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 6 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 6 of 17)
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for a short time very fatal, especially when treated on the anti-phlo-
gistic plan ; in fact, so far as my knowledge goes, every horse so
treated, died.

The only chance of bringing this malady to a favorable termina-
tion was to commence the treatment early, and then by the use of
sanitive stimulants and tonics sustain the vital powers, and thus
keep the patient alive while the disease ran its course.

The agents used in the above case were, ginger, poplar bark,
chlorate of potass, and iodide of potass.


Operation on a Horse for Dropsy op the Brain. — The sub-
ject of the above named disease was a bay gelding, aged seven years.
The animal had been out of health for a few days. When my atten-
tion was called to him, I found him down on the right side ; from
appearances I should judge that he had struggled considerably, but
his struggles must have been of an unconscious and involuntary
character, as the pupil of the eye w^as amaurotic, and he was com-
pletely insensible to the prick of a pin. Occasionally the patient
would go into convulsions, kick with his limbs, and dash his head
about, not knowing what he did. It was noticed that he often jerked
his head backwards, as horses will do when the subjects of dropsy
of the brain.

Having satisfied myself that this was a case of dropsy of the
brain — hydrocephalus — and there being but very little if any chance
of ever saving the subject, I obtained the owner's consent to trepan
or trephine my patient, and then draw off the fluid.

The operation was performed as follows : having selected a point
at about the centre of the parietal bones, I made a crucial — cross-
shaped — incision, through the integuments, and dissected them for
a small circumference from the bone ; I than introduced the trephine
a little on one side of the suture, or ridge, and after sawing com-
pletely through the bone, removed a piece of the circumference of
half a dime. I now sent a curved trocar and canula, between the
lobes of the brain, down into the lateral ventricles, and after with-


drawing the trocar — cutting instrument — about two-thirds of a
tumbler full of water — serum — ran through the canula. Shortly
after this the wound in the integuments was closed ; not completely,
however, for small quantities of serum still escaped, and wore
Bujffered to do so.

Up to the time of performing this operation — that is, since my
first visit — the patient was sightless, and insensible in every part of
his body to the prick of a pin, but so soon as the fluid was removed
from the interior of the brain, his sight and sensibility returned, and
continued for forty-eight hours, when the horse gradually relapsed
into a comatose or insensible condition ; and now, at the end of five
days after the operation on his brain, it was decided that he could
not recover, hence the owner ordered him to be killed.

Remarks on the above Case. — This horse was not a very good
subject on which to test the merits of this formidable operation ; he
had been over-fed, and was rather plethoric ; then again, the weather
was excessively sultry, and he had very bad quarters, and very little
attention. I have, however, some hopes that this operation may
ultimately prove successful, when the right subject is selected, and
when the patient has proper care and attention ; and should it prove
successful, some valuable lives might be saved.

If this operation shall prove successful on the horse, why may it
not, when performed on man, for hydrocephalus ?


During my residence in Ohio I had occasion to visit a number of
animals, the subjects of Splenic Apoplexy. I found that most of
them had been over-fed, and were in a state of plethora, hence to
prevent the malady, the farmer must dip a lighter hand into the meal

My impression is that apoplexy, wherever it locates, in the bodies
of either horses or cattle, is very apt to prove fatal ; there may be
occasional recoveries, but these are exceptions, and not the rule.

The authorities contend that in all cases of animals sti'icken with
this malady, the premonitory symptoms are of short duration ; they
may be observed at night to appearance in the enjoyment of full
health, on the morrow they may be dead.

Symptoms of Splenic Apoplexy. — When an opportunity is af-
forded of observing the development of the earliest symptoms,
characteristic of this malady, they will be found to be somewhat of
the following nature : appetite somewhat impaired ; countenance of
an anxious appearance ; visible mucous surfaces, a mixture of dull
red and yellow ; pulse somewhat full, and may range as high as sev-
enty; respirations quickened; tenderness along the course of the
spine. The patient will occasionally stumble and fall ; he grinds his
teeth, and an augmented secretion of saliva is seen to dribble from
the mouth.

