevent after
bleeding. The clams may be removed about sixteen or twenty
hours after the operation.

When it is suspected that the animal has, or may, become
the subject of scrotal hernia, the covered operation is to be
performed, then the clam is placed outside the external peritoneal
covering of the cord.

Mr. Goodin, a celebrated castrator, always performed the covered

I have often performed the operation by placing a ligature around
the cord, but I think that it is rather more painful than to apply the


Operation for Stone in the Bladder. — This operation, known
as lithotomy, is usually performed on the male by making an incision
into the urethra. We lirst introduce a whalebone staff or urethral
catheter in the ordinary way by the penis ; when the point of it can
be felt, just beneath the lower margin of the anus, an incision is
made right into the urethra ; this opening must be enlarged so as to
admit the lithotomy forceps, and allow the stone to be extracted ;
the operator now introduces the forceps into the bladder, seizes the
stone and extracts it j the incision is then brought together by a few

Tracheotomy. — Traoheotomy consists in making an incision into
the windpipe ; the place selected for the operation is from seven to
ten inches beneath the throat. In performing the operation an in-
cision is to be made through the skin right down upon the windpipe,
then slit open the windpipe to the extent of two inches, and insert
the tracheotomy tube ; should the instrument not be at hand, insert
a piece of India rubber tubing until a bent tube can be obtained.
Some surgeons prefer to dissect a circular piece of cartilage, which
must correspond to the calibre of the tube. I have performed in
both ways and have no preference.

It is necessary to perform the operation when the danger of suf-
focation becomes imminent, either from the presence of tumors in
strangles, obstructions within the larynx, spasm of the larynx,
and sometimes when an unswallowed substance remains in the
oesophagus and threatens to choke the animal; although in the
latter case it may be more prudent to open the oesophagus, or

CEsoPHAGOTOMY. — This operation consists of an incision through
the skin and gullet, on the left side of the neck. It is usually per-
formed when a large quantity of food obtains a lodgment in the
(Esophagus. The mode is to operate, or cut down, upon the centre
of the impacted food and remove it; after sponging the parts with
warm water, bring the edges together by means of sutures, then
wipe the parts dry, sprinkle with flour, and dress with collodion.

After an operation of this kind, the patient should be sparingly
fed on sloppy food.

Neurotomy. — This operation consists in a division of the sentient
nerves of the foot ; there are two modes practiced in performing it.
In one case the metacarpal nerves above the fetlock are divided —
this is called the high operation ; in the other, the nerves beneath
the fetlock are the seat of the incision and division, and this is called
the low operation, which latter J believe is the most rational one.

In performing this operation, we cast the horse and secure him ;
one fore leg at a time is then released from the hobble, a welling or
small rope is then placed around the hoof, and firmly held by an
assistant. The nerve lies in close proximity with the perforatus tendon,
which is a sure guide to its locality. The hair being shaved off at
the precise spot, an incision through the skin and cellular tissue ex-
poses the blood vessels and nerve ; the latter may be known by its
whiteness. A needle or bistoury is then passed under the nerve,


and the nerve is divided. It is customary to amputate a small piec^
from that part of the nerve next the foot, so as to prevent immediate
reunion. If both feet are to be operated on, the nerve on the same
side of the other foot may be divided ; then roll the horse over and
operate on the other sides of the feet.

DmsioN OF THE Flexor Tendons. — -Division of the flexor
tendons of the fore limbs is usually performed in view of curing
" sprung knees ;" which are often the result of contraction of the
annular ligament, which ties down the flexor tendons jast below the
knees, or it may be occasioned by contraction of the tendons them-

The tendon, or tendons, once divided, and their surfaces kept
apart, by a mechanical contrivance appended to the toe of the shoe,
interstitial deposits are thi'own out, and when the parts are again
united, length has been acquired, and in some cases the animal is
much b^nelited and his usefulness increased ; it would not be good
policy, however, to operate on an aged horse ; it is only when the
operation is performed on young animals that it is likely to be of
any benefit. One or both tendons maybe divided without the least
danger; the strong suspensory ligament inserted at the upper part
the cannon passes down at the back part of the same, and is so dis-
posed of at the fetlock that it is impossible for the parts to give way,
notwithstanding the temporary loss of function of the flexors.

When about to perform this operation, the horse should be cast,
and secured ; then make a small incision along the inner edge of the
flexors, about midway between the knee and fetlock, introduce a
probe-pointed bistourie with convex edge, and by a sort of sawing
motion, sever one or both tendons ; an assistant, however, will be
required to keep the limb rigid while the tendons are being severed,
or they cannot be cut without doing some injury to other parts.

The ojDeration finished, a cold water bandage is to be applied, and
the horse should then be allowed to rise.

The heels should now be pared very thin, and a toe piece tacked
on, having a projection in front, which will keep the divided edges
of the tendons apart.

