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 13 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 13 of 17)
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While discussing this matter, we may as well inform the reader
what is the best plan of treatment for tumefaction or relaxation of
the palate, known as "lampas." The remedy is astringent lotions,
and proper attention to stable management. A little powdered
alum rubbed on the palate once daily, for a short time, will fre-
quently effect a cure.


It is said that during the prevalence of cholera in Bromberg,
horses were unusually subject to cholic and other intestinal affec-
tions, and sometimes passed blood with their evacuations.


According to the best authorities, rot may be considered a para-
sitic disease. It is actually a state of systemic debility, the para-
sites abounding simply because the system is in a condition favorable
for their development. The remedy is, equal parts of salt, sul-
phur, charcoal and ginger ; the dose varying from a tea spoonful
to five or six drachms occasionally.


Mr. Gamgee says, "The subject of plethora, especially with re-
gard to the changes suddenly occurring in the blood from a variety

* Actual cautery. Red hot iron.


of causes, calls for the most serious attention of veterinarians ; and
we may, in the course of time, unravel some of the mystery attend-
ing that very numerous class of diseases described by continental
authors under the head ' Carbuncular Affections," or different forms
of anthrax. From the Latin carbo^ the term carbuncular has been
derived ; and all the diseases thus designated have the peculiarity
of inducing, or being attended by, a black or a very dark color of
the blood. But this character is too vague to warrant the grouping
together of many maladies distinguished from each other by very
important signs and results."


The following case from my note book may furnish the reader some
valuable information in view of saving the life of a horse when acci-
dentally or maliciously poisoned by the destructive agent known as
arsenic, or rats-bane.

History of the Case. — The subject, a roan gelding, aged eight
years, the property of Messrs. Flanders &> Eastman, of Boston, was
employed in the capacity of a truck-horse, and used as a leader. On
the 10th of August, 1861, a quantity of arsenic, packed in kegs not
properly coopered, was landed on one of the wharves, and the above
firm were engaged to truck it to the store of the consignees. While
rolling the keg3 on the truck, a quantity of the arsenic was distri-
buted over the shafts, and before the driver was aware of it, the
horse had gathered and swallowed a quantity of the poison. Imme-
diately on discovering what the animal was about, the driver, with
a gloved hand, removed from the tongue and lips as much as possi-
ble of the poison. The horse was shortly afterwards taken to the
stable of its owner, when I was called to attend him.

Appearance op the Patient at the Stable. — The pulse, at
the angle of the jaw, was quickened, yet scarcely perceptible ; show-
ing that the poison had acted as a sedative or depressor of the heart's
function ; respiratory action rather laborious ; surface of the body
rather chilly ; lower parts of the limbs quite cold : visible surfaces,
viz., those of the mouth, nose and eyes, considerably injected or
reddened ; mouth hot, and the breath had a very bad odor. On ap-
plying ray ear to the walls of the abdomen, I detected an active
rumbling noise.

Treatment. — Administered one pint of lime water, and the white
or albumen of two eggs ; the surface of the body was then faith-
fully rubbed with straw, and willing arms ; and finally, a pint of
lime water to half a bucket of pure water was placed before the
patient, so that in case he should be thirsty he might satisfy that
thirst, and at the same time introduce a portion of lime water within
the stomach. It now being near midnight, I gave one ounce and a
half of pure glycerine, and left the animal in charge of his owners.

Early on the following morning I found active purgation had com-
menced ; this I considered a favorable omen — an effort of nature to


rid the system of poisonous and morbid material — and I felt that
no immediate danger was to be apprehended. 1 however attempted
to drench the animal with a small quantity of lime water and pow-
dered charcoal, merejy to alkalize and deodorize the contents of the
intestinal canal, but I found it impossible to get a drop of it down
the oesophagus, in consequence of constriction at the upper portion
of the same, a condition of the parts that usually follows the admin-
istration of an overdose of arsenic.

The symptoms, as observed on my previous visit, had imdergone
but slight change, yet the surface of the body was warmer, and the
animal appeared to suffer slightly from intestinal pain. In view of
producing counter irritation, I applied mustard, liquified, to the
throat and abdomen.

