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 9 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 9 of 17)
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remarks from the pen of Prof Papa :

"At the commencement of 1849, Count Faverage invited Prof.
Papa to the valley of Borne, in Savoy, to see a disease affecting ani-
mals, and which even spread to men. Every facility was offered by
Government to Prof. Papa, and many persons having affected ani-
mals were requested to permit their inspection, and indeed, threat-
ened with a fine if they did not. Papa saw about three hundred
horses and mules affected. The disease appeared in circular patches
of furfuraceous scales, with greyish-white scabs. These patches
had usually well-defined margins, about the size of a dollar, or five-
shilling piece. Usually they were isolated, but at other times they
were confluent or running together in groups. The head, neck,
withers, shoulders and loins were the parts chiefly affected ; more
rarely the upper portion of the extremities, and never on the lower
part of the limbs, chest, or belly. The malady commences with a
violent itching, and an eruption in small circumscribed points, about
the size of a lentil, is witnessed. The scabs form, with the exuda-
tion drying and entangling cuticle and hairs. In the vicinity of the
first, other eruptive spots appeared, which widening, became conflu-
ent, and ran into one another, especially where the skin is folded,
and animals have a chance of rubbing themselves. A scab forms on
the sore surface, and the surface beneath is red and tumefied, but in
a little while desquamation occurs. A very careful microscopical
examination failed to indicate the existence of any acari."

The disease is contagious, and Papa says, all those who come more
or less in contact with herpetic horses and mules, and especially the
conductors of the same, were covered on the arms, legs, chest and


face with pruriginous eruptions, limited and circumscribed, some-
times isolated, occasionally confluent, in the form of red patches
covered with papulae and vesicles, which become encrusted with
brownish-yellow scabs, beneath which purulent deposits formed. In
consequence of the violent pruritics attending this disease, it was
believed to be scabies or itch by the people, and though in many
houses individuals were affected, they were ashamed to confess it,
and it was with great difficulty that Papa collected information on
the subject; but having gained the confidence of the latter, the peo-
ple more freely related their cases to him. The first to be affected,
were those entrusted with dressing the diseased animals. The parts
first attacked were the articular regions, about the forearm, arm,
face, and rarely the lower limbs.

Papa describes one of many cases of direct contagion. It occurred
in a lad of sixteen, who had jumped on the bare back of an affected
horse to take it to a watering place. Two days afterwards, on the
inside of the thighs and legs, from the pubis to the calf of the leg,
there was extreme pruritis. The skin became of reddish-brown
color, and vesicles full of a yellowish lymph formed, which gave way
to vesicular patches or scabs, rough to the touch, first isolated, and
afterwards confluent.

The transmrssion occurred from horse to horse, horse to man, and
from man to man ; in fact, persons who never touched an affected
horse, were infected from individuals they came in contact with. A
soldier having arrived in perfect health from his regiment, slept with
his brother who suffered from the disease, and became affected. The
wives of carters not only took the disease, but communicated it to
their sucking infants.


Although few persons pay proper attention to this department of
stable management, yet a little reflection will prove of how much
importance it is, that the horse should be supplied with such water
as is most palatable to him. Horses have a great aversion to what
is termed hard water, and have been known to turn away from the
filthy stuff found in the troughs of some of our stables : the water
of wells and pumps in our seaport towns is usually hard, and pos-
sesses a degree of coldness not at all congenial with the palate oi
the animal. The intense coldness of well water, in the summer
months, has been known to gripe, and produce spasmodic colic,
injuring the animal in other ways.

Pure water will never hurt a horse, if given to him at proper
times and in small quantities ; the English grooms generally water
from a bucket three times, daily ; water given in this manner
scarcely, if ever, does harm ; but let a horse be driven hard, and
then allow him to go to the trough and imbibe water, ad libitum^
more than he actually needs, the same may prove injurious, and
result in some disease known as ''''founder^ The latter clause is in
accordance with the popular theories of the day, which are always
open to argument. Hence, we shall now examine into the merits oi
the case.