Operation for Aneruism.— Aneurism is a pulsating tumor filled
with the arterial blood; it usually arises from the rupture of the
muscular coat of an artery and dilatation of its cellular covering.
The only plan of cm'ing is to cut down upon the artery and place a
lio^ature around it.


Operation for Fistula op the Parotid Duct. — A fistulous
parotid duct signifies an unnatural outlet for the saliva se-
creted by the parotid gland ; instead of the fluid passing into the
mouth, it now, in consequence of a wound just below the ear, runs
outwardly down the neck and face. The old method of treatment
was very barbarous, the budding iron was the instrument with which
the unfortunate creature was tortured, and it very seldom did
much good.

The modern treatment is more rational; it contemplates a closure
of the fistulous opening without doing injury to the surrounding


parts. The method is as follows : Send a steel pin through the edges
of the orifice, and wind horse hair around it after the fashion of
closing an orifice in the jugular vein ; having done so, keep the parts
coated with collodion.


The heart of a horse is a powerful and wonderful piece of mech-
anism ; its function is of the involuntary order, so that regular con-
tractions and expansions, or beatings occur in the normal state, with-
out the animal being conscious of the same ; these contractions and
expansions, however, can be modified, by means of various medici-
nal agents which act upon the nervous system, thus producing a sort
of mixed action — voluntary and involuntary — all medicines known
as sedatives^ operate to depress the action of the heart, and lesser^
for a certain time the number of its pulsations ; while on the other
hand, stimulants augment action, and increase the number of heats.

The weight of the heart is about seven pounds, yet considerable
variations in this weight will occur among the various breeds of
horses, even at an adult age. For example: A horse having a coars^
and gigantic, bony, and muscular organization, will be likely to be
in possession of a much larger heart than a compact horse of the ner-
vous temperament, even although both shall be of the same age.

The interior of the heart is divided into four cavities, two of
which being in the superior and anter'ior direction, and in conse-
quence of bearing some resemblance to the external conformation
of the ears of a dog, are termed auricles ; the auricles^ therefore,
should be known as the superior cavities of the heart. These cavi-
ties are known as right and left, or rather anterior and posterior ;
their division occurs through the intervention of their sep^wm, or
wall of muscle, known as the septum auriculorum.

The right auricle is the receptacle for venous blood, and three
venous trunks terminate in it, viz., the anterior vena cava, which
returns the venous blood from the anterior extremities, head and
neck — next, the vena cava posterior, which returns the venous blood
from the posterior parts, and lastly, the coronary vein ; the latter
returns blood which has circulated through the heart itself for its
own nourishment. A considerable quantity of dark venous blood is
generally found in this auricle after death, and it opens into the right
or anterior ventricle, by an aperture denominated the auric ulo- ventri-
cular opening, yet in consequence of a valvular contrivance within
the ventricle, the blood cannot recede into the auricle.

Internally, the right auricle is lined by a glistening vascular mem-
brane, having on various parts of its surface, small muscular emi-
nences, tenned musculi peciinati ; the small cavities which occur, in
consequence of this arrangement, are termed cul-de-sacs. The righty
or venous ventricle, is also lined by a nicely organized membrane,
and has beneath it several muscHilar prominences named carnm col-
umncB which give origin to as many tendinous slips, which are known
as chordm tendinm ; they are inserted into a fibrous membrane in the
region of the articulo- ventricular opening, and then get the name


(membrane incluclecl) valvuli tricuspis. The lateral contractions of
this ventricle are aided by small tendinous cords having muscular
origins from the wall and septum. The venous blood passes from
this cavity into the pulmonary tissues for oxygenation, through the
pulmonary artery, which emerges from the superior part of the ven-j
iricle. At the commencement of the pulmonary artery are found three
valves tevraed seini-liniar / their function is to guard against a retro-
grade movement of the blood, so that it has no other channel than
this which leads to the lungs.

The left auricle has scarcely any anatomical or structural differ-
ences from those observed in the right, although its cavity is smaller,
and its walls are somewhat thicker than those found on th^, right.
It receives the blood from the lungs, after purification, by means of
the pulmonary veins, which have four openings into this cavity, two
proceeding from the right, and two from tha left lobes. The left, or
arterial ventricle, is the reservoir for arterial blood, which is des-
tined to reanimate, replenish, and perpetuate the vital economy; hav-
ing a vastly more important function to perform (which requires aug-
mented muscular mechanism,) than its duplicate found on the right
side, the thickness of its walls must, therefore, necessarily exceed
those of the right ; this is found to be the case, so that the outer
wall of this cavity is about three times as thick as that found on the
other side, and this guide is useful to us in determining, at sight,
after the heart is detached from the body, which is the left ventricle
and vice versa.

The channel of communication between the left auricle and ven-
tricle is named, as is the case on the opposite side, auriculo-ventricu-
lar opening ; it is furnished however with onXytwo, instead of three,
valvular openings, termed valvula bicuspis or mitralis.