During the day the excremental discharges were very profuse,
and emitted an intolerable stench ; towards night an attempt was
made to drench the animal with a pint of port wine, which was at-
tended with success, the constriction at the upper part of the
cesophagus being somewhat relaxed.

On the following day the discharges were less frequent, and the
patient appeared much better; he managed to swallow some flour
gruel, and was again drenched with a pint of port wine.

The above comprises the whole of the medical treatment. By
means of good nursing, &c., the animal so far recovered as to be
able to resume work after a period of twelve days from the time of
the accident.

For the benefit of the reader I would say that, " nature, who is
ever busy by the silent operation of her own forces," did more for
the restoration of this animal from the effects of a well known poison,
than the medicinal agents which were used ; and I take this oppor-
tunity to enter my protest against the orthodox method of treating
cases of this kind, which contemplates the use of large doses of the
hydrated peroxide of iron^ which, unless it be expelled from the sys-
tem by the administration of active purgatives, is as destructive as
arsenic — the original poison.


Preliminary. — Fungus is a term used in morbid anatomy, to ex-
press any luxuriant formation of flesh in the shape of a soft excres-
cence. Hmmaiodes is derived from the Greek language, and signifies
bloody appearaoice. In plain English, Fungus Hsematodes is a lux-
uriant formation in, or on, the soft parts of the body, presenting a
bloody appearance — the bleeding fmigus.

The ancient writers describe this disease as a species of soft can-
cer or medullary — soft — sarcoma (a fleshy excrescence), and the prob-
ability is, that it is a cancerous affection, for I have several times
removed excrescences of this character, and they invariably re-formed
and acquired considerable magnitude, even although the most scien-
tific remedies were daily used for the prevention of their after-devel-

The modus operandi of the development of these kind of tumors
is as follows : They commence with a soft enlargement, or tumor, on


the various tissues of the body ; for example, in the region of the
eyes, testicles, penis, extremities, and breast; the tumor becomes
elastic and painful ; in form it is irregular, having innumerable con-
vexities and concavities, bulging out in various directions into an
irregular mass of morbid production, and from the surface of which
blood often exudes.

The above brief description of the nature and pathology of the
disease, is offered as merely explanatory, for the benefit of a large
proportion of readers who are not supposed to be versed in the tech-
nicalities of the schools of medicine.

The following case will show the mode of operation :

History of the Case. — The subject, a bay gelding, aged twelve
years, of the sanguine temperament. For six months it was noticed
that he did not urinate freely (a mechanical difficulty), and in view
of treating a .<??/p;:)<9sec? disease of the kidneys, some person prescribed
the usual diuretics, nitre and rosin, which did the patient more harm
than good, for he soon passed bloody urine ; the owner then sou^rht
the advice of another person, expected to know something about the
diseases of horses, who bled^ to the amount of a large bucket full,
and gave daily doses of medicine, all to no purpose ; for the horse
daily grew worse, urinated with much difficulty, and instead of the
urine being voided in the usual continuous, single stream, it described
a backward current (wetting the hind legs), of various streams, as if
coming from the perforated muzzle of a watering pot.

This was the condition of the horse at the time of my first visit.
I found 2^ pin in his nech^ where *' old LanceV had bled him, and a
bottle of " cure all" at his side. An examination of the penis re-
vealed the presence of a fungus tumor on the glans-penis ; this I
proposed to remove, and the owner of the animal consented.

Operation for the Removal of the Tumor. — The horse was
cast by means of the hobbles, and when fully under the influence of
chloroform, the penis was drawn from its sheath, exposing a tumor
of about half the bulk of a man's fist ; it was attached to the head
of the penis, and to the surface of the urethral outlet. By careful
dissection, the whole of the morbid production was removed without
much loss of blood. Thus ended the difficulty.


Worms are usually the result of a deranged condition of the diges-
tive organs ; the usual symptoms are, a voracious appetite ; loss of
flesh, and a general unthrifty condition, accompanied often by a dry,
irritable cough ; the excrement is usually slihiy, and the anus is often
the seat of a morbid secretion.

