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 14 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 14 of 17)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the back, induced by undue or unequal pressure from the saddle.
When matter can be detected in them, they should be opened and
dressed with compound tincture of aloes and myrrh. If this cannot
be obtained, apply the American Magnetic Lotion.


Roaring is usually the result of structural alterations within the
larynx or upper part of the windpipe bordering on the trachea. In
mild cases of roaring, we usually find a thickened state of the mem-


brane lining the upper portion of the respiratory passage ; and when
roaring is occasioned by thickening of this membrane, its degree
depends on the ratio of decrease in the calibre of the tube breathed

Roaring is a very aristocratic disease. Many of the very best and
fastest horses in England were, and now are, notorious roarers. Fly-
ing Childers, as fast a horse as ever wore horse shoes, was one of
the worst roarers ever known. The story runs, that when Childers
was at full speed, his roaring resembled juvenile thunder ! — he could
be heard when distant hall* a mile !

The worst form of roaring (as paddy says) is whistling. This is
the sharp, shrill note, not only occasioned by the thickening of the
lining membrane of the primary passages of respiration, but by alter-
ations in the form and structure of the larynx — the larynx being, in
popular language, known as the '* voice box."

Roaring is more prevalent among stallions than mares and geld-
ings ; and the kind of horse most subject to it is the one having a
thick, chunky neck, and having the angles of the jaws in very close
proximity with the neck.

Roaring, scarcely, if ever, admits of a radical cure, and when of
hereditary or congenital origin, a cure is impossible. A roarer should
never be encumbered with a check-rein, for it has the effect of caus-
ing undue prf^ssure on the larynx, and thus augments the difficulty.

Roaring can, however, be relieved by an operation known as
tracheotomy, which is performed at a point a few inches below the

At a late meeting of the Imperial and Central Society of Veteri-
nary Medicine, M. LeblanQ read a communication on tracheotomy
which was performed on a carriage horse. " The operation had been
performed because the horse was a severe roarer, and he wore the
tube eighteen years and a half, doing fast work all the time. The
animal was destroyed at twenty-three years of age, the owner not
desiring to make further use of him, nor to sell him. Since the op-
eration, Leblanc had not observed any change in the horse, except
a depression of the bones of the face. After death, the larynx was
found very narrow, the mucous membrane and sub-mucous cellular
tissues were thickened, the epiglottis deformed, very obtuse, and
averted at its free margin. The change in the larynx was the orig-
inal cause of roaring. The depression of the bones of the face was
connected with constriction of the nasal chambers, and was evidently
secondary to the change in the course of the air in the process of
respiration. The parts of the trachea in contact with the tube had
undergone a transformation into very hard tissue, which replaced
both mucous membrane and cartilaginous tissue. It filled the trachea
above the point where the tube had been introduced, and, intermixed
witli this firm, fibrous deposit, was cartilaginous and osseous tissue,
whicli offered great resistance to the scalpel."

Roaring, thick wind, whistling, &c., are often the sequel of stran-
gled infiuenza, laryngitis, and other affections of the respiratory pas-
sages, and hence may have an accidental origin; in such cases we
may entertain a hope of doing some good by means of medicinal
agents and counter-irritants.


The medicines which have proved most successful in my practice
are as follows :

Iodide of Potass 4 ounces.

Fluid Extract of Stillingia 1 pound.

Dose : two ounces dally, in the form of a drench.
The region of the throat should be rubbed daily with a portion of
the following :

Spirits of Camphor 6 ounces.

Diluted Acet. Acid 12 "



Surfeit somewhat resembles the nettle-rash of children. Tumors,
varying in size, suddenly appear in various parts of the body and
limbs; they create an intolerable itching sensation, and when punc-
tured, a watery fluid escapes.

Surfeit is usually the result of derangement of the digestive

Treatment. — Make a sloppy bran-mash and add to it one ounce
of powdered podophyllum, and four drachms of powdered nitre ; in
short, any medicine of an alterative character is indicated, and I
know of no better alterative than that manufactured by Lord &
Smith, of Chicago, known as the American Magnetic Horse Pow-
ders. Their Magnetic Lotion is also a suitable external application,
for this disease. A small portion of it should be applied twice daily,
by means of a sponge.