The bowels are usually active, and the excrement is sufficiently
soft, yet of a dark color ; when too soft, the patient is afflicted with


colicky pains, gets down in torment, and often goes into convulsions,
and soon dies.

The urine has a very peculiar appearance : it varies from pink to
a dark brown color.

The diagnostic symptom of splenic apoplexy, with enlargement of
the same, is a notable enlargement on the left side of the abdomen,
well up towards the ribs; on standing right behind the animal, ajid
casting one's eye carefully along the sides of the abdominal walls,
a perceptible eminence will be seen, which cannot be mistaken.
The region of the spleen is between the stomach and false ribs, on
the left side.

When the spleen is not enlarged, but merely congested^ then we
resort to percussion in order to detect the same.

The cause of death in splenic apoplexy is an abdominal accumu-
lation and effusion of blood, in the interior of the spleen, with rup-
ture of its constituent texture ; and it is safe to infer that the disease
is primarily the result of a deranged or diseased condition of the assira-
ilator}^ system, occasioned by errors in diet. The curative treatment
of splenic apoplexy is very unsatisfactory ; but in case of enlarge-
ment of the spleen, we may often succeed in aiding nature to cure
the malady, by administering iodide of potass and vegetable tonics.


The operation of embryotomy, as practiced by veterinarians, sig-
nifies dismemberment — disembowelment, &c., of the foetal colt —
located within the uterus and vagina. I presume that very few
persons, unless they understand the anatomy of the parts, would
like to undertake this formidable operation ; yet it has often been
the means of saving the lives of very many valuable breeding mares ;
hence I propose, in a brief manner, to give the readers of this work
some idea of the modus operandi.

The instrument used in the practice of embryotomy, is a crooked
beak-pointed knife, which can be so concealed in the hand as not to
be capable of doing any injury.

Mode of Operation. — Having introduced the knife within the
uterine cavity, I run my hand along the foetal limb to the top of the
shoulder, if possible, and there turn the knife and send its beak
point through the integument, and slit the same to the region of the
knee ; a slip-noose is affixed to the fetlock, and while an assistant is
making steady traction on the same, I loosen the integument from
the limb, then by a little dexterity in the use of the knife at the top
of the shoulder, and elsewhere, the whole leg is drawn away. After
amputating the shoulder, I make an incision through the cartilages
of the ribs, this exposes the whole of the thoracic viscera, which I
remove. If the bulk of the colt appears to be sufficiently removed
to insure its extraction, I affix a noose to the remaining fore leg and
by traction remove the carcass; the only difficulty in the way of a
prompt extraction occurs, ofttimes, in consequence of the foetal head
being bent round on the opposite side of the chest ; but under ordi-


nary circumstances the colt can be extracted without proceeding to
disembowel it or decapitate it. If, however, either of the latter
operations will facilitate the birth, I should certainly perform one or

the other, or both. . , . x . ^v

Havintr extracted the whole of the foetus, I next remove the
placentalmd membranes, and then drench the mare with fluid extract
of ^in^er half an ounce; tincture of matico, one ounce; warm
water, <)ne quart; this will improve the condition of the prostrate
animal, and insure contraction of the uterus. ., • ...

The uterine expulsive power, so favorable to the liberation ot the
colt, if dormant, can readily be aroused by administering a stimu-
lating drench.



I was requested, some time ago, to visit a valuable mare, she
havino- been in labor some five or six hours without effecting deliv-
ery. t)n arrival I was informed that every effort had been made to
remove the foetus, that six men having a rope attachecfto the same,
had been pulling " might and main" without success ; that finally a
pair of inules wis harnessed to the legs of the unborn !

In spite of this rough and unwarrantable treatment the mare
still survived, and had"^ strong uterine pains. On examination I
found that it was a case of breech presentation — hind feet present-
ing ; the long diameter of the foetal pelvis opposed to the short
diameter of that of the mother. I merely pushed the foetus back-
ward and changed the position of the same, brought the long diam-
eter of the pelvis of the-'one, in apposition with that of the other ;
and in the course of fivQ,minutes, with the assistance of one man,
delivered the mare of a dead colt.