I don't believe one-half the multitude of stories that are told
about water ''''foundering horses /" in a great majority of cases the
blame rests with Mr. Fastman, who has either over-driven or over-
worked the poor brute, or else has suffered him, Avhen heated, to
cool off without the necessary care and attention which should
always be observed when animals are fatigued or perspirhig freely.

Hard usage, willful neglect, and wanton cruelty, are more likely to
produce disease than the "universal beverage" so acceptable to the
palate of a weary or thirsty horse. How often do we see a "^ei"
horse come into the stable all exhausted and used-up^ scarcely able
to advance one limb before another ! Examine into the facts, and
we shall find that the powers of the subject have perhaps been over-
taxed. He has been driven too far, or at too rapid a rate for the
present state of his constitution to endure ; and perhaps he has not had
sufficient nourishment to repair the waste incidental to the living
mechanism, under the states of rapid and protracted labor. Is not
this enough to account for the used-up condition ? Is it not more
,4s rational to suppose that abuse of the respiratory organs, and those

'*; of locomotion, operates far more unfavorably on the horse than wa-

ter ? It is. But Mr. Fastman must, if there be any blame rightly
belonging to him, try to shift the same from his shoulders, and there-
fore he avails himself of a popular error, " Se drank too imtch water.''''
Yet the individual has no means of ascertaining the precise quantity
needed. We might say the same as regards our dray horses, whose
labors are very fatiguing. They come from their work, and as soon
as unharnessed, go to the trough and imbibe from one to three buckets
without any bad effect. Some horses need more water than others ;
the kind of work, the temperature of the atmosphere, and the nature
of the food, whether it be wet or dry^ all tend to diversify an ani-
mal's want. The domesticated horse requires a bountiful supply of
good water; his body is composed of seventy-five per cent, of the
same, and he can no more exist without it than he can without food.

Consider for a moment the condition of the people of this city
during the sultry season. Thirst almost amounts to a disease ; to
allay the same, they are continually imbibing water, rendered cold,
hot, sour, sweet or alkaline, just as fancy dictates, or as fashion pre-
vails; cold ices and other fixings are called into requisition to
smother the fire of thirst that rages within ; everybody partakes
freely, the young and the aged, the exhausted and vigorous ; the
laborer, exhausted by a hard day's work, and the rich man, of no
work — each and all are doing their best to see the bottom of the
pitcher, and to pitch their bodies into the watery element ; yet, after
all, how few persons complain of any bad effects fr#m the same.

Inquire into the history of some of the acute maladies that are
supposed to arise from water-drinking, and it will be found that
many of the sufferers have a peculiarity of constitution, which ren-
ders them amenable to the laws of primogenial disease, which,
although latent, under ordinary circumstances, can, by disturbing
the life forces, through neglect, cruelty and over-work, be developed
at almost any time of life.

At this stage, my argument as regards what water *' will not do "
ends. I have at the commencement admitted that, under certain
circumstances, if a horse be permitted to imbibe too much, it may


iijjure him; but this is rather a faulty assuraption, because no one
can ever determine the precise quantity suitable to meet the wants
of all animals, and therefore the assumption falls to the ground.

Horses should, in warm weather, bo watered often, say two to
three quarts every three or four hours, provided the horse be at
work ; should he be in a cool stable enjoying a sort of lazy life, he
will require less, and three times a day will be often enough to sup-
ply his wants.

" Strange water^'*'' as it is termed, is not good for horses, yet when
given in small quantities at a time, seldom, if ever, does harm.

Stagnant and filthy water is always more or less injurious, and
should never be offered to so noble an animal as a horse.

On the road a horse may be watered often, provided he have but
a small quantity at a time; if he obtain more, it occupies space in
the abdominal cavity, and in rapid motion interferes with the physi-
ological action of important viscera.

Watering immediately after a full meal is a practice highly cen-
surable; for at such times water retards digestion, and the food,
instead of being digested, is apt to undergo a process of fermentation.


