Henry Stewart.

The shepherd's manual. A practical treatise on the sheep online

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green food, as clover, rape, or turnips. It is sometimes perceived
when they are exposed to the hot sun in early spring without
shelter. It is not dangerous of itself, but as the disease very
quickly interferes with the process of nutrition, the blood is soon
affected, and the more serious blood disorder, dysentery, super-
venes. Diarrhea may generally be prevented by careful regula-
tion of the food, and avoiding sudden changes, and the regular
supply of salt. It is quickly subject to proper treatment, which
consists of the administration of astringents and cordial prepara-
tions. The following mixture should always be kept on hand by
the shepherd, ready for instant use :

Prepared Chalk 1 ounce.

" Catechu 4 drams.

" Ginger 2

" Opium Va 4

to be mixed with half a pint of peppermint water and bottled for
use. Two large tablespoonf uls of this is given night and morning
to a sheep, and half as much to a lamb, always previously shaking
the mixture well. Cotton-seed-cake-meal is both an excellent pre-
ventive and remedy for this complaint, and a supply should be
kept for use. Half a pound a day should be given to a sheep.

If any mucus or glutinous substance appears in the dung it is
a proof of the existence of irritating matter in the intestines, and
a laxative should be given previously to the above. This may be

Linseed-oil 2 ounces.

Powdered Ginger 1 dram.


Epsom Salts 1 ounce.

Ginger i/ a dram.

Gentian i/ 2 dram.

to be given in infusion of linseed-meal.

Hoven, or distension of the rumen, is not uncommon in sheep.
It consists in the formation of gas in the first stomach, or rumen,
by which it is so much distended as to press injuriously upon the
diaphragm or membrane which encloses the chest. This prevent-
ing the contraction of the diaphragm interferes with the respira-
tion. It appears as an enlargement of the left side of the abdomen,
by which the skin is tightly drawn until in apparent danger of


bursting. It is caused by the rapid fermentation in the stomach
of very succulent green food, which has been greedily swallowed
while wet with dew or rain. The stomach may at the time be
disordered, and its digestive powers impaired ; or the distension
may be produced by other diseases of which it is an attendant or
a symptom. In such a case it indicates a decrease or chemical
change of the alkaline secretions of the rumen. The treatment
should be immediate, lest suffocation ensue. An alkaline fluid
poured into the rumen, frequently alleviates the symptoms and
removes the trouble. This may be

Ammonia Water (Aqua Ammonice) 1 teaspoonful

Water Va pint.

to be administered through a horn. A hollow, flexible probang,
which should be kept for this purpose may be inserted through
the gullet into the rumen, by which a means of escape for the
gas may be made. The alkaline liquid mentioned may be
poured into the stomach through the tube of the probang, or
an opening may be made through the flank into the rumen with
the trochar and canula, (fig. 74), or by a small bladed knife. This
opening should be cautiously made at the spot where the greatest
swelling is found. In the latter case a quill should be inserted
into the hole to allow the gas to escape. If the passage be stopped
by solid matter, a wire may be put through the quill to restore the
opening. The ammoniacal liquid previously mentioned, or a solu-
tion of a teaspoonful carbonate of soda in quarter of a pint of
water may be injected through the quill with a common syringe.
Afterwards the following may be given with the horn :

Epsom Salts 2 ounces.

Ginger 1 dram.

Water 1 pint.

If the production of gas still continues, a dram of chloride of lime
dissolved in water will tend to remove the gases generated by the
now decomposing food.

Where none of these appliances are at hand, the following sub-
stitutes may be used, viz : Flour, lard, and salt, to form a bolus
mixed with one dram of carbonate of ammonia, at the early stage,
or one dram of chloride of lime at the later stage. Small boluses
of this mixture to be placed on the root of the tongue or into the
gullet, so that they may be swallowed. Sulphuric ether is some-
times given in doses of two drams each in cold water, it is a valu-
able stimulant and antispasmodic when the animal becomes rigid
or convulsed.



The after treatment should be tonic, and the food should be

light and not bulky. Bran
or oat-meal, scalded and
well salted, and given
with 1 dram of ginger
would be useful. The
return to copious green
food should be gradual,
until the stomach has re-
gained its tone.

