Henry Stewart.

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

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ground, or in dry, sheltered yards, and carefully protected. Their
food should be somewhat improved, linseed-oil-cake or corn-meal,
buckwheat, oats, or rye, being added. A dose of the mixed salt
and sulphur, (1 quart of salt with 4 oz. of sulphur), should be given,
and any ailing sheep should be well nursed and treated to warm
gruel. These precautions will generally prevent a serious attack.

The treatment, when the disease becomes severe, is to give a
light dose of some saline purgative, such as

Epsom Salts /a ounce.

Ginger 1 dram.

in a quarter of a pint of water, or mixed with molasses or honey.
For a large flock the medicine may be mixed in bulk in proper
proportions, and a quarter of a pint given to each sheep by means
of a horn. Those more seriously affected should receive the fol-
lowing, viz :

Tincture of Aconite 10 drops.

Solution of Acetate of Ammonia 1 ounce.

To be given every four to six hours, decreasing the aconite at each
dose until five drops only are given, when it may be suspended,
and only repeated in an emergency
L If the eyes are much inflamed, they should be washed with a


solution of one grain of sulphate of zinc, and 20 drops of lauda-
num, in one ounce of water. After recovery, the feed should be
laxative and nutritious ; bran mashes, and boiled oats, or corn-
meal mush, with a little powdered ginger or gentian, and a pinch
of powdered blue vitriol, (sulphate of copper), in each mess, would
be useful. If not readily taken hi the food, this tonic may be
given for a few days in honey or molasses. Shelter is absolutely
necessary during treatment and recovery.

Dysentery may be distinguished from diarrhea by its more se-
vere symptoms, there being much fever ; the dung is mixed with
blood and mucus, has a fetid smell, is discharged frequently, and
is generally in hard lumps and scanty ; it is also voided with pain,
and the sheep arches its back and moans in its passages. The
wool feels harsh, and after a short time may be pulled off in hand-
f uls. Sudden changes of pasture, from poor to rich, or from rich
to poor ; dry, indigestible food ; scanty or impure water ; severely
hot and damp weather such as produces rust in grain, and negle'ct-
ed diarrhea, are the chief causes. Where large flocks are kept on
extensive ranges, the best course is to remove to some other pas-
ture, where the water is good, the ground high and dry, and other
favorable conditions abound. The treatment proper for this dis-
ease is to give a laxative in the first instance, as follows :

Linseed-oil.. 2 ounces.

Powdered Opium 2 grains.

to be given in linseed tea or oat-meal gruel. The linseed or oat-
meal should be continued several times during the next twenty-
four hours, both as nutriment and for its soothing qualities. The
next day, and for several days, the opium should be repeated with
one dram of ginger. An occasional dose of linseed-oil may be
given if thought necessary. It can do no harm, in any event, if
given every other day. The effect of a hot sun, in an unshaded
pasture, is very aggravating to this disease. Sheep suffering from
it should be kept, if possible, in a cool shed, and separated from
the rest of the flock. A pasture that has been occupied by such
sheep will certainly infect others that may feed upon it during
warm weather, the dung conveying the poison to the herbage.

Red- Water. When sheep are suffered to pasture upon succulent
green crops, such as rape, mustard, or turnips, late in the fall or
in the early winter, and the fodder is covered with hoar frost or
sleet, or when they are forced to scrape their food from beneath
the snow, swallowing a large portion of snow with their food, or
when the stock water is drawn from filthy ponds or sloughs, they


are subject to a peculiar disorder which often affects the majority
of the flock quite suddenly, and is known as red-water. In this
country this disease is rare, being known chiefly in the south-west
and west, along with the last mentioned disease and some other
disorders originating from exposure and unwholesome food or
water, under the general name of murrain. The symptoms of
this disease agree with those of a so-called " unknown and new
disease" affecting sheep in the west, which has been described
recently by correspondents of the Agricultural Department at
Washington. The sheep affected appear dull and stupid, and
stagger, carrying the head upon one side, the eyes are staring, and
sometimes blind, and the bowels are obstinately costive. They
die in a few hours. When opened the belly of the sheep is found
filled with a red fluid wrongly supposed to be blood. There is
also general congestion of the principal organs.