There is no doubt that many young colts suffer as much pain in
cutting their teeth as is the case with children ; and the pain does
not always arise, as some j^ersons suppose, from irritation of the
mucous membrane of the mouth, occasioned by the point of the
tooth, but frequently from pressure ouj and irritation of, the dental
nerve. The remedy (instead of tormenting the suffering creature
with a red hot iron for thepurpose of " burning out the lampas^'' as
some persons profess to do) is a common thumb lancet. Make an in-
cision through the gum^ or mucous membrane of the mouth, in the
region of the tusks or incisors, wherever the difficulty may be, and
relief is almost immediate. This is a sure remedy to relieve local
distension of the mucous membrane of the mouth, if it exist, and
at the same time prevents the fang of the tooth from irritating the
dental nerve.

Sharp and Projecting Teeth. — Owing to the unequal wear of
some horses' teeth, they become sharp on the outside margins, and
are then apt to irritate and perhaps lacerate the buccal membrane of
the cheeks. Should this be the case, we generally find that the sali-
vary secretion is augmented, mastication is imperfect, and the sub-
ject generally looses flesh, and appears unthrifty. The remedy is a
mouth rasp. By means of this instrument, the sharp or projecting
edges may be smoothed.

Inflamed and Tender Mouth. — Inflammation, tenderness, and
tumefaction of the horse's mouth, arising from whatever cause it may,
generally indicates the application of cooling and astringent lotions ;
and light diet of bran mashes, cooling lotion, composed of solution
of hydrochlorate of ammonia, or chlorate of potassa, are indicated
when the mouth is hot or inflamed. A tender mouth, accompanied
by corrugations and relaxation of the soft palate, known as " lam-


pas^"* requires a few applications of some astringent lotion, made of
alum, gum catechu, raspberry leaves, white oak bark, or diluted
tincture of muriate of iron.


Stables should be so constructed, by the insertion of windows in
various parts of the building, that they should be " light as day^
A ^'■dark " stable is only a suitable black hole — prison house for such
a vicious specimen of the equine race as the notorious " Cruiser.''''
It is also the very worst location for any kind of animal. Sir
A. Nylie (who was long at the head of the medical staff in the Rus-
sian army) states that the cases of disease on the dark side of an
extensive barrack, at St. Petersburg, have been uniformly, for many
years, ia the proj^ortion of three to one to those on the side exposed
to a strong and uniform light. Humboldt has also remarked that,
among bipeds, the residents of South America, w^ho wear very little
clothing (thus allowing the cutaneous, as well as the orbital sui-faces,
to receive a free ray of light), enjoyed immunity from various dis-
eases which prevailed extensively among the inhabitants of the
dark rooms and underground locations ; and so excellent an author-
ity as Linna3us contends that the constant exposure to solar light is
one of the causes which render a summer journey through high
northern latitudes so peculiarly healthful and invigorating. Dr. Ed-
wards has also remarked that persons who live in caves or cellars,
or in very dark or narrow streets, are apt to produce deformed chil-
dren ; and that men who work in mines are liable to disease and

Light, therefore, is a condition of vital activity ; and in view only
of preserving the sight of a horse, it is absolutely necessary that
while he be the habitant of the stable, his optics shall have free access
to the sun's rays.

If a horse was in the same condition as a polype, with no organ
of vision, which shuns light, a dark stable might prove to be his
earthly paradise ; but as the horse has special organs of vision, evi-
dently susceptible to the influence of light, and the integrity of his
organism, or part of the same, depending entirely on the admission
of light, it is absolutely necessary that stables should be constructed


This is one of the most terrible diseases to which the horse is sub-
ject. In fact, it is also terrible to man, for it is communicable from
horse to man, and many cases are on record going to show that
whole families have been destroyed by absorbing the glandered
virus. The disease has been styled " the phthisis^ or consumption
of the equine race," from the fact that the lungs of the glandered
subject are the seat of tubercles, and many other features of the
disease resemble those attending human consumption. Glanders is,
however, unlike consumption.


C^usE OF Glanders. — In former years, glanders was very prev-
alent among horses in the city of London. At that time very Uttlc
attention was paid either to ventilation or cleanliness. At the pres-
ent time, however, the disease is rare, from the fact that horses are
now better treated and cared for than then.

The predisposing causes of glanders probably lurk in breed, and
when such animals become the subjects of neglected or protracted
nasal discharges and nasal gleet, glanders is very apt to supervene.