Poisoning. At certain
seasons sheep are tempted
to devour injurious herbs
or plants. St. John's-
wort, when frequent in
pastures, produces sore
mouth and irritation of
the intestines, which
quickly disappear when
the sheep are removed to a
more wholesome pasture.
The Sheep-Laurel, Lamb-
kill, or narrow-leaved Kal-
mia, (Kalmia angustifoUa)^
(see fig. 75), is eaten by
sheep which have access
to it at certain seasons,
chiefly during the winter
and spring, and is often
fatal to them. The symp-
toms of poisoning are dis-
inclination to move, froth-
ing at the mouth and nose,
lessened pulse, stagger-
ing gait, and blood-shot
eyes. Immediate attention
should be given, as death
generally occurs within
twelve hours. To dilute
the mass of poisonous
food, and to expel it
from the system as soon
This may be done by


as possible, is the proper treatment.


giving two ounces of Epsom salts in a pint of warm water, and re-
peating the dose of water without the salts in an hour. Injections
of warm soap suds will help to remove the injurious matter from
the bowels. To prevent the danger of poisoning by carefully re-
moving all injurious plants from the pastures or fences around
them would be the obvious duty of the careful shepherd. The
large leaved Laurel, (Kalmia latifolid), is also eaten occasionally by
sheep. In England, the yew tree, which is common in hedges,
causes the loss of hundreds of sheep every year. Sheep should
not be allowed to feed on pastures which have been dressed with
gypsum, lime, soot, or any chemical fertilizer until after one or
two copious showers have washed the herbage clean.

Inflammation of the Bowels. This disease, (the braxy of the
English shepherds), is not frequently met with in this country,
except as an adjunct to some complicated inflammatory blood dis-
ease. It, however, sometimes occurs as the result of continued in-
digestion, or the consequence of feeding upon dry, innutritions
pasture, combined with bad water in hot weather. The first
symptoms are weeping and redness of the eyes, weakness and
staggering, loss of appetite and rumination, inaction of the bowels,
swelling of the flanks, high fever, and diflScult breathing, a puck-
ered up appearance of the mouth and nostrils, which gives a pecu-
liar wo-begone and pained expression to the face ; a tight skin
and rapid emaciation. After death, the stomach is found filled
with putrid food, and distended with gas; the bowels are gangre-
nous and in a state of decomposition ; the liver is partly decom-
posed and filled with degenerated bile ; the spleen is gorged with
blood, softened, enlarged, and not unfrequently ruptured, ulcer-
ated, and exhibiting a seriously diseased condition. The latter ap-
pearance seems to identify this complicated and fatal disease with
the splenic apoplexy or Texan or Spanish fever of cattle. Death
is often very sudden, many sheeep left in apparent health at night,
being found dead in the morning ; at the most, two or three days
is the usual course of this disease.

To prevent it, when circumstances favor its appearance, an abund-
ant supply of pure water and a change of pasture should be provid-
ed. Low grounds should be avoided, and everything done that can
ameliorate the circumstances of privation in which the flock may
be temporarily placed. It is not epizootic, and the removal of the
causes will prevent the spread of the disease. A supply of salt,
mixed with one per cent each of sulphate of iron, ginger, and gen-
tian, to be given every evening to the sheep on their return from
pasture, will be a useful preventive. The treatment should con-


sist of bleeding from the jugular vein, at the first appearance of the
disease. Bleeding from the vein on the abdomen has also been
practiced with success. Mild aperients an ounce of Linseed or
Castor Oil or Epsom salts are useful, and should be followed by
twice daily doses of one dram of Sulphite, (not sulphate), of Soda.
The food should be liquid and demulcent, such as oat-meal gruel,
infusions of linseed or solutions of gum arabic. Except the ani-
mal is a very valuable one, it will be hardly worth while to at-
tempt a cure in a case of serious character, as the recovery is slow,
and the f ollowing debility is of itself often fatal, after a costly and
protracted course of treatment.