Treatment. — It was customary in former times to give powerful
vermifuges for the expulsion of the parasites ; but the most rational
method is to impart tone to the digestive function and organs, in the
use of tonics, stimulants, and alteratives. See article on Bots. or
use the American Magnetic Horse Powders.



Diptheria among horses is not a very common malady, yet it does
sometimes occur, as the sequel of suppurative laryngitis. It is a
very dangerous aftection, from the fact that the exudation and mor-
bid material generates within the respiratory passages.

In view of furnishing the reader some reliable information on this
Bubject, I here introduce a case, as recorded in my note book.

The subject is an entire colt, aged four years, son of the celebrated
Patchen, now owned by J. McPherson, of Chicago, and valued at
twenty-five hundred dollars.

On the 25th of September, 1862, I was requested to proceed to
the " Cattle Pens" and examine the above named horse, the messen-
ger informing me that the animal was " choking to death." On ar-
rival I found the animal in a dangerous condition ; he appeared to
be gasping for breath ; a loud stertorous noise, which could be heard
at some distance, indicated the nature of the difficulty as depending
on obstruction within the larynx; the pulse at the angle of the jaw
was very indistinct; both pupils were dilated or amaurotic ; the
extremities and external surface of the body were deathly cold ; the
tongue and visible mucous surfaces were livid, indicating speedy
death. Once in a while the animal would be seized with a convuh
sive or spasmodic fit of coughing, which every time seemed to
threaten his existence ; in these fits of coughing, he passed from his
nostrils a sort of cheesy matter, which seemed to be mixed up with
a diptherial exudation and yellow matter, and from the mouth con-
stantly streamed a frothy and glairy discharge.

Under the above circumstances, I considered that the attem])t to
administer medicine would only be trifling with the life of the patient ;
hence, I decided to perform the operation of tracheotomy, which
was done in the following manner :

Having secured the survices of a couple of assistants, the horse
was led to a convenient spot in the centre of the stable. I then
commenced an incision over the central part of the trachea or wind-
pipe, about eight inches below the angle of the jaw. The animal
did not appear to like this sort of treatment, and seemed disposed to
resist and give battle, so that I was obliged to put a twitch on the
point of his nose. Having laid bare the trachea, I punctured it, and
by means of a probe-pointed bistoury dissected out a circular piece,
corresponding to the calibre of the tracheotomy tube. At this mo-
ment the horse experienced immediate relief and offered no further
resistance. The tube was then inserted and secured to the neck by
means of elastic tape, and in the course of a few minutes the alarm-
ing symptoms had entirely subsided.

I then applied a counter-irritant to the region of the throat,
(larynx), composed of cod-liver oil, spirits of ammonia and camphor,
ordered a " bran-mash," and secured the services of a faithful watch-
man. The operation was performed at nighty guided by the uncer-
tain rays of a couple of dilapidated stable lanterns, yet luckily "all
is well that ends well ;" my patient came out all right.

For several days he had a very copious discharge from both nos-
trils, and also from the tracheal orifice, so that the tracheotomy t^be


had to be removed and cleansed several times during the day and
night. Fom- days after the operation, the tube accidentally slipped
out of the trachea, and on my arrival in the morning I found that air
from the lungs had inflated the whole cellular tissue of the neck, from
head to breast, so that about these parts he appeared like a juvenile

I reinserted the tube, and rubbed the neck with the liniment al-
ready in use, and gave a dose of ammonia in water, with some fluid
extract of prickly ash bark.

On the fifth day after the operation, I removed the tracheotomy
tube and dispensed with it, leaving the animal to breathe through
the orifice, he still being unable to breathe through the nostrils.

During this day and the sixth, a very copious discharge from the
nostrils, as well as the tracheal artificial orifice, occurred, much of
the same resembling that attending diptheria. The animal now be-
gan to show symptoms of dropsy, in the region of the breast, belly,
sheath and legs, for which I prescribed sweet spirits of nitre, com-
bined with my favorite tonic (golden seal.) The dropsical swelling
at the point of the sternum being very large, I there introduced a
seton smeared with olive oil and spirits of hartshorn, which finally
had a very good eflect; and in the course of a few days, by means
of this and slight scarifications, the swelling had entirely subsided,
together with the other dropsical symptoms.

