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 3 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 3 of 17)
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Anatomy of the Tail. For the benefit of those who wish to
practice the art of " nicking or pricking" understandingly, I now
propose to give a brief exposition of the anatomy of the" tail. of the Tail. The bones of the tail number fifteen, some-
times sixteen, and are situated at the back of the rump bone or
sacrum. They are not a continuation of the vertebral bones but
are an appendage to the haunch bone.

The bones entire are termed coccyx (from the Greek, which sio-ni-
fies cuchoo^ the bill of which bird the appendage to the sacrum^ or
haunch bone of man, is said to represent), and in order to prevent
confusion in anatomical terms, veterinary surgeons have applied
the same name to the tail bones of the horse ; hence, when the
terms coccygis or coccygeal are used, they have some relation to
the tail. The bones are roughened on their surfaces, have depres-
sions and eminences for the insertion of ligaments, tendons, and

Muscles of the Tail. These muscles are divisible into four pairs.
They are most distinctly seen at the root of the tail, but in their
course towards the end of the same they become blended one with

First Pair. The first pair is situated on the upper part of the
tail ; they are attached to the sacrum and to the bones of the tail
Their action is to raise or erect the tail.

Secoyid Fair of Coccygeal Muscles. These are termed depres-
sors coccyx^ and are situated at the under part of the tail. They are
attached to the underneath part of the sacrum, and to the same
locality on the bones of the tail. They are antagonistic to the first
pair, and their direct action is to depress the talk These are the


muscles which should be divided in the process of pricking or

Third Pair. The third pair are termed curvators coccyx. These
muscles are situated on the sides of the tail, between the first and
second pairs. They are attached to the fourth and fifth lumbar
vertebrae, and to the sides or transverse processes of all the bones
of the tail. Their action is to curve or fiex-the tail towards the
quarter and sides, and the division of one of these muscles causes
permanent flexure of the tail in an opposite direction. Considering
the tail as a means of defense in switching off flies, &c., these mus-
cles are the principal ones called into action.

Fourth Fair. The fourth pair are termed compressors coccyx.
They are located at the sides and root of the tail, and are inserted
into the back part of the hip bones (ischium)., and into the first five
bones of the tail. The action of these muscles is to maintain the
tail forcibly against the anus. In the mare these muscles protect
lier from ravishment.

The Arteries of the Tail are termed coccygeal arteries. Those
located at the sides, are called lateral coccygeal, and the one found
in the lower or inferior region, is so called — inferior coccygeal.

Nerves of the Tail. As with the muscles, so with the nerves —
there are four pair of coccygeal nerves. They are not a continua-
tion of the true spinal cord, but are given off from it. They are
distributed to the muscular filaments, to the skin, and to the
extremity of the tail.


Chronic Cough is often the result of indiscretion in the treatment
of influenza, distemper, and disease of the respiratory apparatus.
It usually depends on a morbid and irritable condition of the mem-
brane, found on the interior of the respiratory passages ; the cough
is generally aggravated by over-exertion, especially when the roads
are dusty ; food of an inferior quality, and that of a musty charac-
ter, has the same effect.

It is generally supposed by those persons who have not had the
benefit of a medical education, that the presence of acute, or chron-
ic cough, indicates diseased lungs^ or disease in some parts of the
organs of res2:)iration ; but this is not always the case, for, whenever
the liver becomes diseased, the subject is very apt to be tormented
with a harassing cough, which lasts as long as that organ shall be
the seat of disease ; however, there are several symptoms, to be ob-
served in cases of functional or organic disease of the liver, which
are not present in lung disease ; hence there is no difiiculty in the
way of making a correct diagnosis, and for the benefit of the non-
professional, I would inform them that, in all cases of liver disease,
a marked yellow tinge will be observed on the visible surfaces
within the mouth; the tongue slightly coated; the dung is unusu-
ally dark colored, and is voided in hardened lumps, and the urine
is also of a dark yellow color.


Treatment of Chronic Cough. — Should it appear that the cough
is occasioned by irritation, or an irritable state of the lining mem-
brane of the respiratory passages, I recommend the following:

Fluid Extract of Indian Hemp 1 ounce.