Concretions of Foreign Bodies in the Stomach. Sheep are some-
times observed to purposely swallow earth in small quantities. In
pasturing green fodder crops or roots, much earth, and sometimes
small stones, are swallowed. In eating hay, or other dry fodder,
foreign matters, such as nails, pieces of wire, or glass, will some-
times find their way into the stomachs. All these matters cause
much irritation, and sometimes death. The trouble is shown by
a suspension of the appetite, the sheep lag behind the rest, stand
for long periods without moving, grind their teeth, poking out the
nose, and depressing the ears. When the flank is pressed a grunt
of pain is heard, and there is violent purging. When these symp-
toms are observed, and the sheep are known to have been in
danger of swallowing any of these substances, this cause may be

The only treatment that can be of use is to give daily doses of
one ounce of Epsom Salts, and feed scalded bran or corn-meal in
the shape of thick mush in order to remove the foreign matter
with the food if possible. If this will not be taken, oat-meal or
corn-meal gruel should be given copiously with the horn.

Balls of wool and earthy matter are sometimes found after death
in the stomachs. These are gathered by the sheep nibbling them-
selves when irritated by lice, ticks, or scab. Generally they exist
without suspicion of their presence until death occurs, and in
many cases without known ill effect on the animal. It would be
safe to avoid possible danger in this direction by keeping the flock,
especially the lambs, free from parasitical and irritating insects.

Congestion of the Liver. When sheep are highly fed upon stim-
ulating food, and have but little or no exercise, the liver is apt to
become gorged with blood. This fullness of blood is termed con-
gestion. It is occasioned by disordered digestion, and when it
exists to a serious extent, occasions further complications of this


important organ. It produces constipation, dullness, and a yellow-
ish tinge of the eyes. As soon as this latter sign appears, there
should be no delay, lest inflammation supervene.

The treatment consists in giving an active purge, to be repeated
every morning, until the bowels are in their usual healthy condi-
tion, the yellowness of the eyes has disappeared, and the appetite
has returned. The purge may be the following, given in molasses
placed upon the tongue :

Epsom Salts 1 ounce.

Calomel 3 grains.

The patient should be supplied with slightly warm drink soon
after swallowing the medicine.

Inflammation of flie Liver. By neglect, the disease, last men-
tioned, may result in inflammation of the liver. When this hap-
pens the system becomes fevered ; the nose and mouth hot and
dry ; the breath fetid ; the ears cold ; the eyes pale and glassy ;
the pulse is irregular ; breathing is slow, and the expirations short
and sudden ; the dung is dry, hard, black, and glazed with a greasy
yellowish-green mucus ; the urine is highly colored, scanty, hot,
and smells disagreeably. Pressure on the right side, near the
short ribs, produces pain, and the animal moans.

The treatment consists of purgatives and injections. For a pur-
gative, the following may be given twice a day in infusion of lin-
seed or gum arable or in molasses, well mixed together and placed
on the tongue :

Sulphate of Potash 2 drams.

Calomel 5 grains.

Powdered Opium 1 grain.

Injections of warm water and castile soap may be given until the
bowels act freely.

When improvement occurs, and the appetite returns, great care
in feeding should be observed, and only the most easily digested
food should be given. Pulped sugar beet, scalded clover-hay
chaff, linseed-meal, boiled malt, or sifted corn-meal, may be given
with linseed tea for drink, or water acidulated with a few drops
of aromatic sulphuric acid.


The blood being the very foundation of the life of the animal,
must exist hi a state of purity, or the vital functions are at once
disordered. Anything, therefore, that vitiates the blood or unfits
it for the proper performance of those functions which have been


already explained, produces what is known as blood diseases, or
diseases originating in and communicated to various organs by
the blood. These may be classified as follows :

1. Diseases arising from an impaired, increased, or arrested
function, or process, viz : rheumatism, plethora, anasinia, scrofula,

2. Diseases called enzoblic because arising from animal poisons,
originating either within the subject, or communicated by the same
poisons originating in other animals, viz : influenza, dysentery,
red-water, heaving or after pains, navel-ill in lambs, black-leg or
quarter-ill or anthrax fever.

3. Diseases arising from animal poisons of unknown origin, and
which are highly contagious, and freely communicated from one
subject to another, hence called epizootic diseases, viz : Epizootic
aphtha, small pox.

Fortunately these diseases so fatal in their operation, and so un-
controllable in their course, are easily prevented by proper precau-
tion and ordinary hygienic or sanitary measures. Also in the salt,
sulphite of soda, we have a valuable remedy against those ferments
which are the active agents in the majority of blood diseases.

