George H. Dadd.

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

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Online LibraryGeorge H. DaddA practical treatise on the most obvious diseases peculiar to horses, together with direction for their most rational treatment; containing, also, some valuable information on the art of shoeing horses → online text (page 4 of 17)
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operates with that kind of influence on the brain which gives rise to
symptoms, not stomachic, but cerebral. The brain once aff'ected,
then commences morbid action in the eye, or eyes, as the case may
be, through the operation or medium of the optic nerve, which orig-
inates in the base of the brain.

It appears to me that many of the horses daily parading our
cities, blind in one or both eyes, must labor under some peculiar
predisposition to derangement and diseases of the organs of vision,
and whenever the ordinary exciting causes (errors in diet) are ope-
rative for any length of time, they develop a morbid condition,


which might otherwise have remained latent during the natural
period of the awimaPs life.

It is a well known law of the animal oconomy, that predispositions
to various forms of disease are transmitted through the sexual con-
gress to offspring, and in the system of the latter may remain latent
until the cojiditions favorable for the development of the constitu-
tional malady are presented, which are nothing more nor less than
the ordinary exciting causes of disease.

In some parts of the United States similar errors in the feeding
of horses produce blind-staggers, stoipach-staggers, and organic dis-
ease of the brain ; tliis goes to show tliat in such cases the animals
are more predisposed to cerebral disease than to disease of the
organs of vision.

In view of j^reventing diseases of the above character, proper
attention must be paid to the principles of breeding, and all animals
showing the least symptoms of organic disease should be rejected.
The disease itself may not be transmitted, only a predisposition
thereto, and this is usually the case when only o, drank the
warm milk of an apthous cow, and the result was that they all be-
came subjects of the severe inflammation of the throat, associated
with vesicular eruptions. Professor Simons gave warm milk taken
from an apthous cow to young pigs, and in each case aptha resulted.

"Epizootic aptha spreads amongst sheep as a consequence of actual
contact with the virus, which is deposited on the pasture by one and
taken up by another, either through the medium of the mouth or
digits, and by this means a whole flock soon becomes affected.

" Treatment.— Wash the mouth, lips and teats with sulphuric
acid and water, half an ounce of the former to a pint of the latter, and
the feet with equal parts of hydrocloric acid and water ; and admin-
ister, daily, nitrate of potash and chloride of sodium, of each three
ounces. If the udder' becomes affected, or induration of the teat


supervenes, warm fomentations must be constantly applied to the
Dart, and a tube should be put up the teat, in order to facilitate the
escape of milk."


Spasmodic Colic is a disease of very frequent occurrence among
horses, and in view of giving the readers of this work some definite
ideas of its seat, nature, and treatment, I introduce the following
as the result of my experience.

The appellation of colic is usually given to abdominal pain, as it
occurs in the intestines of horses ; it is, however, a very different
condition from that known as inflammation of the intestines, yet the
former often merges into the latter. Spasmodic colic, therefore,
consists of a morbid contraction of the muscular fibres of some part
of the intestinal tube, accompanied by pain, and constitutes what is
generally called *' stoppage."

The small intestine is the usual seat of spasmodic colic ; and dis-
sections show irregular contractions and shortenings of the intes-
tines, accompanied by engorgements. A few remarks on the struc-
ture of the intestines, will enable the reader to understand how,
and by what means, the spasmodic action takes place.

The intestinal tube of the horse, which is about ninety feet in
length, is composed of three coats. The first^ or external, is the
peritoneal ; a tunic or covering, which, after having furnished a
smooth, glistening lining to the interior of the whole abdominal
cavity, is reflected over the intestines and gives to them a complete
covering, identical with that which they are constantly in contact
with. The second coat is composed of muscular fibres of two
orders, one running longitudinally, the other circular. Should con-
traction occur in the longitudinal fibres, the bowel is proportionally
shortened ; when it occurs in the circular fibres, the calibre of the
intestines is decreased, and sometimes in severe spasm, complete
stricture of the part takes place ; this I have known to continue
even after death, when it was found difticult to pass a small tube
through the contraction. The reader will perceive that if contrac-
tion of both these orders of fibres should occur, the intestines will
present a knotted appearance. The thirds or inner coat of the intes-
tines, is of a villous, or rather, mucous character ; its surfxce is
adapted for secretion and absorption — thus by means of its lacteals,
alimentary and other matters are imbibed or absorbed and conveyed
into the general circulation. By means of an innumerable number
of small glands, a fluid is secreted, which finds its way to the surface
of the mucous membrane, and there operates to prevent mechanical
irritation, which may follow the administration of drastic cathartics
and poisons, or may result from the action of indigestible food, such
as bad hay, straw, corn-stalks, &c.