Syrup of Balsam of Tolou 2 "

Balsam Copaiba 1 "

About a table-spoonful of the above should be given twice, daily,
from a small bottle.

The patient should be coaxed to drink an infusion of linseed now
and then ; it will lubricate the surfaces with which it comes in con-
tact, lessen the cough, and tend to improve the condition.

Atteiition must he paid to the Diet. An irritable state of the niu-
cous surfaces is apt to be aggravated by the use of hay of an inferior
quality ; in fact, poor hay, dusty or musty, is dear at any price, and
is not, in that condition, fit for food. If the patient has been long
kept on any particular kind of provender, a change becomes neces-
sary — then such articles as linseed, sliced carrots, green feed, or oat
straw, may advantageously be given.

Should the cough be dependent on disease of the liver, I would
advise the owner of the animal to consult a veterinary surgeon.

See Magnetic Horse Powders.


Cause of Fistulous Withers. — Various are the causes assigned,'
by veterinary writers, for the origin of fistulous withers; but it may
be laid down, as a general rule, that this accidental, local affliction is
occasioiied by local injury inflicted by a bad-fitted collar or saddle ;
which, one or the other, are continually worn, and are constantly
augmenting the irritation. In fitting a collar or saddle to a horse's
back, or shoulders, the harness-maker should study the conformation
of the parts to be fitted, so as to distribute an equal pressure on all
the bearing parts. Unequal pressure is usually attended or followed
by local injury, inflammatory tumor, and suppuration ; and the result "
is *' fistulous withers.''

Nature of Fistulous Withers. — In the first stage a tumor, or
inflammatory swelling, varying in size, is observed in the dorsal
spinesTjiast at the top of the shoulder blade ; it appears hot and
tender, £tnd resembles a common boil ; after a short time it suppu-
rates, a>nd then may be considered as a common local abscess ; soon
the matter accumulates, and then is apt to spread and burrow in
various directions, and instances have occurred where the matter
has burrowed beneath the scapula, and found its way to the point of
the elbow. The fistulous condition, however, does not exist until
the matter, by absorption, has created several canals, or " pipes," as
they are sometimes called; the skin is then also broken, and we have
a real case of fistulous withers.

Occasionally the matter becomes so acrimonious and morbid that


it acts on the spines of the dorsal vertebrae, and parts of them un-
dergo ulceration, become detached, and finally have to be removed.
In some cases of this character the stench arising from the same is
almost intolerable, and at times the discharge is very copious, and
in running over the shoulders denudes the parts of hair, and occa-
sions superficial sores. The acrimonious and morbid condition of
such matter is probably owing to a bad habit of body, or vitiation
of the solids and fluids, which must be corrected by tonics, altera-
tives, and suitable diet, ere the disease can be arrested.

TiiEATMENT OF FISTULOUS WiTHERS. — When the small tumor
(skin unbroken) is first discovered, a cold water dressing is to be
applied, by means of a bandage. I usually apply a wet sponge, and
confine it to the spot with a surcingle, frequently wetting the sponge.
The patient should be confined to a light diet, and receive, in the
form of drench, six drachms of nitrate of potass (saltpetre.) After
the lapse of twenty-four hours, shoiild this treatment fiiil to reduce
the tumor, and it has increased in size, it may be inferred that sup-
puration has commenced, and matter is forming beneath the skin.
So soon as matter, or^pus, can be detected (its presence may be
known by the soflening and fluctuation,) I advise that an opening
be made into it at its lowest margin, and large enough to admit of
a free and complete discharge of its contents ; the cavity should be
syringed out two or three times, with a small quantity of fluid ex-
tract' of blood-root. It is important that this orifice should be kept
open for several days, or until the discharge has about ceased. This
is the most rational method of treating a case of this character in its
early stage. The same rule applies to the treatment of all abscesses
wherever situated, viz., whenever matter can be detected it should
be immediately liberated, lest contiguous parts be injured.