This ventricle is one of importance for our consideration, from the
fact that the great aorta — the plastic hose, which seldom, if ever,
requires cobbling or repair, here originates. Its margin or outlet is
guarded by a complete set of valves, three in iwimber, termed semi-lu-
nar, similar to those found at the origin of the pulmonary artery.
This ventricle is divided from the one on the opposite side by a mus-
cular and tendinous partition, termed septum ventriculorum.

Form, situation, and attachment of the heart. — Its form des-
cribes that simulating a cone, having a body, base and apex / its
base being in a superior direction, it follows, as a matter of course,
that its apex has an inferior insertion downwards and backwards.

Situation. — The heart lies in the region occupied by the fourth,
fifth and sixth dorsal vertebrae, right in the central region known as
the cavity of the chest; its apex is inclined to the left side.

Attachtnent. — The base of the heart is attached to the anterior
and superior portion of the cavity of the chest, by the venous and
|irterial trunks running to and from it, and these in turn have their ira-
Inediate and intermediate unions with various tissues in the vicinity,
"Which tend to keep the heart in its proper position and allow of some
degree of motion. Above the roots of the large blood-vessels, and
adhering to the pleura, commences the ^^ericardiiwi, a strong mem-
branous sac, which contains the heart; this sac is attached to the
sternum, and to a part of the tendinous portion of the diaphragm.

JPericardium. — This tunic, called by butchers the heart-hag, is


composed of two membranes, united together by cellular tissue ; the
external one is of a fibrous character, dense and strong ; the inter-
nal is smooth and glistening, and very much resembles that found
within the cavity of the chest, known as the pleura ; its function is
to secrete a fluid called the hquor pericardii ; this fluid being inter-
posed between the internal surface of the pericardium and the mem-
brane proper of the heart, guards against friction. ^ It is within the
pericardium that we occasionally meet with a disease known as
hydrops pericardii.



The soft palate, as it is technically called, velum palati, is a sort
of curtain afiixed to the roof of the mouth, in the region of the pal-
atine arch; it has a free edge which rests upon the epiglottis.* It
slants in a posterior direction, so that anything in the shape of food
coming from the mouth, raises and pushes it backward ; but any-
thing coming from the oesophagus or trachea, pushes it forward and
downward, closes it, and thus prevents all egress. So that air is
expired and respired through the nasal outlet, and all matter vom-
ited from the stomach must also be ejected through the nostrils. In
the act of coughing, however, which is a spasmodic action, the air
returns in body and with force suflicient to raise the velum palati, so
that a passage through the mouth is, at the moment, secured.

The mechanism of the soft palate is as follows : Its composition
is nearly the same as that of the hard palate, yet it abounds more in
glandular substance and muscular fibre ; by means of the levator
palati, its substance is raised. On the lateral and internal portion of
the membrane we find bundles of muscular fibres, constituting a pair
of muscles known as depressors^ which aid in retaining the palate
in its place, viz., on the epiglottis. From the above brief remarks
the reader will perceive that it is not natural for ahorse to breathe
throusrh his mouth.


The palate of the horse's mouth is divided, according to custom,
into two parts, denominated soft and hard. The soft portion runs
in a superior and posterior direction, to the region of the base of the
tongue, and serves to separate the mouth from the fauces. f The
hard palate is marked crosswise by prominent ridges and furrows
from side to side, which are called the "bars." They serve to aid
in keeping the food within the mouth during mastication. Were it
not for this contrivance (the horse's head being pendulous), it would

* Oarlilage at the root of the tongue.

t Fauces. The back part of the mouth. The soft palate is a mere expanded uvula. It origi-
nates at the arch of the palate bone, where the hard palate terminates.


be very difficult for the animal to retain food within the mouth
during mastication. The hard palate is not very highly organized,
nor so sentiitive as some persons seem to suppose. It is said to be
the seat of lampas^ which is a mere state of relaxation, causing the
folds or bars to appear tumefied, so as to be almost on a level with
the upper incisors. For the removal of this painless tumefaction, a
barbarous remedy is resorted to, viz., the actual cautery,* an opera-
tion never necessary nor safe ; and, knowing these facts, no gentle-
man, I think, will ever allow so noble and useful an animal as a
horse to be thus painfully used. Knowing as we do the function of
the bars, and setting aside the barbarity of the actual cautery, such
an operation must be injudicious, because it involves a loss of struc-
ture, and the bars are never so prominent as before. Aside from
this, we are doing our very worst to create a sore mouth.

Structure of the Palate. — It is composed of epithelium (scarf
skin), condensed basement membrane, mucous and areolar, or cellu-
lar tissue.

The mucous membrane makes up the greatest part of the thick-
ness of the palate. Its sensibility, when compared with that of the
skin, is very inferior. It seems to be better adapted for absorption
and secretion than for the function of sensation.

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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 12 of 17)