Rheumatism. This disease is attended with considerable fever,
constitutional disturbance, and the presence of acid matters in the
blood. It affects the serous membrane, as the coverings of the
joints, the substance of the tendons and ligaments, the enveloping
membranes of the heart, lungs, spinal marrow, bones, muscles, and
the brain. As it has a disposition to change its locality almost in-
stantaneously, and to pass from one joint to another, or one part
to another, (a process known as metastatis), and affects all these
important parts of the body, the seriousness of the disease is evi-
dent. It consists in a peculiar inflammation of the parts affected
which causes acute pain when they are called into action. When
it passes from the acute to the chronic state, it causes serious
changes in the structure of the joints affected. Its symptoms are
general uneasiness and stiffness, a diminished or capricious appe-
tite, and sometimes, suspended rumination. The dung is hard and
scanty, and the urine is high colored and deficient in quantity.
One of the joints is found hot and swollen; in an hour or two
this is relieved, and another is found affected. It generally attacks
in spring those animals which have been half starved or exposed
to cold or damp during the winter. Rams, which have been over-
worked the previous season, are often affected. Young ewes are
rarely troubled with it. If not remedied by proper treatment, the


animal suffers from continued fever, general prostration, severe
pain and emaciation, and eventually dies miserably. The treat-
ment consists of a moderate purgative at first, suck as :

Epsom Salts 2 ounces.

Spirit of Nitrous Ether 4 drams.

Ginger 1 dram.

to be followed by

Sulphate of Potash 2 drams.

Sulphuric Acid 530 drops.

Water V* pint.

to be given dissolved in water night and morning. Protection
from cold and damp, and soft, laxative food are required. Lin-
seed-meal, either solid or made into gruel, ic a useful addition to
the food. As this disease is apt to become chronic, the patient
should be fitted for the butcher as soon as possible. A rheumatic
ram will beget rheumatic lambs.

Plethora consists in a too rapid production of blood, by which
the system is engorged, and important organs become congested.
It is caused by over-feeding with rich albuminous food, and is
counteracted by a simple purgative, or bleeding from a vein on the
face or the jugular. Its effects appear in a flushed condition of
the visible membranes, labored breathing, staggering and sleepi-
ness. It never occurs except in animals in high condition, such as
those prepared for exhibition, and which hi case of over fatigue,
or excessively hot and damp weather, suffer greatly, and sometimes
fatally, from engorgement of the vessels of the lungs or train, or

Anamia or Pining. This term, "the bloodless condition," in-
dicates the nature of the disease. There is a condition to which
sheep may be brought by the effects of dysentery, or by parasites
in the lungs or intestines, which much resembles this disease. But
there is an abnormal state of the blood caused by imperfect nutri-
tion, which is in itself a disease, and not a symptom. When from
continued wet weather the pasture becomes rank and watery, the
flock appears at first in an excellent and thrifty state, but in a
few days the animals are found lying listless, with drooping heads
and ears, watery eyes, and the expression of the face miserable
and painful. A few days afterwards the skin is tightly drawn, the
wool becomes of a peculiar bluish cast, the skin beneath of a
pearly white color, the eyes are also of a pearly bloodless appear-
ance, and death is busy in the flock. On dry, rich clover pastures
the same effects are sometimes experienced. The disease never
appears on steep, rocky hill sides, where the pasturage is short and


sweet, nor on those pastures which are scant, but yet nutritious,
and intermixed with coarse herbage ; nor on lands that are abun-
dantly supplied with lime. It is impossible to know beforehand
whether the pasture will produce this effect or not, as it seems
most probable that the geological character of the soil has most to
do with it But when once a farm, a pasture, or a field, is found
to induce this ailment, sheep keeping may be abandoned upon
it, unless the flock can be immediately changed to some other part
of it where it will thrive. A change from a pasture field to a corn
field, where the picking amongst the hills furnished but scanty
feed, has been found to produce an immediate change for the bet-
ter. No treatment, other than a change of locality, can be indi-
cated, and if the farm does not supply this, the flock must be dis-
posed of or removed. The disease unfortunately is not well un-
derstood, for it is sometimes found very destructive to lambs and
yearlings, which are chiefly affected by it It is frequently
confounded with a parasitical disease hereinafter referred to, but
a post-mortem cximination of a subject will easily identify it as
being different from it as shown by the absence of parasites in the
stomach, lungs, or air-passages. An adequate supply of supple-
mentary food would of course act as a remedy, but the cost of
this would defeat its object and render the flock unprofitable.