In some cases, however, a spontaneous abscess makes its appear-
ance in the upper region of the shoulder blade, and often both sides
are the seat of the same. They cannot be traced to any local inju-
ry, for I have often known them to occur in colts that have never
been harnessed ; therefore I term them spontaneous. In such cases
I have found it best not to be in a hurry to open them, for suppura-
tion is generally tardy, does not do much damage, may depend on
morbid "habit and morbid action; which may be corrected by a few
doses of iodide of potass and golden seal ; the dose of the same be-
ing as follows : Iodide of potass, fluid extract of golden seal — four
drachms per day. The local application in view of exciting absorp-
tion is composed of —

Tincture of Iodine 2 ounces.

Tincture of Blood-root 8 "

Oil of Cedar 1 "

Sulphuric Ether 1 "

, Mix, and rub into the tumefaction a portion of the above twice
daily. After a few days' trial of the above, if the tumor does not
decrease, but rather augments, the treatment must be disconthnied ;
and if it be advisable to open the abscess, it can be done by means
either of a lancet or seton. The after treatment consists in cleans-
ing the parts, and in securing an open orifice at the lower part of the
tumor, which will act as a drain to carry off the matter as fast as


it is secreted. I sometimes inject, by means of a syringe, a small
quantity of pyroligneous acid daily, which acts both as an astrin-
gent and antiseptic.

In all cases of fistulous withers where the bones are involved, or
fistulous pipes run in various directions, I advise the owner of the
animal to secure the services of a veterinary surgeon, for it is impos-
sible to put on paper all the information which the pficuliiirity or
emergency of the case may require.


This case will serve to illustrate my treatment.

On Sept. 20th, I was called to visit a roan gelding, tire property
of a gentleman of Chicago. On arriving at the place designated by
the owner, I found the annimal in the following state:

Head hung down; the eyes lacking somewhat their usual bright-
ness; respirations rapid and somewhat laborious; pulse quick and
strong ; membranes of the mouth and nose of a highly reddened
hue; legs cold; slight cough; refused his feed, and would not lie
down, his forelegs standing Avide apart: these were the key-notes,
and I accordingly pronounced the disease Pneumonia.

Treatment. — I consider nursing to be of very great advantage in
the cure of disease, and I forthwith ordered my patient to be placed
in a clean stall, where he might have the advantage of inhaling pure
air. I also had his body well clothed. His legs were freely rubbed
w^ith straw, and flannel bandages were wound around all four limbs
from the hoof up to the knees.

As he was now in the acute stages of the disease, and highly
inflammatory action being present, I administered by drench the
following :

Aconite 20 drops.

Water , 2 ounces.

I then had a thin bran mash placed before him, and cautioned the
hostler to withhold all oats and corn. Towards evening I gave him
by drench.

Blood-root , 2 drachms.

and left him for the day.

Second Day. Called and found him in much the same state,
although I could perceive the respirations were not so hurried as on
the day previous ; but he retained the highly inflammatory state, and
also had a morbid thirst for water. I placed a bucket of cold water
before him, first placing in the water half an ounce of nitrate of
potass. I also had his sides rubbed with

Powdered Mustard, ) Mixed together so as to
Vinegar, j form a paste.

I took off* the bandages, and rubbed his legs well until I had pro-
duced an equal circulation of the blood all over the parts.

Third Day. Found my patient with encouraging symptoms ; his
breathing was not so hard ; pulse falling ; legs not so cold, but he


was begiuning to show symptoms of de-bility, I therefore admin-

Golden Seal .1 ounce.

Ginger 1 drachm.

Glycerine 1 "

The disease was now bordering on the chronic state, and in con-
sideration of this fact, the treatment required was tonics and those
medicines in whose proj^ertiey there are agents which will co-operate
T^ith nature in sustaining vitality and life. I left a dose of the fol-
lowing, to be given in four hours after the first dose which I had
administered :

Golden Seal 1 ounce.

Iodide of Potass 15 grains.

Blood-root 1 drachm.

Fourth Day. This morning I considered my patient a far differ-
ent horse from what he was when I first commenced with him. He
began to show symptoms of activity; held his head more erect; his
eyes appeared brighter and his legs were warmer, and his whole
appearance had undergone a great change, and in a very short space
of time. I gave him a tonic, namely :

Tr. Golden Seal 1 ounce.

and informed the owner that I would call in the morning.

Fifth Day. After examining my patient, I ordered the bandages
to be taken from his limbs, and had him walked around in the open
air. The owner then mentioned to me that he thought he needed no
further treatment. This suggestion I complied with, and discharged
the case.