The direct cause of glanders is innoculation. Animals become
innoculated, in consequence of the virus, or discharge from the nose,
coming in contact with an absorbing or liighly vascular surface ; by
infection, also, the malady is propagated ; for example, should a
glandered horse be placed in a filthy, unventilated stable, beside an
unaffected animal, the latter will soon become a victim to the

The indirect causes of glanders are impure air, exposure, harrass-
in^ marches, overwork, and food of bad quality. It must be remem-
bered, also, that the disease may have a spontaneous origin.

Whenever a large number of horses are congregated together
in a very limited space, glanders is apt to occur. Mr. Percival
contends —

1. That farcy and glanders, which constitute the same disease,
are propagated through the medium of stabling, and this we believe
to be the more usual way in which the disease is communicated
from horse to horse.

2. That infected stabling may harbor and retain the infection for
months, or even years ; and although by thoroughly cleansing, and
making use of disinfecting means, the contagion might be destroyed,
yet it would not be wise to occupy such stables immediately after
such supposed or alleged disinfection.

3. The virus or poison of glanders may lie for months in a state
of incubation in the horse's constitution, before the disease breaks
out. Of this we have had the most positive evidence.

4. That when a stable of horses becomes contaminated, the dis-
ease often makes fearful ravages among them before it quits ; and it
is only after a period of several months' exemption from all disease
of the kind, that a clean bill of health can be rendered.

Nature of Glanders.— It consists of a discharge from the left
nostril, of matter, which, by transfer or innoculation, will produce
the disease in another animal (of the equme or human species),
and which discharge is, sooner or later, accompanied by chancrous
ulcerations on the lung membianes of the nose, and by an enlarge-
ment of the lymphatus glands within the angles of the lower jaw.
In the latter stages of the disease, a discharge takes place from both

The (Jeep seated lymphatus are also affected, and finally tubercu-
lar deposits take place in the lungs.

The subject of glanders usually has an unhealthy appearance,
loses flesh, and finally becomes a " dog horse."

The disease sometimes assumes the acute form, and runs through
its course with fearful rapidity. The chronic glanders is more insidi-
ous in its character, and the affected animal may live a long time.


Treatment of Glanders. — I am satisfied that there is no spe
oific remedy for a pure case of glanders. Experiments on a very
extensive scale have been made in England and France, by some of
the most experienced veterinary surgeons, and they do not offer very
much encouragement for us to attempt the cure of glanders. The
fact is, there are very few cases of cure on record, and the same re-
marks apply to the cure of confirmed phthisis, or consumption.

Whoever undertakes to attempt the cure of this awful malady
must remember that he is running a great risk of losing his own
life, for the absorption of the least particle of the virus will cause
death in one of the most horrible of all forms.

My advice is, that when a horse shows unmistakable symptoms
of pure glanders, that he be destroyed.

In cases of suspected glanders, when the diagnostic symptoms
cannot be detected, it may be proper to place the animal under med-
ioal treatment ; for, in the absence of such symptoms, the case may
happen to be one of nasal gleet, for which I recommend the fol-

Phosphate of Lime 6 ounces.

Powdered Poplar Bark 8 "

*' Blood-root 2 "

" African Ginger 4 *

Mix. Dose, one ounce daily.

In allusion to the curability of pure glanders, it may be proper for
me to remark that many men contend that they have cured glanders.
This arises from the fact that they made a mistake, and confounded
glanders with another disease.

In view of furnishing the reader with collateral evidence as re-
gards the causes of glanders^ I introduce the following quotations :

" The causes of glanders may be considered under the general
heads of predisposing and exciting.

" Predisposition may lurk in hreed^ in constitution^ in age; or it
may be generated through the influence of so^7, climate^ aliment^ <Sbc.