Now the question arises — by what means is spasm of the bowels
produced ? The ordinary cause is the application of a stimulus or
agent, which calls into activity the contractile power of the involun-
tary muscular fibres of the intestines. It may follow the act of im-
bibing a quantity of cold water; or may result from the presence of


something within the intestinal tube, there generated, such as an
acid or an alkali ; generated in consequence of a morbid condition
of the salivail or tlio gastric fluids, and from the presence of worms.
But spasm of tlie bowels is produced more easily by a peculiar stim-
ulus conveyed through the nerves whicli are connected with, and
supply nervous force lo those muscles at the seat of spasm. I wish
the reader to understand that it does not matter much whether the
stimulus, which occasions the state of spasm, be applied to the ex-
ternal or internal surfaces; for it is w^ell known that horses of a
peculiar nervous temperament when heated by exercise and then
driven into water, will occasionally be attacked with cramp or spasm,
and even locked jaw; and locked jaw is a disease of the same class
and order as spasm of the bowels, only located in a different part of
the body. The reason why external and internal stimuli act pre-
cisely alike to produce spasm, in the predisposed subject, is because
the ultimate nerve fibres have a similar distribution on external as
well as internal surfaces.

This peculiar arrangement of the nervous system, of a two-fold
character, appears to be a wise arrangement : Firsts it brings the
psychical endowments of animals into relation with the external
world and its influences; informing them, through the medium of
the organs of sensation, of the changes which take place under con-
ditions of the atmosphere known as " heat and cold" ; and in their
undomesticated state, the conscious, or instinctive mind receives an
instructive lesson and acts accordingly, so as to guard against dan-
ger. Secondly^ an impression made on the internal surface of the
intestines, reacts through its nervous and motor apparatus, precisely
as if applied to the external surface of the body, and excites or
arouses voluntary and involuntary action and spasm, as the case may
be, purely on the principle of self-preservation, and of resisting in-
juries when threatened.

Treatment. — To one ounce of fluid extract of lobelia add three
drachms of sulphuric aether; mix this in a small quantity of sweet-
ened water, and drench the patient with the same : the lobelia and
aether act as anti-spasmodics, and tend to relax the spasm of the

Then take two ounces of fluid extract of lobelia, two quarts of
warm water, and throw the same into the rectum by means of a

Should the above treatment not relieve the animal, I should
eetherize him, and apply a stimulating liniment to the abdomen, and
after the animal recovers from the effects of the aether, a few drops
more of lobelia will do him no harm; yet, if he is relieved, the med-
icine should be dispensed with.


Flatulent Colic is the result of derangement of the digestive or-
gans : the food, without being properly digested, runs into fermenta-
tion, and generates gas within the stomach and intestines.


The malady is easily recognized from the fact that the abdomen
is distended, and if the walls of the same be struck, a windy sound
is elicited ; and it will be noticed that gas escapes from the anus,
and sometimes from the mouth.

The animal is usually in great pain, and will tumble about in the
stable, rolling from side to side, in view of obtaining relief.

Treatment. — The principal object to be accomplished, is, first, to
give tone to the stomach, and arouse the digestive function, so as to
put a stop to fermentation ; this accomplished, the animal is almost
sure to recover.

In this view I recommend the following :

Powdered Ginger 1 ounce.

" Golden Seal 1 "

Carbonate of Soda ^ 4 drachms.

Warm Water 1 pint.

Mix ; and drench the animal with the same.
The next best remedy is :

Fluid Extract of Ginger . „ 1 ounce.

" " of Golden Seal 1 "

Carbonate of Soda 4 drachms.

Warm Water .t piiit.

Mix ; and drench.
After administering the medicine, throw into the rectum enemas,
composed of warm water and common salt.