This is only one of the many cases which go to show how medi-
cines of a sanative character will act upon disease, and how few
take into consideration what harm they are doing and the small
amount of benefit the animal derives, when these individuals are
pouring an apothecary's shop down an animal.

In the above disease of Pneumonia, care must be taken as soon
the animal shows any symptoms of complaint, to place him in a dry
clean stall, in which place he has the benefits derived from an un-
adulterated atmosphere. Whatever feed is placed before him should
be of a sloppy character, such as bran mashes, &c. And bear in
mind there are but two conditions, namely — acute and chronic, and
they are to be treated accordingly.

GUTTA SERENA — {Dilatation of the Pupil.)

Gutta Serena, sometimes called "amaurosis," consists of paraly-
sis of the optic nerve; the diagnostic symptom, or Jcey note of the
disease, is dilatation and fixedness of the pupil of the eye, and if a
lighted candle be held to the same, it does not contract like the pupil
of an eye unaffected.

The symptoms of this kind of blindness, independent of the above,
are active muscular motions of the ears, and lifting the fore feet
higher than usual from the ground.


When Gutta Serena comes on in a slow and insidious manner,
and has existed some time, it is sure to end in total blindness, but it
is often a sympathetic affection, and subsides as soon as the disease
which gave rise tO' it disappears. Whenever the affection is associ-
ated with •other derangements, a mixture of golden seal and ginger,
administered in two drachm doses once or twice daily, will afford


My attention has often been called to 3Iares^ the subjects of a
sort of hysterical affection, accompanied by partial paralysis of the
hind extremities. It is quite common for mares that are barren to be
afflicted wiUi this malady, for the simple reason that they are often
the subjects of diseased ovaries. I once spayed a very valuable
mare, a regular hysterical subject, who, <luring the menstrual period
was uncontrollable, yet was often afflicted with partial paralysis ot
the hind extremities. The operation was a perfect success, and the
mare was finally sold for the sum of fifteen.hundred dollars.

Partial paralysis, occurring in the male equine, is usually consid-
ered as incurable, and I think it is from the fact that most practi-
tioners resort to desperate means, in the use of strychnia, which,
when adminstered in popular doses, is better calculated to kill than
to cure; the patients often die, secundum artem^ poisoiied by
Strychnine. "^•^-

Ali curable cases of partial paralysis may be benefited by the use
of anti'Spasmodics, which consist of camphor, Indian hemp, asa-
foetida, musk or garlic: and this disease, like many others, is often
self-limited. A little patience, a small quantity of anti-spasmodic
medicine, given occasionally, will accomplish wonders, and often
save a valuable animal, which, when otherwise treated, would be sure
to die. As regards the *' male," the affection is said to be the pro
perty of the matured animal, very rarely affecting colts. Fast trot-
ters, omnibus horses, and animals subjected to extreme exertion, are
most liable to it. The disease in the male is supposed to be eccen-
tric, and therefore it is diflicult to say how it will terminate. It
generally ruins the horse. n

" STIFLE OUT." — (Luxation of the PateUa.)

The Patella of the horse, or " Stifle-bone'* as it is sometimes
called, corresponds to the knee-pan of the man, and performs the
same office. The position of the bone is at the lower part of ^he
femur, and upper part of the tibia. The bone itself is kept in posi-
tion by strong ligaments, and in consequence of the presence of a
large prominence or condyle on the inner and lower part of the
femur. Dislocation inwardly very rarely, if ever, takes place ; the
bone is, therefore, in case of luxation — stifle out — found on the outer
and lower part of the thigh.


An accident of the above named character is usually accompanied
with much pain, and it is with great difficulty that the animal can
be urged to leave the stall ; the limb is rigid, and it is a matter of
impossibility to get it off the floor, for the simple reason that the
stifle is thrown off its pulley-like articulatory surface, and the action
of the joint is suspended.

The liability to stifle-out^ or luxation of the patella^ is not so
great as some persons would suppose ; I have seen but very few
cases of the kind. Many times have I been requested to visit horsea
said to have their stifle out, and on making examination have often
found them subjects of cramps, or spasms, of the flexors; others
have turned out to be cases of foot lameness, nail in foot, and even
fracture of the pelvis.