From day to day the patient gradually improved. I sutured the
wound made in opening the trachea, on the tenth day after the oper-
ation, and now, at the time of writing this article, (fifteen days from
'jhe time of my first visit) there is a slight discharge from the nos-
trils, also from between the stitches taken to close the wound in the
aeck, neither of which am I in a hurry to arrest, as I consider them
favorable symptoms.

The horse has now a good appetite, is in fine spirits, lays down at
night, and is out of all danger; and what is most remarkable, does
not appear to have lost much flesh. This is probably owing to the
fact, that the horse had a fine vital temperament, which sustained
him through the trial of his malady, and during the same he got no
medicine of a prostrating character, my aim being to keep the horse
alive while the disease run its course.

Remaeks on the Case. — I hope the reader will not infer that
every case of diptheria requires the above treatment ; this, like every
other disease, must be treated according to its indications, and it is
very rare that the disease assumes the complex form which charac-
terized this imusual aflfection.


The necesssity which now exists for the services of veterinary
surgeons in the U. S. army, needs no argument on the part of the
author of this work. Eivery man possessing the least particle of
humanity for that much-abused class of animals known as " army


horses,'''' and being conversant with the facts in relation to the out-
rageous treatment they receive, must feel that a reform is most sadly-

A short time ago I was requested by a government officer to pre-
sent a feasible plan for making the knowledge I possess available.
The following was my answer :

I am sorry to have to inform you that up to the present period
there exists no law authorizing the employment of competent vete-
rinary surgeons ; therefore, any rational plan calculated to ameliorate
the condition of army horses, or to prevent the many unnecessary
cases of disease and premature death which are now constantly oc-
curring, or to guard against the great pecuniary losses which the
Govern.ment and people of this country are now compelled to sub-
mit to in the condemnation and forced sales of deteriorated horses,
cannot, as I understand the subject, be considered by the " powers
that be" until Congress shall legislate upon the subject. I now
propose to inform you how I shall render the knowledge I possess

In the, first place, I should follow the systems of instruction and
the organizations of the veterinary schools of London, Edinburg,
Alfort and Saumeer, and prepare suitable text-books, adapted to the
wants of a nation, of a people, who have never given the subject
that attention which its importance demands.

In the selection of pupils I should favor the excellent plan pro-
posed by Gen. McClellan, which is as follows : " The pupils for the
veterinary school might be selected from among the best recruits ;
indeed, it is not improbable that the advantages of such an institu-
tion would induce excellent men to enlist for the purpose of availing
themselves of its benefits. Should such be found to be the results,
it would be well to require them to enlist for longer than the usual
time, as a compensation for the time spent at the school." Cavalry
officers, farriers, or blacksmiths, should be permitted to attend lec-
tures on anatomy, physiology, and the obvious diseases and lame-
nesses of horses.

In cases of emergency, a competent veterinarian should be em-
ployed in each cavalry regiment, whose duty it should be to select
an intelligent farrier from each company, and instruct such person,
in a brief and practical manner, on the management of cavalry
horses in camps, the prevention of diseases, and the most rational
method of treating diseases incident to camp life.

Should it be found impossible to secure the services of a sufficient
number of competent veterinarians for the above purpose, let those
who have shown themselves qualified, by an examination before a
medical board, march from camp to camp, give instructions, see that
the sick and disabled are separated from healthy animals, and that
the former be placed in a covered hospital, and then issue special
regulations for the use of mounted troops in garrison and the field,
for the purpose of guarding against the consequences of ignorance
and abuse of the animal machine.