In the course of a few hours the animal will get relief; if he
should grow worse, repeat the dose, and lubricate the abdomen with
stimulating liniment.


Bronchocele is a very common affection among horses ; the mal-
ady is known to veterinary surgeons as enlargement of the thyroid
glands; the enlargement is sometimes the sequel of epizootic and
enzootic, affections, and it often accompanies the affection known as
sore throat.

Treatment. — Give the patient twenty grains of iodide of Dotass
daily, which may be dissolved in the water which is ofiered him,
and rub the swellings daily with a small quantity of tincture of
iodine, or if the 3Iagnetic Liniment can be procured, use it.

Should the above treatment fail, give the patient a few doses of
the Magnetic Horse Powders, (See Magnetic Horse Powders.)


Bruise of the sole of the foot, is the consequence of the animal
treading on a stone or rail iron ; the result is, extravasation of blood
within the articulatory surfaces of the sensitive and insensitvie lami-
ns6; the accident is almost always sure to result in lameness.


Treatment. — Keep the foot constantly wet with cold water;
excuse the animal from duty, and give him a chance to breathe pure
air ; have patience, and the horse will soon get well.

Should the patient appear to suffer much pain, give him twenty
drops of tincture of aconite every four hours, until relief is obtained;
and feed him on bran mashes, allowing, at the same time, a small
quantity of hay, in view of distending the stomach to a healthy

CORNS m HORSES. ''JSTo Foot no Horse?'

A horse the subject of corns is expected to have defective feet,
hence the above quotation is " true as gospel.'*

That peculiar disease occurring within the inner quarter of the
fore feet of horses, known as corn, is a very different affection from
that peculiar to the feet of man. In horses, corn is neither more nor
less than extravasation, which signifies escape of blood from it?
proper vessels into the surrouaiding tissues of the part. This extra-
vasation or escaped blood, finally coagulates, and creates a black
spot, known as the *' corn-spot"; this is exposed on paring the sole
at its inner quarter. All blood which escapes in this way becomcF
as a foreign body, yet in some parts of the system, where the ab-
sorbent vessels are very numerous and active, the foreign deposit is
soon removed by the ordinary process of absorption; but within the
dense tissues of a horse's foot this process is tardy, sometimes im-
possible, consequently, matter or pus is generated between the
sensitive and non-sensitive parts, and a passage must finally be cre-
ated for the liberation of the imprisoned matter ; for it cannot escape
through the dense structure composing the hoof itself; hence it bur-
rows and migrates in various directions from the sole, and lastly
creates an outlet at the inner and upper part of tne hoof, where the
matter escapes.

Treatment of Corn. — The only chance of relieving the animal
is to remove the shoe and apply one having a slight concavity at the
former seat of pressure; or if the animal has a prominent frog, the
bar-shoe can be attached; previous to doing so, however, the corn-
spot can be slightly pared, and whenever there appears to be any
pressure on the sole at the quarters, the shoe must be removed and
adapted as above. The theory, therefore, in the treatment of corn,
is to secure a vacancy between the heel and the shoe.

If tho horse happens to be " dead lame," and tenderness and
swelling are observed at the upper part of the hoof, the part ma^
then be punctured with a lancet; after squeezing out the imprisoned
matter, the part should be dressed, daily, with fir balsam. In somf
cases of suppurated corn the matter must be liberated, by making
an opening through the sole of the inner quarter ; this is also to be
dressed with fir balsam ; the shoe to remain off for a few days.



"Is Cribbing a Disease?" — I answer that it is not. It is not
injurious to the horse that practices it, and the Court of Appeals
have pronounced in favor of its innocuousness. Cribbing comes
under the denomination of a bad habit or vice, which, like other bad
habits or vices, is both inherited and acquired; it prevails mostly
among horses of a windy or coHcky predisposition. Yet any horse
with a bad example near him, in the form of a confirmed cribber,
and having but little to do except to devour hay and grain, may
finally be(u>me a cribber; hence, horses like men, are not benefited
by keeping bad company.