! So that the reader may not mistake a case of this character, I
would inform him that the stifle is never out, unless the bone can be
distinctly felt and seen, per tumor, on the outer and lower part of
the thigh bone, at the same time the animal when urged to move
does not raise the limb but drags it after him ; this accident can
easily be distinguished from a case of spasm or cramps, from the
fact that when cramp sets in, the limb becomes, as it were, riveted
to the floor; this condition, however, is peculiar to the cramp of the
flexors, or those muscles which are concerned in bending the affected

! Ileans of Reducing Dislocation of the Patella or Stifle. The
means of reducing dislocation of the patella are very simple. The
patella (stifle-bone), as I have already intimated, will be found on
the outer side of the stifle joint. The person who proposes to
accomplish the reduction must with his right hand (supposing the
dislocation to be on the near or left limb) grasp the leg just below
the hock, and gradually raise it upward and forward ; the left hand
should, at the same time, embrace the stifle bone, then by joint
action of pressing the bone inwards, raising and extending the
limb, the stifle-bone slips into its proper position, and the reduction
is then effected. It will be observed that at the moment when the
stifle-bone slips into its proper position, a snapping sound is heard,
like that when the head of one of the shaft bones is made to slip
into its socket. As a precautionary measure, it is highly necessary
that assistants should support the animal, lest he fall and injure both
Jaimself and the operator.

i According to the above rule, it is a very easy matter to reduce a
recent dislocation ; and such requires very little after treatment,
except rest, and the application, occasionally, of cold water.
j When the stifle-bone has remained unreduced for many hours, it
may be inferred that the ligaments, tendons, &c., have been so long
stretched or distended that they will not immediately contract, so
that unless we adopt measures to prevent it, a re-dislocation is very-
apt to occur. To guard against this, a person has to be stationed
80 as todvcep a hand on the stifle-bone, at the same time the region
of the stifle must be constantly bathed with some astringent. A
solution of alum will answer ; sometimes, however, it is necessary
to shave the hair from the part and apply a strengthening plaster,
composed of pitch, tar and rosin — equal parts ; these are to bo
melted in a. tin or iron vessel, and when the mixture is sufficiently


cool it may be spread on the region of tlie stifle by means of a knife
or spatula; this is to be covered with a thin layer of wool or cotton

In days of yore it was customary to apply the stifle-shoe, but I
think the practice is injudicious, highly injurious, and at the present
period is scarcely, if over, advocated by men who do their own
thinking and practice in accordance with the principles of common



A great proportion of these cases of blindness are the result of
over-feeding ; our horses are notoriously fat, I do not mean that
those note blind are in this condition, but that they were so ere
blindness set in ; now, their digestive organs are the seat of func-
tional disorder ; consequently they are, in this condition, more apt
to lose rather than gain flesh.

It is quite a common practice among dealers to force their horses
into a fat and sleek condition ere they oifer them for sale. The ani-
mal undergoes the stuffing process ; his stomach is converted into a
grist mill ; the food (Indian corn) is rich in oxygen or fat, contains
more of the fat-making principle than any other article of equine
diet; and under the condition of rest, in warm city stables, adipose
or fatty matter accumulates very rapidly, and is stored up in the
cellular tissues, and as the fatty matter preponderates, the muscular
structures degenerate.

Butchers are well acquainted with the fact that very fat carcasses
contain but little meat or muscle, and even the heart of a fat animal
often contains a coiasiderable quantity of fat globules, insinuated
between its muscular fibres. This condition impairs the heart's
function, and constitutes a disease known as fatty degeneration.
This is the effect which food, rich in sugar or oxygen, has on the
animal economy. Now, in this land of plenty, and in this region,
which is the great national bread-basket, there is danger of over-
feeding horses. In view, therefore, of preventing plethora and
blindness, horse owners must dip a lighter hand into the corn bin.

Blindness occurs as follows: When blindness occurs as a func-
tional disorder, it is often the result of a disturbed sympathetic rela-
tion between the brain and the stomach ; and an overworked or an
over-distended stomach may not occasion any local pain, but often

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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 3 of 17)