Remarks.— Such cases, I am informed, are constantly occurring,
and very often the life of a valuable mare is thus sacrificed at the
shrine of ifmorance ; this is not a matter that^ would warrant any
member oi'^our profession in scolding about ; it is a subject which
demands our serious attention, and all our efiorts as philanthropists
and christian men, should be exercised for the purpose of putting a
stop to *he perpetration of similar barbarities. The only remedy, as
I understand the subject, is the establishment of Veterinary Col-
leo-es and Schools throughout the length and breadth of these United
Stiites ; and I entreat the readers of this work, to use their means
and influence for the purpose of educating men for the responsible
duties of veterinary surgeons.

It may be gratifying to our readers to know how the above case
terminated, hence I append the following extract from my " case

book." ^ ^ ^ ,

After delivery, the mare appeared perfectly prostrated ; pulse, at
the angle of the jaw, almost indistinct ; extremities cold ; tips of
the cars and lips icy cold ; visible surfaces pale ; respiration labori-
ous, and the prognosis was unfavorable.


Treatment. — Administered diffusible stimulants, and drenched
the patient with two quarts of hot gruel seasoned with stimulating
condiments; in the course of two hours after delivery, the mare got,
up and commenced grazing apparently with good relish; she gradu-
ally improved and finally recovered.


Canker is a disease of the tissues of the foot, affecting the sensi-
tive parts of the frog and sensitive sole, and consists in a production
of a morbid growth known as fungus.

In former years it was very prevalent in the large livery stables
of the city of London; there it was suj^jDosed to rage as an epizootic
affection, and often appeared in a very malignant form. At later
periods, in consequence of an improved system of stable manage-
ment, and the presence of educated veterinary surgeons, the disease
is less prevalent, and is robbed of its greatest terrors.

It is probable that this disease, like many others, "lurks in breed,"
for it has been observed that a great proportion of the subjects
afflicted with this malady are of coarse breed or organization,
having much coarse hair on their limbs, and the same animals have
large and flat feet. Canker usually attacks the hind feet; these
parts being most remote from the central organs of circulation, are
very apt to become the seat of this affection whenever circumstances
are favorable to its production. The circumstances favorable for the
production of canker are predisposition.

Taking a common sense view of this affection, it appears to resem-
ble that very formidable disease known, in human medicine, as cancer^
for if allowed to progress, the disease acquires a deep seated origin,
and spreads from frog to sole, and around the toe and quarters, and
like cancer it often flourishes with a peculfkr luxuriance ; yet, after
all, common canker, as it occurs in horses, is not identical with hu-
man cancer, for, on microscopical examination we fail to find the
true scirrhus, or cancerous change of the morbid tissues.

The treatment of canker is as follows: Bathe the parts freely with
pyroligneous acid, and then cover the cankerous surfaces with pow-
dered blood-root. The dressing must be renewed often, and the
parts should be completely covered with the blood-root as often as it
is removed by abrasion or otherwise.

The constitutional treatment is as follows: Give the horse, daily,
twenty grains of iodide of potass, and forty grains of powdered
blood-root, either in the form of drench, or otherwise. Should the
animal not recover under this form of treatment, the case may be
considered as incurable.


Umbilical Hernia, commonly known as rupture^ often occurs in
colts, and in fact is often congenital — exists at birth. The sac, or
pendulous bag, is located in the region known as the " navel," or


umbilical region; the sac sometimes acquires magnitude so as to
j)resent an " eye sore," or unsightly appearance, which very fre-
quently impairs the value and usefulness of the animal.

In former days a very barbarous operation was occasionally per-
formed for the removal of the enlargement, which was performed
in the following manner: the animal, after being cast, was placed on
his back ; in this position the bowel generally receded into the abdom-
inal cavity, then three or four skewers were inserted through the
walls of the loose skin, and then ligatures were applied. This inter-
rupted the circulation of blood through the parts, and the superfluous
skin sloughed off, at the same time the internal parts cf the sac
united, and in this way the " eye sore" was sometimes got rid of;
but unfortunately death often ensued, either as the result of perito-
nitis, or of locked jaw.