;erysipelas. •

Erysipelas is known by the eruption of inflammatory, nodulous
swellings, usually appearing about the head and limbs. The swell-
ings are generally hard, hot, and painful ; sometimes they become
purple and spotted, and sloughings supervene. The disease often
occurs in consequence of an impoverished state of the blood.

Treatment. — Pure air and nutritive food are indicated, and the
medicinal treatment is the same as for surfeit.


What provokes Muscular Action. The influence which pro-
vokes muscular action is brought to them by the nervous threads or
filaments — termed nerve threads. These are distributed amongst the
muscular fibres in all parts of the body ; and on the external sur-
face of the body and extremities they are very minute and delicate,
which accounts for the sensitive condition of the skin, nose, feet and
ears of the horse. A knowledge of these facts should operate to



prevent much barbarity which is even now unknowingly applied.
For example, a horse lame is brought to a blacksmith, in view of dis-
covering the seat of lameness. The blacksmith, acting on the aph-
orism of " every man to his trade," sees nothing inside or outside of
the foot— which happen to be the geographical boundaries of his
craftsman knowledge of equine diseases ; he applies a pair of pm-
cers, wielded by strong, muscular arms, perhaps supposing that the
whole foot is as insensible as the generous slices which he has been
accustomed to remove from the crust and sole. The effect of the
mechanical force employed is often to create lameness in a region,
perhaps, where it never existed ; and the same is true as regards
many other supposed innocent barbarities which the horse is com-
pelled to submit to. • • i?
Nerve Threads. Nerve threads are minute tubes consistmg of
very delicate fiims capable of transmitting from the great galvanic
Ijattery — the brain— its mandates of intelligence. Some of these
threads, or tubes, enter the muscles as large branches, and then ram-
ify and are distribued in all directions through the muscular sub-

Nerve Branches. The nerve branches are bundles of distinct
tubules, bound together in a common sheath, yet to the naked eye
they appear as a common thread.

Nerve Tubules. The nerve tubules are kept distinct from each
other, or isolated, from the fact that their function is the conveyance
of distinct impressions to particular parts of the animal economy.

The Spinal Coed. The spinal cord is carefully invested in its
bony canal by membranes similar to those which enclose the brain.
The spinal cord, like the brain, is composed of two apparently dif-
ferent substances, one being white, which is termed medullary ; the
other of a gray color, termed ci7ie7'itious.

The white substance of the brain contained in the nerve cells, is a
combination of fat, phosphorus and water.

Two ounces of every pound of nerve substance is albumen. Al-
bumen is a substance similar to the white of an Qg^.

Every pound of nerve substance contains eleven ounces of water,
one-third of an ounce of phosphorus and one ounce of fat.

The gray color of the brain is due to the presence of a vast num-
ber of minute blood vessels.

Each nerve which is sent out from the spinal cord, or marrow,
has a double root or origin ; the outer one distributes itself to the
superficial or external parts of the body ; the inner branch furnishes
nerves to the deeper seated tissues of the body.

Sentient and Motor Nerves. The skin, or external surface of
the body, is abundantly supplied with what are known as the ex-
tremities or terminations of the sentient nerves ; and most of the
nerves of the body consist of an admixture of two different kinds of
nerves ; hence, we have motor as well as sensitive.

The sentient nerves enable the animal to acquire information of
the external world, as to the temperature of the atmosphere, &c. ^

All the outer extremities of the sentient nerves are associated with
nerve cells and capillary blood vessels.

Sentient impressions are vital changes connected with the destruc-
tion of nerve substance which has to be replaced through the ordin-


ary course of nutrition ; hence, all the organs of sensation must be
abundantly supplied with blood. The blood furnished to the nerve
substance carries to it oxygen, and this oxygen effects the decompo-
sition on which the nerve force depends for its integrity. Every
thought, muscular action, pulsation, and act of resph'ation occasions
nerx)e waste or decomposition. Respiration rather augments oxy-
gen th-an diminishes, yet a certain amount of nerve waste occurs even
in the physiolngical function of the lungs.