As a preventive, the use of salt is recommended, and a table-
spoonful of pine tar given to each sheep every ten days has been
found useful. A pound of Epsom salts dissolved in water with
two oz. of ground ginger, may be given to every ten sheep. The
simple removal of the causes and a brisk .purgative or diuretic
would doubtless lead to a recovery if given in time. When
inflammation occurs from neglect, the bowels become affected, and
death is rapid. The peculiar nature of the sheep makes treatment
at this stage almost hopeless, but if it is attempted, that prescribed
for inflammation of the bowels would be proper.

After-Pains in Ewes, or parturient apoplexy, arises in conse-
quence of a feverish condition at the time of lambing. It oc-
curs about the second or third day, and its presence is shown by
panting, straining, heaving of the flanks, a staring look, scanty
and high colored and strong smelling urine, costiveness, and swell-
ing and redness of the external hinder parts, which finally be-
come purple and black. After death the whole system is con-
gested, and the veins filled with black blood ; the uterus or womb,
is charged with pus, the absorption of which poisoning the blood,
is the cause of death. This disease is easily prevented by reduc-
ing the condition of the ewes when it can safely be done. The
safe time is some weeks before lambing, when a gentle purgative
should be given and the food gradually reduced. A bran mash
with 15 grains of saltpeter may be given daily for a few days. A
very gradual course of depletion only should be adopted. If,
after lambing, trouble is anticipated, the appearance of the ewe
should be closely watched. If the pains occur, the following
sedative should be given at once :


Camphor Va dram.

Laudanum 60 drops.

These are mixed with molasses and placed on the tongue ; the
dose may be increased one-fourth for large ewes when the pains
are excessive. One ounce of solution of acetate of ammonia may
be given four hours afterwards, and repeated twice at equal inter-
vals. If a fetid discharge takes place from the vagina, a solution
of one dram of chloride of lime to a pint of warm water may be
injected. The food of the ewe should consist principally of infu-
sions of linseed or oat-meal gruel. Bleeding is injurious, as are
also violent purgatives.

Black Leg, Quarter IU, or Anthrax fever, is known as the
"black spaniel" of the English shepherds, the cliarbon of the
French, and as one of the "murrains" of our western states,
where it is most frequent in this country. It affects young and
thrifty sheep, and is rarely found amongst old or poor stock. It
appears in the spring or early summer, and also in the fall months ;
and mostly in wet seasons, when the pasture, under the fervid heat
of the sun and unusual moisture, grows luxuriantly. Then the
sheep, with vigorous appetite, gorge themselves to repletion, the
digestive organs are overtaxed, the blood is disorganized, and be-
fore any trouble is suspected, the sheep drop and suddenly die.
When the carcasses arc examined, and the wool which leaves the
skin at the least touch, is removed, the body is found to be swollen
and blackened in large patches, chiefly on the forequarter, the
flank, or the hindquarter. Air is gathered beneath the skin, and
on opening the body, it is found decomposed and filled with black
blood. If the flock is then observed, some will be found lame
and limping, and on examination the sides or quarters will be
found swollen, and when the hand is passed over these spots, the
wool readily comes off, and a crackling sound is heard from the
motion of the air or gas collected beneath the skin. The mouth
and tongue are found to be inflamed and blistered, and the eyes
red. The urine is dark, the bowels constipated, and the dung
when discharged is bloody. By and by the animals are unable to
stand, and fall upon the side, stretch out the limbs, and protrude
the tongue ; the belly is swollen, and in a few hours the sheep is
dead. The disease is much worse in rich bottom lands, or moist,
black soils, and rarely appears on hilly ground, or gravelly,
dryjjoils. To prevent this disorder, it is only necessary to pre-
vent the causes, to ensure regular feeding, and avoid sudden
changes from poor to rich food or the reverse. The treatment


should be an immediate purgative. The following may be given
in oat-meal gruel or any other thick mucilaginous liquid :

Sulphate of Soda 2 ounces.

Mowers of Sulphur \ ounce

Powdered Myrrh .'.1 scruple.

A teaspoonful of spirits of nitrous ether in a pint of water may be
given in six hours afterwards. If taken at the commencement of
the symptoms, this treatment will probably be effective, but if
later, the uncertain remedial action of nature alone can be de-
pended on.