The safest mode of treatment now adopted, is that of continuous
pressure :

" It consists of a common girth, properly shaped to the body,
having? a stiff piece of oval-shaped leather introduced inferiorly, to
come in contact with the rupture. This should be buckled on mod-
erately tight, and retained in its situation as follows : place a common
collar on the animal's neck, to which three straps are attached, one
on each side and the other at the brisket. Two pieces of webbing
should be attached to the main girth with buckles at the opposite
end, to meet the side straps, and a piece of leather, instead of web-
bing, to meet the brisket one. This latter should be forked or split,
part of the way, so as to admit of its being attached to the oval
piece of leather covering the rupture. These are then to be buckled
to the straps coming from the collar, by which means the girth is
held in its proper position. Over the whole a common surcingle may
be placed, just behind the elbows, (the usual girthing place,) in order
to keep the whole snug and close to the body.

" The animal, thus harnessed, should be turned into a loose box and
fed well, the object being to force the system as much as possible.
The best time for applying the truss is when the animal is taken from
the mare. In a general way, about three months' wear of the truss
will be found sufficient to effect a cure. The modus operandi appears
to be this : pressure keeps the bowels within the abdomen, thereby
giving the aperture an opportunity of closing, which in many cases
it will do most completely. But even should it not, you may depend
upon its not getting larger. The bowel, from the general develop-
ment going on in the system, hastened by the good keep, will soon
do so,"i. e., get larger,* and consequently will not dip into the same
opening, even shoutd it remain. Partial or complete adhesion of the
sides of the sac will take place, followed by an entire removal of the
unsightly pendulous bag, with its contents, which constituted the


Preliminary. — Lymphatitis is a disease known to occur among
horses of the lymphatic temperament, affecting the superficial lym-
phatics of the hind extremities ; causing swelling, heat and tender-


ness of the parts. The disease is known to occur among horses of
" coarse breed," and the more advanced in age such an animal may
be, the more subject is he to this affection ; provided, however, he
be of the lymphatic or lazy temperament.

Various names have been applied to this affection; for example,,
in Scotland it is known as loeed^ thick-leg, water-farcy, sbot-o'grease,
&c., &c., — names which throw not the least light on the nature of the

Cause of the Malady. — The indirect cause is predisposition,
which lurks in breed ; the ordinary exciting cause or causes are,
errors in diet, over- work and mismanagement when at work (which
signifies exposure to storms, &c., and ill usage,) hard pulls and poor

Case of Lymphatitis. — On visiting the patient, I was informed
that the disease commenced with a paroxysm — or fit — of shivering,
very suddenly. 1 found the animal standing on three legs ; the near
hind one — the seat of disease — was flexed and held about twelve
inches from the floor. The affected limb was hot, tender and swol-
len, and the glands, or lymphatics of the groin, were " corded," or
enlarged. On the inner surface of the thigh a number of corded
lymphatics, or minute elevations, under the true skin, could be dis-
tinctly felt, and on exploring and gently squeezing the same, the
patient would suddenly catch up the limb from sheer pain. The
pulse was very wiry, and so quick that it was impossible to count
the beats.

This case was treated by means of diuretics and tonics, adminis-
tered internally, and the swollen limb was bathed as often with an
infusion oi i^lantago major — common plantain. In the course of
six days the animal had entirely recovered.


Nature of Ringbone. — The term ringbone, signifies a bony en-
largement, in the region of the coronet. The ring is formed of
osseous incrustations or deposits on the pastern, and sometimes the
lateral cartilages are changed into bone ; at other times the disease
commences on the articulatory surfaces ; in such case the horse may
commence to go lame some time before any enlargement makes its
appearance ; the disease is then termed inter -articular y soon, how-
ever, the disease spreads, and the usual change in the form of the
parts is very perceptible, and the action of one or more joints be-
neath the cannon bone is forever destroyed. This condition is known
to medical men as anchylisos, (loss of motion,) while that form of
ringbone, occurring on the surface of the bones, is called exostosis,
(extra growth.) Various osseous enlargements or deposits are found
on the coronet and pastern bones, varying in shape, size, &c., and
some persons have denominated them " cling-fasts ;" and there is no
doubt but they do "cling fast."