Nerve waste is peculiarly rapid during the employment of nerve
force, so that a horse of the nervous temperament — when perform-
ing feats of speed — will become sooner exhausted than another of
the lymphatic temperament, whose nervous system is not so deli-
cately organized. The sum and substance of the matter is, that
men and horses of the nervous temperament wear out, as the say-
ing is, very fast.

The spinal cord receives impressions from the external regions of
the body, and emits motor force. For example, if we rudely handle
an animal, the act occasions combative muscular movements.

Some of the movements or evolutions carried on by the spinal
cord are involuntary, and therefore may be considered as uncon-
scious, simply because they occur when will and sensation are
suspended, during the time when sleep prevails ; therefore it may
be inferred that the spinal cord takes charge of various operations
of the body, which would be less perfectly performed if left to the
ordinary action of voluntary muscular and nervous actions.

Many of the movements effected under the influence of the brain
and spinal marrow, are instinctive, and in no way connected with
the wiU. For example, a floating foreign body in the air approaches
the eye of a man or horse, and ere either one knows anything about
it, the eyelids are instantaneously closed (involuntarily, of course) ;
hence, such muscular movements are in no way connected with the

All animals that possess any trace of a cerebrum, or brain proper,
are capable of performing some kind of intellectual operation.

Mind. The results that are worked out through the activity of
the brain are termed the " mind." Horses have a brain, hence must
think and reason ; their manifestations of mind not differing from
that of man, only in degree.


During the past fifty years much of the live stock of this country
has been most outrageously over- doctored and over-dosed, many
people supposing that, by converting a sick horse's stomach into a
sort of apothecary's shop and grocery store, the sooner would he
get well, when the very reverse is the case ; for I am satisfied from
long experience, and having been a careful observer of the effects of
medicine on the animal economy, that the less drugs a sick horse
gets, the more likely is he to get well.

For example, when a large quantity of medicine is administered
to a horse, it very frequently so disturbs the animal economy as to


create a medicinal disease of a very grave character ; add to this
the original malady, and the reader will perceive that nature — the
" Good Samaritan" — does not have a fair chance. If let alone, she
(nature) is equal to the task of curing any curable disease ; but when
meddlesome medication assails the citadel of life, the forces of nature
being overpowered, they resign the living citadel to the enemy, and
death is the result.

Many medicines — so called — such as antimony, hellebore, strych-
nia, arsenic, &c., &c., when administered in repeated doses, accu-
mulate in the system, are absorbed, act as depressors of vitality,
and the animal dies, actually poisoned by the so-called inedicine.

After eighteen years of actual practice, I have come to the con-
clusion that the business of the physician is to aid nature, and
administer medicines of a sanative character, which are calculated
to preserve the integrity of the vital Ibrces while the disease runs
its course. Many medicines are supposed to have a specific effect
on disease. I very much doubt this proposition, and believe that
most of the curable cases are self-limited, and only require the exhi-
bition of some simple form of medicine, the action of which is alter'

The effect of an alterative is to change morbid action ; and it does
not matter what species of animal is afflicted, the laws of the animal
economy are uniform, and whether we prescribe for a man, horse,
or cow, our system of medication must, on the principles of reason
and past experience, be of a sanative character, calculated to pre-
serve the integrity of the organism ; so that, if any of the readers
of this work have sick animals in the barn, sheep-fold, or hog-pen,
I advise them to administer medicines of an alterative, yet sanative
character. Messrs. Lord & Smith, of the city of Chicago, have
recently prepared the " best alterative''* ever known to science, con^
taining no agent that can possibly have a bad effect on the system
of any living creature, yet calculated to be potent in the cure of dis-
ease. The American Magnetic Equine Powders can be used for
almost all forms of disease that do not actually need the services of
a veterinary surgeon. While the late Gen. O. M. Mitchell was in
command of the Department of the Ohio, and afterwards under
Buell in Kentucky, he ordered his division wagon master to use
these powders, in all cases of disease occurring among horses under
his care, and the consequence was, that the lives of many valuable
horses were saved. So in reference to the Lotion and Liniment ;
they had the same effect.