I am willing to admit that cribbers are not always in the best con-
dition, although some of them have but little to do and plenty to eat ;
in fact many such animals appear lank and lean, yet it will be no-
ticed that they almost always have a bulky abdomen, which is gen-
erally occupied by gas ; this gas is not swallowed in the act of crib-
bing, as many persons suppose, but is generated within the stomach
and intestines, in consequence of functional derangement of the diges-
tive organs; hence, in plain language, most cribbers maybe con-
sidered as the subjects of a most prevalent and fashionable malady,
known to prevail among the members of the human species, called
indigestion or dyspepsia.

The following paragraph I select from Mr. PercivaPs writings,
which is more authoritative than anything I may possibly offer:

*' In general, crib-biting ought rather to be regarded as a vice oi
habit than a disease; the latter I have never been able to regard it.
Horses that are old crib-biters present the inconvenience of being
faulty feeders— they require a great deal to satisfy them, and those
which generate air in their stomachs are very subject to attacks oi
windy colic."

Finally, a crib-biter often grows poor, not because he is a cribber,
but for the simple reason that in his dyspeptic condition the diges-
tive organs fail to elaborate from the food the requisite amount oi
chyme, chyle and bk>od, for the renovation and growth of the ani-
mal fabric.


The following case will illustrate the pathology of the disease:

I was requested a short time ago to visit an animal the subject oi
cerebral apoplexy.

Position of the Animal.— The position very clearly indicated
disease of the brain, for he stood as if in the act of forging forwards,
with his head against the sides of the crib,, and it was with con-
siderable diffieulty that he could be made to "back," and when
once out of the ctall he manifested unsteadiness as when attacked
with staggers.

Noticeable Symptoms.— The pulse at the angle of the jaw could
scarcely be felt, showing a feeble action of the heart ; limbs and
ears rather chilly ; the nasal membranes of a leaden or bluish cast.


On turning up one of the eyelids, it appeared highly congested,
presenting a uniform brown reddish tinge, occasioned by obstruction
in the capillaries and a highly carbonized state of the blood. The
respirations were tubulous and slightly stertorous, which signifies
that the lungs w^ere not properly inflated, respiration being princi-
pally carried on in the passages which lead to the lungs. Stertorous
Bignities snoring, the act of inspiration being accompanied with a
sort of snoring sound.

On observing the flanks the respiration appeared labored and
quickened, which led some persons present to infer that the animal
had lung fever ; but on applying my ear to various parts of the
region of the chest, I became satisfied that the lungs were healthy,
and therefore pronounced the case as one of cerebral apoplexy^ as it
proved to be. The flank movements, therefore, were of a purely
mechanical or auxiliary character.

PuoGNOsis. — Prognosis, which signifies foreknowledge of the
course, event, or termination of disease, is sometimes impossible
to foresee, and as regards this case, which appeared to be mild in
the beginning, I was unwilling to predict an issue, or rather to foretell
the event of the malady.

The difficulties in the way of predicting with any degree of cer-
tainty, were as follows : 1st, The animal was young and had always
enjoyed perfect health, never having shown the least predisposi-
tion to disease in any form. 2nd, Two days prior to the attack, he
had been driven a long distance, and on arriving at his quarters ap-
peared merely fatigued, and the groom noticed that his excrement
was coated with slime, and from these circumstances we might
rationally infer that the digestive organs were deranged ; hence the
brain difficulty might possibly be of a sympathetic character; and if
so, the patient might recover.

I therefore informed the owner of my patient, that, if the disease
was merely functional, he might expect recovery; if otherwise, the
disease being organic, death would surely ensue.

Treatment and Termination of the Case. — I administered
diff*usible stimulants by tl>e mouth and rectum, applied counter
irritants composed of turpentine, oil and ammonia; the limbs were
rubbed with wisps of straw and then enveloped in flannel ; the region
of the cranium (which was very hot) was bathed with cold water.
Reaction took place, and the animal appeared more lively; the sur-
face of the body regained its normal temperature, and to all appear-
ance the condition of the patient was many removes from that of a
dying creature; but alas for human calculation ! all at once he was
seized with convulsions and suddenly died.

Autopsy. — On removing a triangular piece of the cranium (scull)
and its membrane, the superficial vessels of the brain appeared
highly congested ; on puncturing the pia mater (the membranous
covering proper of the brain), serum, or water, exuded, indicating
dropsy of the brain, and a quantity of dark colored or highly car-
bonized blood escaped, showing very conclusively that the cause
of his sudden death was rupture of a blood vessel in the brain.