Aphtha, or "foot and mouth disease," which has grievously
affected the herds and flocks of Europe, is not unknown in Ameri-
ca. Fortunately our drier climate, or some other preservative in-
fluence, has very greatly circumscribed the course of this disease.
It has appeared in various parts of the country, but only sporadi-
cally, or in scattered cases, and never yet has it swept over an
entire district. Nevertheless, no one can be sure that it never will
so appear, and as an isolated case requires the same treatment as
any other, it is well that the disease should be described here. It
is a true blood disease, belonging to a class of eruptive fevers aris-
ing from a poisoning of the blood, and is highly contagious under
favoring circumstances. It affects alike cattle, sheep, pigs, hares,
and rabbits. It appears as an eruption of watery blisters upon the
lips and tongue, and between and around the hoofs. The first
symptoms are a fit of shivering, succeeded by fever, cough, and an
increased pulse. This is succeeded by a failing of the appetite,
tenderness over the loins, flow of saliva from the mouth, and
grinding of the jaws. Blisters, small and large, appear on the
mouth and tongue, which break and become raw, causing great
pain. The feet are swollen and also covered with blisters, which
break and become sore, causing the animal to walk with difficulty
and shake its feet or kick or lie down persistently. In from ten
to fifteen days the disease runs its course, in favorable circum-
stances, and the animal recovers gradually, and is never affected
afterwards. Otherwise the symptoms increase in severity, the
sheep lose condition rapidly, from inability to eat or move about ;
the hoofs are sloughed off, and sometimes even the bones of the
feet are cast off, leaving only a stump. In-lamb ewes when
affected, abort. It is considered, where this disease is virulent,
that the cheapest and most effective plan is to stamp it out by the


slaughter and burial of every infected animal, and the removal of
those that are well. In the simple form, a single brisk purgative,
such as two ounces of Epsom salts, with a small quantity of gin-
ger, generally results in a cure ; to repeat the dose is dangerous.
The mouth should be washed in the following solution twice a day :

Alum in powder 1 ounce.

Tincture of Myrrh 1 fluid ounce.

Water 1 quart.

The feet, if affected, should be washed with soap and water, or
with a weak solution of sulphate of copper, then dressed with car-
bolic ointment ; and afterwards bound up in a cloth so as to keep
sand or dirt from irritating the sensitive surfaces. Sulphur should
be burned in the sheds as a disinfectant and purifier, and the drink-
ing water should be acidulated with one dram of aromatic sul-
phuric acid to a gallon of water. All sick animals should be

Sheep Pax, or variola, is a formidable and fatal disease, which is
very frequent in the central and eastern parts of Europe, and has
recently been introduced into England by means of importations
of infected sheep. Although unknown in its severe type in this
country, yet we have no security against its introduction at any
day. It is recorded in a German publication that on one occasion
every sheep in a whole district was swept off by this disorder, the
sheep dying without any apparent reason, as though they had
been poisoned. The only known preventive is artificial inocula-
tion by means of lymph taken from one of the mildest cases.
These communicated cases are exceedingly mild. The practice of
housing sheep is very productive of this disease, and it is when
sheep are kept in small flocks and well supplied with fresh air and
general good care that the disease makes no headway. Whenever
our flocks shall be overcrowded, and poorly cared for, this disease
may be apprehended. Sheep-pox is not identical with the human
small-pox, but is yet of the same type, produced by the same
causes, has very similar characteristics, and is equally contagious.
It cannot, like that of the cow, be communicated to mankind, nor
to other animals than sheep, even by inoculation, and belongs ex-
clusively to them. It is a true blood poison, caused originally by
the absorption of impure matter into the blood, probably through
the lungs, and the course of the disease is an effort of nature to
throw off the poison by the eruptions which appear on the skin.
There is a period of incubation of the disease, which lasts nine
to eleven days after infection, and during which no symptoms
whatever appear. After this the sheep sicken, refuse food, and


suffer from quickened breathing, a hot, dry skin, an unquenchable
thirst, redness of the eyes, and a discharge from the nostrils.
At this period the eruption occurs on the body just as in the hu-
man small-pox. The bare skin under the arm-pits shows the first
indications of the eruption. Pustules or pimples surrounded with
a red ring, (the areola), appear, and gradually after three days,
come to a head, and take on a white appearance. It is at this
stage of the disease that the matter is collected and preserved for
the purposes of inoculation. The symptoms decrease at this stage
and the sheep improve. The pustules dry up and form scales or
scabs which fall off and lea^e in their places "pits" or marks.
But it may be that these pimples run together or become " conflu-
ent " and ulcerate. If this happens, the sheep almost invariably
die. Otherwise the recovery is rapid.