While in Kentucky, almost all the horses attached to General
Mitchell's brigade were the subjects of grease and scratches, and
other cutaneous affections. He was supplied with a quantity of the
American Magnetic Equine Lotion, which soon had the effect of
eradicating the disease.

See advertisement at end of this work.



The age of a horsfe may be known by marks in the front teeth and
tusks of the under jaw, until he is about eight years old, after which
period it is a matter of guess-work ; yet those who are experts can
tell very near the exact age. There are many circumstances which
tend to show whether a horse be old or not. The number of a
horse's teeth is forty— twenty-four grinders, and sixteen others — by
some of which his age may be known up to a certain period. Mares
have only thirty-six teeth, as in them the tushes are usually wanting.
A few days after birth, the colt puts forth two small fi-ont teeth in
the upper and under jaws, and soon after two more ; these are called
nippers. The next four shortly afterwards make their appearance.
The four corner teeth — as they are termed — come a few months after
the last named. These twelve teeth, in the front of the mouth are
small and white, and continue without much alteration until the colt
is about two years and a half old, when he begins to shed them.
The two teeth that first make their appearance are the first that are
lost, and are replaced by two others, called horse's teeth, considera-
bly stronger and larger than those that have made way for them.
Between the third and fourth year, the two teeth next the first fall
out, and are in like manner replaced by horse's teeth. Between the
fourth and fifth year, the corner teeth are changed ; the tushes make
their appearance. About the fifth year, the horse is said to have a
full mouth. After this period, up to- the eighth year, the age of a
horse can, with some degree of certainty, be known by the cavities
in the teeth, which at first are deep, but are gradually, by the pro-
cess of mastication, worn down, and about the eighth year disappear.
After the fifth year, the above criterion of age may be corroborated
by the grooves in the tushes of the male, which are inside ; they are
two in number. At six, one of these cavities, viz., the one next the
grinder, disappears ; at seven, the other is considerably diminished ;
at eight, is almost, but not always, entirely gone. After this period,
the tushes become more blunt and round. The marks in the upper
teeth are by some considered indicative of the horse's age ; those in
the two front teeth disappearing at eight, in the two next at ten, and
in the corner teeth at twelve. The marks in the lower teeth will
disappear about the eighth year.

As a horse grows old, he generally turns more or less gray ; the
cavities above the eyes become deeper ; the under lip falls ; the gums
shrink away from the teeth, giving them the appearance of a greater
length ; the back becomes hollow, or curved.



Patent owned by Robbbt Halb, Fitchburg, Mass,

This Shoe is one of the most valuable ever invented, and those
persons who are in favor of a more rational system of shoeing horses
will certainly give the enterpirsing owner of this ^^ pate7it shoe'^ their
countenance and support. The shoe has a continuous calk, pointed
to heel, which is something very desirable, and a very great improve-
ment on the ordinary calks, which are on the principle of a triangle,
and a rickety sort of an arrangement for any poor horse to stand on.

I think this new invented shoe is better calculated to preserve the
natural tread and functions of the foot than any other now in use,
and I advise the readers of this work and all persons owning horses
to give this shoe a fair trial, for I fully indorse all that the proprietor
claims for it. The above shoe has been used in various parts of the
United States, and has given universal satisfaction.


It has upon its outer edge a narrow projection, of even thickness,
"with a thin internal web — the narrow projection forming a continuous
calk, in which is a groove through which the nails are driv<^n. The
web is much thinner, and the whole shoe thus formed, weighs about
one-fourth less than any common shoe, and at the same time is
stronger and stiffer.

Tliis shoe possesses the following advantages, viz. :

Firat, Is less in weight tlian any other of the same size.

Second. Admits of being nailed around the toe, where the shell
of the hoof is thicker than at any other part, and of course requires
less nails at the heels, or quarters, leaving this part of the foot free,
neither being crowded in or out by being confined to a rigid bar of

Third. Admits of the frog coming in contact more readily with
the earth, thereby absorbing the requisite moisture to keep it in a
healthy condition and soft, as nature intended, in order that it might
act as an elastic cushion, to receive in part the force of the blow and
prevent injury to the whole system when stepping on hard surfaces
or stones.