A short time ago I visited a black gelding, aged nine years ; he
had shown some symptoms of illness for several days, being rather
dull and weak in his legs.

On examination the following symptoms were noticed: pulse quite
feeble; respiration natural; tongue coated with a brown secretion;
mouth hot, and a foetid odor from the same is perceptible ; the visi-
ble surfaces of the mouth are pale, yet have a yellow tinge ; the
nasal membranes are of a leaden hue ; the head droops and the tips
of the ears are chilly ; the patient is rather unwilling to move, and
when urged to do so, exhibits a staggering gait ; the bowels are lax
(the excrement appearing like cow manure,) and the owner of the
animal informs me that the urine is scanty and dark colored.

Percussion over the region of the liver (on the right side,) elicits
an unusual dull sound, indicative of a diseased liver ; on percussing
the left side in the region of the spleen, a solid sound is elicited,
and an evident enlargement of the spleen is perceptible.

Twelve hours after this examination the animal died.

Record op the Autopsy. — On opening the abdominal cavity,
the spleen was found to occupy a very large space ; it was of im-
mense proportions, and weighed nearly twelve pounds (the ordinary
weight is three pounds) ; it presented the appearance of a spleen in
the chronic stage of disease — excessively enlarged and altered in
structure; it was of a pitchy black color, and was surcharged with

The liver appeared to be much enlarged, hardened, and discolored,
and on cutting into it, various small tubercular deposits were ex-
posed ; all the other organs appeared to be healthy. A case of this
kind is always beyond the reach of art — incurable.

Remarks on the Spleen. — The spleen, known to bi^Btchers as
the milt or melt^ is a spongy substance, located on the left side, be-
tween the stomach and the false ribs. It presents a blue mottled
appearance externally ; internally, it is dark colored.

Its internal surface is concave, by which arrangement it is per-
fectly adapted to occupy a locality of the stomach which in form is

The spleen, like other organs within the abdomen, receives a cov-
ering from the peritoneum, and when this covering is stripped off,
we discover a body soft, lacerable and spongy.

It is supposed that the spleen does not perform any secretory
function, and physiologists have hitherto failed in detecting any
excretory vessel, or duct. In these respects it differs from all other
glands of the body ; in fact, having neither secretory nor excretory
vessels, it cannot, with propriety, be classed as a gland.

The anatomy of the spleen is as follows : It is furnished with
arteries, from the cseliac ; the casliac terminates in the splenic, and
the splenic furnishes the spleen with blood (the " casliac" arises from
the abdominal aorta) ; and these arteries, after being dispersed within
the substance of the spleen, find innumerable ramifications, and
ultimately terminate in cells of a membranous character ; from this


cell arrangement springs innumerable venous radicles. The spleen
being very spongy, and porous, is capable of undergoing great dis-
tension, without danger of rupture ; in fact, it sometimes acquires
an enormous size, without loss of continuity. The spleen is deli-
cately organized with nerves, and presents an intricate net- work of
absorbents ; the nerves of the spleen are given oif from the caeliac

Notwithstanding the fact that the spleen does not perform the
functions just alluded to, it is a very important organ, and serves as
a diverticulum to the liver; when thus employed it tends to prevent
congestion of the liver.


Preliminary. — The terms big-head and big-jaw are used by
husbandmen and others in Ohio, and indeed throughout the great
"West and South, to designate a disease of the bony structure of
the horse, a disease about which very little, of a reliable character,
has ever been said or w^ritten. Yet the subject is one of great im-
portance to the people of this country, for the simple reason that the
evil is one of alarming proportions, and should the disease multiply
in a ratio equal to that of the few past years, it will be a terrible
blow to the laudable and hitherto profitable enterprise of raising
colts, in sections where this disease prevails.

I do not w^ish to create any unnecessary alarm, but I urge the hus-
bandmen of the South and South-West, to give this subject their
earnest consideration ; for the disease probably has an heredi-
tary origin — " is inbred," and that, as the saying is, " constitutes

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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 4 of 17)