Treatment by medicine is entirely unavailing. Good nursing
of the patients, and the use of sustaining stimulants with laxative
and demulcent food includes all that can be done. Linseed-meal,
rice-meal, and oat-meal, made into drinks, and given warm, with a
small quantity of sugar, or molasses and ginger, will be sufficient
in the shape of food. Pure soft water made slightly warm, and
acidulated with a few drops of aromatic sulphuric acid, should be
given for drink.

Hopeless cases should be ended at once. If at the last stage the
symptoms become worse, and the pimples, instead of becoming
brown and drying up, ulcerate, and run together in chains, the
animal should be killed and buried in a deep pit with plenty of
lime thrown on the carcass. Every portion of the dead animal
will convey infection, and in no case should the wool be taken
from it, unless it be at once tub-washed in boiling hot soap-suds.

On the appearance of the disease in a neighborhood, the unaf-
fected sheep should be inoculated. A quantity of the matter from
the white pimples is kept in bottles and diluted with water to the
consistency of cream. A needle mounted in a wooden handle
a shoemaker's curved awl will answer the purpose excellently
is dipped into the fluid and is thrust beneath the skin of the fleshy
part of the tail. This rarely fails to communicate the disease
which is so slight as seldom to interfere with the feeding of the
flock. In a paper published in the Journal of the Eoyal Agricul-
tural Society of England, Vol. XXV, Part 2, 1864, written by a
gentleman who had had charge of flocks of Merinos varying from
a few thousand up to twenty-five thousand, in Russia, and who
always practiced inoculation, the author states that although the
sheep under his charge were constantly exposed to contagion


from neighboring flocks, in which thousands died from neglect of
this precaution, yet he never lost a single adult animal from the dis-
ease. In those countries where the disease prevails, every shep-
herd has an inoculating needle amongst the implements of his

As we are as yet exempt from this disease, and as it is readily
communicated by contact with the skin or fleece of a diseased
sheep, and with the present rapid communication between this
country and Europe, an animal might easily reach here within its
period of incubation, constant watchfulness should be exerted
to prevent its importation. That we shall always be exempt, is
too much to reasonably hope for.


The urine of a healthy sheep is alkaline. Under some circum-
stances the urine becomes acid. This abnormal condition pro-
duces a disordered condition of the highly sensitive urinary or-
gans. If the flow of the urine is obstructed, it is absorbed into
the circulation, and a variety of diseases are produced, all of
which have one constant distinguishing symptom, viz : tlie strong
smell of urine given out by the other secretions of the system, but
especially by the secretions of the skin. The blood is poisoned
by the absorption of the matters which the urine should have car-
ried off, and a high condition of fever is consequently produced.
Male animals are more frequently affected than females, by reason
of the peculiar structure and length of the urinary canal, already
described. Fattening animals are especially subject to urinary
disorders, and such need close inspection and great care.

Inflammation of the Bladder is the most frequent of the urinary
diseases. Feeding upon second growth clover, which often con-
tain lobelia, St. John's- wort, rag weed, and other irritating plants;
or upon excessive quantities of corn-meal, or drinking hard wa-
ter, are the chief causes. The acid and consequently irritating
character of the urine inflames the inner coats of the bladder. The
inflammation spreads to the muscular substance around the neck
of the bladder, and this is contracted, closing the opening.

Retention of Urine is therefore the direct consequence, and this
involves the serious complications already mentioned. The symp-
toms are uneasiness, constant lifting the hind feet and stamping
with them, spreading them out and straining in the endeavor to
void urine. As the attempt is abandoned, the animal moans in
pain. There is general disturbance of the system, fever, and costive-


ness. The remedy is to bleed copiously from the neck and to
give the following to a large animal.

Linseed-oil 2 ounces.

Laudanum. 2 drams.