Scrofula Tuberculosis. This disease is almost surely fatal in
course of time, although at first the sheep subject to it may be
brought, by proper treatment, into condition for the butcher. It
is a question, however, if the flesh of scrofulous animals can be
safely consumed as food, but yet many such go yearly to the
butchers to be thus disposed of. It would certainly seem that the
use of such animals as food should be carefully avoided, and the
sale of then- flesh prevented as injurious to the public health, for
no taint is more readily conveyed to the system than scrofula. It
is supposed to consist of a diseased condition of the blood, by
which the lymph, or white, serous, uncolored portion of it is unfit-
ted to nourish properly the tissues of the body and to be built up
into organized matter. Lest the accumulation of this imperfect
blood should embarras the system, it is deposited in various parts
where it is productive of least inconvenience, and the nutrition of
the body goes on, as well as it may, with the remainder of the
blood thus separated from the useless and injurious portion. But
it is frequently the case that there is not sufficient left to supply
the waste of the tissues, and a gradual falling off in condition oc-
curs. The symptoms of " consumption," a very significant term,
as the chief organs are slowly consumed, then appear. The pulsa-


tions of the heart are loud, so as to be heard on applying the ear
to the ribs; the poise is feeble, the appetite irregular, and a slight
cough exists, caused by the efforts to throw off the accumulating
and offending matter from the rungs. In time, the giands of the
body become loaded with the deposited matter; those of the throat
and neck, the parotid and snbmaxfllary, being most commonly
and extensively affected, and greatly swollen. The symptoms
gradually increase in intensity, and there is much fever and ema-
ciation, with discharge from the nose and eyes. The skin is tight
and pate, and the body appears almost free from blood, as in
anaemia. At this period there is no help for the animal, for death
is only a question of time.

The treatment in the earlier stages is to administer some of the
preparations of iodine, such as the following :

Iodide of Potassium 5 grains.

Iodide of Iron 10 grains.

to be finely powdered and mixed with molasses, and placed on the
root of the tongue, so that it is swallowed. The above dose to be
given daily. The latter preparation is to be preferred. The
swellings may be robbed daily with iodine ointment Koscroro-
loos animal should be osed for breeding, as the disease Is heredi-
tary. High-bred sheep are the most sobject to this disease, and
** in-and-in breeding" tends greatly to produce iL

In some localities an enlargement of the glands of the neck,
similar to the disease known as yoitre in mankind, is frequent
amongst sheep. This is supposed, doubtless with reason, to be
caused by the water drank, as in such cases the removal of the
flock to distant pastures has led to the disappearance of the dis-
ease. The occurrence of the symptoms above described, however,
will be sufficient to indicate the true character of scrofula as dis-
tinguished from any accidental swelling of the glands.

Droptg consists in the effusion of a watery or serous fluid in the
abdomen. It is accompanied with inflammation of the lining
membrane of the abdomen, the peritoneum, from which the fluid
is secreted. It is caused by feeding upon rank, succulent, watery
herbage, by which the blood is insufficiently nourished. A
change to dry food, or scanty but more nutritious pasture, allevi-
ates the disease at once. A cure is generally effected by the use
of diuretics, aperients, and tonics. The treatment will be the ad-
ministering of the following, or such others as may produce the
desired effect:


Nitrate of Potash 1 dram.

Sulphate of Soda 1 ounce.

Ginger 1 dram.

If the animal is in low condition, the sulphate of soda may be re-
placed by the following, viz. :

Linseed-oil 2 ounces.


Influenza. This disease being due to causes which occur over
an extended locality, is liable to affect a large number of animals
at the same time. It is erroneously supposed to be infectious. It
consists of inflammation of the nasal and bronchial passages, con-
siderable fever, and great prostration, with general disturbance of
the system. There is redness and weeping of the eyes, running at
the nose, cough, great weakness, loss of appetite, indigestion, with
impaction and sometimes hoven, or distension of the rumen. It
is prevalent after continued cold and damp weather, and is most
severe where the ground is low and undrained, or in river bottoms
or valleys, where morning and evening mists abound. When
Ihese conditions occur, the flock should be kept on high, dry

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Online LibraryHenry StewartThe shepherd's manual. A practical treatise on the sheep → online text (page 18 of 23)