As regards the spreading of the disease and its magiiitude, that
depends on the idlosyncracies of the animal ; it has been noticed thati


animals of the "rickety" or "raclietic" diathesis are more prone to
an aggravated form of the malady than others not so constituted ;
and in the former case the bones of the whole body are found to bo
deficient in aiiimal matter, and rich in eartlvj matter, and other bones
of the body are found to be incrusted with earthy deposits, so that,
in some cases, the affection may be of a constitutional character.

Cause op Ringbon:^. — Ringbone often owes its origin to heredi-
tary influences, transmitted, eitlier directly or indlreGtly ; it is not
often, however, that the malady appears as the direct result of sex-
ual intercourse between animals, one or both of which may be
afiected ; yet there are cases on record going to show, that the
disease has often been observed to occur in colts that have not even
been trained, nor submitted to the ordinary exciting causes which
are operative in inaugurating the disease in the predisposed subject.
During my professional career, in this country, many cases of Ring-
bone, occurring during colthood, have attracted my attention ; hence
I infer that the malady can be directly transmitted.

Mr. Percival relates that his attention to the hereditary origin oi
ringbone was first aroused from a remark made by an extensive
dealer in horses, in reply to a question put to him, how it happened
that but few ringbones were met with, compared to the number that
attracted notice in times past. The reply was : *' Because no breedei
of horses now-a-days, will send a mare to a horse having ringbone."
A very good example for American breeders to follow, for the mal-
ady is very prevalent in this country.

Horses predisposed to ringbone are bony-legged animals, with
short and upright pasterns. The direct cause of ringbone in such
animals is ligamentary sj^rains, induced by over-work,"&c.

Treatment op Ringbone. — The whole theory of the treatment
may be contained in a nutshell. Keep the animal at rest and apply
counter irritants of iodine or cantharides. Should, however, the
lameness be very considerable and the animal appear to suffer much
pain, then I should rub the affected parts with equal parts of spirits
of camphor and sulphuric aether. After the treatment has ceased,
the owner of the animal must exercise patience, for it will require
some time for nature to perfect the cure.


As soon as an abrasion is discovered on the back of a horse, the
animal should be excused from duty for a few days ; the abraded
parts should be dressed twice daily with a portion of tincture of
aloes and myrrh. This simple treatment will soon heal the parts.

Should there be no abrasion, but a simple swelling, attended with
heat, pain and tenderness, the parts should be frequentl}^ sponged
with cold water. Occasionally the sl^in undergoes the process of
hardening, (induration.) This is a condition of the parts known to
the farriers of old as " sitfast," and the treatment is as follows : pro-
cure one ounce of iodine ointment, and smear the indurated spot
with a portion of the same, twice daily.


■ Somo cases of galled back, and shoulders, are due to negligeiico
and abuse, yet many animals, owing to a peculiarity of constitution,
will *' chafe," as the saying is, in those parts which come in contact
with the collar and saddle, and neither human foresight nor mechan-
ical means can prevent the same.


Oct. 19th, 1862. This evening a bay gelding aged 7 years, the
property of Mr. Burgess, of North Chicago, was brought to Mr.
Patrick's stable under the following circumstances :

I was informed by the owner that the animal had in the early part
of the morning broken loose from his stall, and immediately com-
menced a desperate attack on a bag of oats, which happened to be
within reach ; the horse is known as a ravenous feeder, and the pro-
bability is, that he did not spare the oats, but took a pretty large
dose, so as to over-distend his stomach. The services of the animal
being required a few hours afterwards, he was hitched up ; he soon,
however, showed symptoms of distress, attempted to lay down, and
and finally got into a profuse perspiration. Shortly after this, my
attention was called to him.

I found the patient in great distress; his head pendulous; breath-
ing much embarrassed ; pulse very rapid ; body bedewed wdth a
chilly perspiration ; legs and ears cold; continual eructations of gas
by the mouth, from the stomach; and at the same time efforts to
vomit, which brought away nothing more than salival secretion,

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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 6 of 17)