For smaller animals the dose should be reduced proportionately.
If there is no improvement the second day, the bleeding should be
repeated from the other side of the neck, and one ounce of linseed
oil be given daily until relief is procured. Diuretics and saline
purgatives should be avoided. After improvement the food should
be light, and infusions of linseed-meal or of gum arabic, would be

Sediment in the Urinary Canal. Highly fed sheep, or those
fed on dry pastures, which are deficient in water, or those care-
lessly denied a full supply of water in winter, when they are fed
grain in less or greater quantities rams and wethers especially
are those which are subject to this disorder. Females, from the
large capacity of the canal, are never, or very rarely, affected. But
in male animals the peculiar appendage, called the vermiform, or
worm-like appendage, through which the canal finds its exit, be-
ing very small, an easy obstruction is offered to the passage and
discharge of any sandy or muddy deposit of the urine. Small
stony concretions are often discovered attached to the wool or
hairs around the vent on the belly of the sheep. When these are
noticed, extra care should be exercised to give abundant water by
which the deposit may be dissolved and carried away. When the
deposits have been arrested in this narrow passage, the urine is
seen to pass drop by drop and the animal exhibits great pain and
uneasiness. All the symptoms of retention of urine then appear.
The treatment is to place the animal on his rump and draw the
penis out of the sheath. It will be found inflamed and tender.
It should be fomented with warm water, and the urethra or canal
below it gently pressed with the fingers to force out the urine and
with it the sediment. If this is successful even in part, some
sweet-oil should be applied to the parts, and a rather large dose
of linseed-oil be administered along with an antispasmodic to act
on the neek of the bladder, viz :

Linseed-oil 3 ounces.

Extract of Belladonna 10 grains.

On the following day the urethra should be again examined, and
the manipulation be again repeated. One dram of Carbonate of
Potash should then be given, dissolved in water, three times
a day. If fever is present, the belladonna may be repeated,
but only in case of urgency. No saline purgatives are to be


given in affections of the bladder. If the sediment cannot be passed,
it will be necessary to remove it by an operation. A lengthwise in-
cision is made, with a small sharp knife blade, at the junction of
the vermiform appendage with the urethra, on the lower surface,
and the stones or gravel are removed by pressure. It may be dis-
covered in this manner, that the obstructions exist all along the
urethra, in which case there is no hope of recovery, and the ani-
mal may be slaughtered. In case of wethers the vermiform
appendage of the penis may be cut off at once. In rams it may be
saved if possible, although it is not absolutely necessary for suc-
cessful stock getting. It may be well, however, to be on the safe
side, and save the part out of respect to the generally accepted be-
lief that it is needful. It is known, however, that many rams
which had lost the part by this operation, did not lose their useful-
ness in consequence.

Calculi, or stone in the bladder. For this disease there is no
remedy, and if after the fact has been ascertained by the previously
described operation, or in any other way, the animal may be killed.

Clap or Gonorrhea. This disease affects the sheath and ^enia)
of the rani The first symptoms are very similar to those of sedi-
ment in the urethra. There is gre.at pain in urinating, and the
urine comes by a few drops at a time. In course of time a white
acrid discharge escapes, and this, in case of neglect causes ulceration,
which may destroy the organ. Rams thus affected should not be
used, as the disease is contagious, and the symptoms are aggrava-
ted. The causes are excessive work and want of cleanliness. The
treatment consists of turning the animal on its back, withdrawing
the penis gently, holding it with a soft linen cloth wetted with the
lotion mentioned below, until all the diseased parts are seen.
The organ is then bathed and washed thoroughly with the follow-
ing lotion, viz :

Spirits of Camphor 4 ounces.

Sugar of Lead 1 ounce.

Sulphate of Zinc 2 ounces.

Water 1 quart.

Mix and bottle for use. If any of the ewes have become diseased
by contact with a diseased ram, a soft linen cloth may be wrapped
around the finger, dipped in the solution, and inserted in the parts
until they are thoroughly washed. Or a portion may be injected
with a syringe. A daily dressing should be given until a cure
commences, afterwards twice a week will be sufiicient. One ounce
of linseed oil should be given every other day until the urine
passes freely. The food should be laxative, and nothing stimulat-

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Online LibraryHenry StewartThe shepherd's manual. A practical treatise on the sheep → online text (page 19 of 23)