It would be advisable to establish a veterinary professorship at
West Point, and there locate the National School. The Govern-
ment has there a very fine French model of the horse, a skeleton, and


various preparations of morbid anatomj^ <&jc., &c., whioh, together
with other material available, will furnish all that is necessary for
the purposes of veterinary tuition. It would also be advisable for
the Chief Veterinary Surgeon to issue to his subordinates such
orders as shall secure proper sanitary regulations in camp. The
horses should be as well cared for as the troops, for in cavalry and
artMlery service, the success of a campaign, for attack and defense,
depends much on the health and efficiency of the horses. It should
be the business of some members of the veterinary corps to station
tht-mselves at accessible points, and there erect temporary hospitals
for the reception of sick and lame horses, where the latter shall re-
ceive the benefits of a rational system of medication and nursino-,
whereby, in their restoration to usefulness, many millions of dollars
might be saved to the Government in a short time. I contend that
th*- condemnation and ruinous sale of sick and lame horses is a wan-
ton waste of property; and it would be just as rational, if rational
at all, to sacrifice, neglect or abandon sick or disabled soldiers, sim-
ply because they are not in fit condition for present duty.

It has been suggested that ''the erectioti of hospitals for sick
horses icill cost too micchy This is a miserable subterfuo-e, ana
bears comparison with the insane policy of Farmer Neverthink, who
contended that when corn was sold at a high price and cost consid-
erable money to plant it, it teas much cheaper to starve to death.

The following paragraph will serve to illustrate the necessity which
now exists for the services of veterinary surgeons :

" A short time ago, 1,185 condemned horses were sold under the
hammer, by the Quartermaster at Washington. They brought
prices ranging from $20 to $45. These animals had been in service
only about six or eight weeks, and cost the Government, originally,
from $115 to $128, and it is asserted that another sacrifice^ in the
samn way, was to be made in the course of a few days ! In a trans-
action of this kind the Government loses, in the short space of a few
weeks, over two hundred thousand dollars, which sum would secure
the services of a most efficient veterinary corps, like that now at-
tached to the British or French armies, for a period of a year or
more ; and by such an arrangement over seventy per cent, of the
sick and disabled animals might in a short time be rendered fit for
the service."



In Texas, and in some of the warmer regions of this country,
horses suffer intensely from the sting or bite of winged insects and
Venomous reptiles. The best remedy, in view of counteracting the
effects of the same, is, plantain {plumbago major.) A small quan-
tity of the fluid extract of plantain should be applied to the affected
part, and the affiicted animal should be drenched daily with two
ounces of the same.

The American Magnetic Lotion is an excellent remedy as a local



This is a term applied by some persons to a disease known to the
members of our profession as Palpitation of the H^^art. It is not al-
ways an organic affection of the heart, but is often symptomatic, or

Thumps, or Palpitation of the Heart, is easily discovered by
placing the hand on the region of the chest, just beneath the shoul-
der; the thumps or palpitations are then distinctly felt.

Should the animal be the subject of any well-marked disease, and
palpitation accompany it, I should not feel alarmed about the palpi-
tation, but proceed to treat the disease. In the restoration of the
animal to health the palpitation would cease.

Thumps, or palpitation, often occurs in consequence of spasm of
the diaphragm, or midriff: when confined to this muscle, the palpi-
tation is noticed to occur at the flanks instead of in the region of
the chest, and the inference is that the disease is not organic, but is
of nervous origin ; hence, in such cases I recommend the use of
anti-spasmodics. The best anti-spasmodic drench that I know of, is
composed as follows :

Fluid Extract of Indian Hemp 2 ounces.

Powdered Asafoetida . , 1 scruple.

Syrup of Garlic 4 ounces.

Mix. Dose : one ounce night and morning.

The whole region of the spine should be anointed once daily, with
some stimulating liniment. The American Magnetic Liniment is the
best preparation I know of for the purpose.

Occasionally, thumps or palpitation, is the result of dropsy of the
brain. When this happens to be the fact, a cure is almost impossi-
ble ; yet if the animal be a valuable one, I should try my best to
save his life. The only reliable agent in a case of this character, is
iodide of potass, twenty grains of which should be administered,
twice daily, in the form of a drench.


Warbles are a kind of local abscess occurring in the region of

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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 13 of 17)