"Breed, we have, I think, pretty satisfactory evidence, carries
with it predisi^osition to certain diseases. To use a vulgar, but ex-
pressive phraseology, " they run the blood." Periodic ophthalmia
is, perhaps the most striking instance of this.* Roaring, according
to many authorities, is another.f Whether glanders or farcy can be
ranked in the class of hereditary maladies, I am not prepared to
say. Leblanc hesitates not to assert that it can. I should certainly
give it as my opinion that inasmuch as tender or delicate con-
stitutions are inherited by horses, to the same extent they
become predisposed to certain diseases; to those, in particular,
affecting the respiratory organs, and with these, to glanders ; and
the same appears to be the notion of Dupuy, when he informs us
that the ' lank, ill-conditioned horse, the one that is soft in consti-
tution, and soon knocked up at his work,' is the subject the most
likely to breed or contract ' the tuberculous affection,' as he calls
glanders and farcy. Furthermore, a constitution originally strong
and resistant, may be reduced to a weak or ' ill-conditioned ' sus-

* See Part 1, Vol. Ill, of the Hypopathology, page 90, et sequent.
t See Vol. II of the Hypopathology, page 29.


ceptible state, by bad keep, over-work, exposure to cold and wet,
&c,, or through the faihire of any of its principal organs, especially
of the lungs. Constitutional predisposition may, therefore, prove to
be either natural or acquired.

"Age, we well know, has considerable influence in predisposing
horses to take diseases of the air passages — to take catarrh^ bron-
chitis^ strangles^ glanders. We have no reason, however, to suppose
that this influence is operative in the case of glanders in particular^
for the same reason that a young horse is more likely to catch a cold
than an old. For the same reason, should he go within the reach
of the exciting causes of glanders, he may be considered as especi-
ally predisposed to that disease. Out of forty cases of farcy and
glanders occurring in the Ordnance, under the superintendence of
my father, and, latterly, of myself, the ages of which happen to be
registered, one was three years old, one four years old, six in the
sixth year, six in their seventh year, six in eighth, five in their ninth,
eleven ten years old and upwards. Consequently, so far as this
brief account goes, the adult and middle ages appear to sufier most
from the disease.

" In respect to climate and soil, it would appear that glanders
is a rare disease in cold, and absolutely unknown in hot climates, in
Arabia and Africa, to which, I believe, we may add India ; my
cousin, Mr. Charles Percival, having informed me that, during his
eight years' residence in Bengal, while serving in the eleventh
light dragoons, quartered at Meerut and Cawnpoore, he had not a
single case either of farcy or glanders. M. Saunier, veterinary sur-
geon to the king of Portugal, assured Dupuy that no case of glan-
ders had occurred, to his knowledge, during the thirty years he had
been living at Lisbon. This was prior to the occupation of that
country by British troops. At the time of the Peninsular cam-
paign, every body in our army knew that both farcy and glanders
prevailed to a great extent, particularly among the mules that were
in our employ as bat animals. To what such dread changes were
owing — why a country, at one time said to be free from any such
disease, should, some years after, become, as it were, the very focus
of contamination — is a fact which, if I mistake not, may prove of
some importance to us in the investigation we are about to make in
the exciting causes of glanders.

"Wet and cold are at all times prejudicial to horses' constitutions,
and especially to those either very young or very old ; and though
the better their feed the less they are likely to suff*er under such ex-
posure, yet will these agents predispose and be very apt to lay the
foundation for pulmonary, mesenteric, and glandular disease, which,
in the end, will produce farcy and glanders.

*' Before we proceed to the consideration of the second class of
causes, viz., the exciting causes, it v/ill be well for us to inform our-
eelyes of the opinion of such veterinary writers, foreign as well as
British, as appear to have paid much attention to the subject, and
particularly to that all-important branch of it, contagion ; a branch
which, at one period of time, has had supporters on all sides, while
at another it has been left almost without any. These I shall arrange
in the order of the date of the respective works.

" Solleysell, 1669, pronounced glanders to be ' the most contagious



distemper to which horses are obnoxious; for not only,' says he,
' does it communicate its venom at a small distance, but it infects the
very air^ and seizes on all horses that are under the same roof with
him that languishes from it' ' There are, (however) seveixil kinds
of glanders, sortie of which are not so extremely infectious as others,
though there are none that ought not to be suspected.'

"The 'causes of glanders' Mr. Smith enumerates to be: 1, Gen-
eral debility ; 2, A previous disease ; 3, Breathing an impure air ; 4,

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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 9 of 17)