Fourth. Prevents the slipping of the foot either back or side-
ways on any soil or surf\xce when traveling — and with the same mus-
cular power, a horse will travel more miles per day.

Fifth. Greater ease and comfort when standing, as the foot is
raised alike at the heel and toe, and bears upon the shell in a natural

Sixth. The internal web protects the sole from injury by contact
with any hard substances — and also jwevents balling.

Seventh. Great economy in shoeing.

This shoe is in every respect superior for all horses used for mili-
tary purposes.

The shoe is made of puddled iron, of the very best charcoal-blown
iron with steel calks, and of all steel


One of the principal objects in applying shoes to the feet of horsejr,
is to preserve the concavity of the natural foot, at its sole. A horse
in his natural state, and, indeed, up to the moment of affixing the
first pairs of shoes to his feet, has a noticeable concavity of sole ;
the hoof somewhat projecting beneath the sole, may be compared to
claws, or to the nails of man, each of which aid in securing so many
points of resistance ; hence, in the case of a horse, such conforma-
tion of foot aids materially to prevent slipping on smooth pavements,
also secures good foothold, so that the body can be advanced with
less muscular exertion than if the shoe and foot presented to the
ground a convexity, in which case no hold or fulcrum could be

The evils of a convex, or even flat surface, next the ground, is
best observable in the hind extremities, the main use of which is the
propulsion of the body forwards, and when hauling a loaded vehicle,
also. In accomplishing the labor, the power is derived from the
muscles and tendons ; the bones of the leg are the compound levers ;


the muscles and tendons being inserted into the bones, it follows that
the toe and outsirle border of the hoof or shoe (provided the latter
is concave next the ground) become the fixed points of the leverage ;
any deviation from this simple mechanical contrivance operates much
against the animal's powers of hauling.

Therefore I contend that the ground surface of the shoe should be
concave, or saucer shape ; the outer rim or edge being prominent,
takes the place of the outside edge of the unshod foot, and the sur-
face next the ground being concave, it corresponds to the natural
concavity of the hoof

Unfortunately for the poor horse, very few persons who preside at
the forge, take the above view of the case ; hence, if we take up a
horse's foot and examine the shoe, we shall often find that the shoe
is wrong side up, viz., the convex surface is next the ground; and
any person acquainted with the facts in the case, and having the
least sympathy for the poor horse, cannot do otherwise than deplore
this very faulty method of shoeing.

When Surgeon Percival first entered the British army, the above
faulty method was universally practiced ; he immediately ordered
the shoes to be reversed— turned upside down— and the cavalry
horses were much benefited by this improvement, for it prevented
an unnecessary waste of muscular power.

It therefore matters not what may be the form of the foot, whether
it be high or low heeled, contracted at the heels, lengthened or short-
ened at the toe, or having a concave or convex sole ; the shoe must,
or ought to be, concave on the ground surface. In other parts of
the shoe, deviations from the general rule are absolute in conse-
quence of the ever-varying form and action of the foot under the
states of health, disease, and malformation ; and in concluding this
part of my subject, I remark that in the concave ground surface of
the feet of quadrupeds, and even bipeds, we are presented with a
pattern for the ground surface of shoes, requiring no improvement,
and if we were to follow this pattern more closely, there would be
fewer accidents from falling, and a less number of unnecessarily lame

The next evil prevalent in a faulty method of shoeing, is that of
paring the foot, so as to produce unnecessary length of "hoof at the
toe. These long toes are a mechanipal disadvantage to the horse :
he cannot raise the limb and foot, evenly, upward and forward ;
hence, describes a sort of curve, and in so doing often strikes the
opposite fetlock, and thus, as the saying is, "interferes."

Long toes also tend to produce strain, or sprain of the flexor ten-
dons and other parts, and soon the knee bulges out in front on a line
Avith the lengthened toe ; then the flexor tendons either shorten, or

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 16 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 14 of 17)