Richard Lamb Allen.

A Brief compend of American agriculture online

. (page 39 of 44)
Online LibraryRichard Lamb AllenA Brief compend of American agriculture → online text (page 39 of 44)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the internal or mucous coat, and is generally the consequence
of physic in too great quantity, or of an improper kind. The
purging is more violent and continues longer than was inten-
ded ; the animal shows that he is suffering great pain ; he
frequently looks round at his flanks; his breathing is labori-
ous, and the pulse is quick and small, and the mouth is hot
and the legs and ears are warm. Unless the purging is
excessive, and the pain and distress great, the surgeon should
hesitate at giving any astringent medicine at first; but he
should plentifully administer gruel or thin starch, or arrow-
root, by the rnoulh and by clyster, removing all hay and corn,
and particularly green meat. He should thus endeavor to
soothe the irritated surface of the bowels, while he permits
all remains of the purgative to be carried oil*. If, however,
twelve hours have passed, and the purging and the pain
remain undiminished, he should continue the gruel, adding
to it chalk, catechu, and opium, repeated every six hours.
\ oon as the purging begins to subside, the astringent med-
icine should be lessened in quantity, and gradually discon-
tinued. Bleeding will rarely be necessary, unless the inflam-
mation is very great, and attended by symptoms of general
li'MT. The horse should be warmly clothed, and placed in
a comfortable stable, and his Tegs should be hand-rubbrd and
bandaged. Violent purging, and attended with much inflam-
mation and lever, will occur from other causes. Green meat
will frequently purge. A horse worked hard upon green meat
will sometimes scour. The remedy is change of diet, or less
labor. ^ ounir horses will often be strongly purged, without
any apparent cause. AslringiMits should be used with much
caution here. It is probably an effort of nature to get rid of
something that offends. A few doses of gruel will assist in


effecting this purpose, and the purging will cease without
astringent medicine. Many horses that are not well-ribbed
home having too great space between the last rib and the
hip-bone are subject to purging if more than usual exertion
is required from them. They are recognised by the term of
washy horses. They are often free and fleet, but destitute of
continuance. They should have rather more than the usual
allowance of corn, with beans, when at work. A cordial
ball, with catechu and opium, will often be serviceable either
before or after a journey.

PHYSICKING. When a horse comes from grass to hard
meat, or from the cool, open air to a heated stable, a dose
or even two doses of physic may be useful to prevent the
tendency to inflammation which is the necessary consequence
of so sudden and great a change. To a horse that is becom-
ing too fat, or has surfeit, or grease, or mange, or that is out
of condition from inactivity of the digestive organs, a dose of
physic is often most serviceable. A horse should be care-
fully prepared for the action of physic. Two or three bran
mashes given on that or the preceding day are far from suffi-
cient when a horse is about to be physicked, whether to pro-
mote his condition or in obedience to custom. Mashes should
be given until the dung becomes softened. A less quantity
of physic will then suffice, and it will more quickly pass
through the intestines, and be more readily diffused over them.
Five drachms of aloes, given when the dung has thus been
softened, will act more effectually and much more safely than
seven drachms, when the lower intestines arc obstructed by
hardened faeces. On the day on which the physic is given,
the horse should have walking exercise, or may be gently
trotted for a quarter of an hour twice in the day; but after
the physic begins to work, he should not be moved from his
stall. Exercise would then produce gripes, irritation, and,
possibly, dangerous inflammation. A little hay may be put
into the rack. As much mash should be given as the horse
will eat, and as much water, with the coldness of it taken off,
as he will drink. If, however, he obstinately refuses to drink
warm water, it is better that he should have it cold, than to
continue without taking any fluid; but in such case he should
not be suffered to take more than a quart at a time, with an
interval of at least an hour between each draught. When
the purging has ceased, or ihe physic is set, a mash should be
given once or twice every day until the next dose is taken,
between which and the setting of the first there should be an.


interval of a week. The horse should recover from the lan-
guor and debility occasioned by the first dose, before he is
harrassed by a second. Eight or ten tolerably copious
motions will be perfectly sufficient to answer every good
purpose, although the groom or the carter may not be satisfied
unless double the quantity are procured. The consequence
of too strong purgation will be, that weakness will hang about
the animal for several days or weeks, and inflammation will
often ensue from the over-irritation of the intestinal canal.
Long-continued custom has made ALOES the almost invariable
purgative of the horse, and very properly so ; for there is no
other at once so sure and so safe. The Barbadoes aloes,
although sometimes very dear, should alone be used. The
dose, with a horse properly prepared, will vary from four to
seven drachms. Custom has assigned the form of a ball to
physic, but good sense will in due time introduce the solution
of aloes, as acting more speedily, effectually, and safely. The
only other purgative on which dependence can be placed is
the CROTON. The farina or meal of the nut is generally
used ; but from its acrimony it should be given in the form of
ball, with linseed meal. The dose varies from a scruple to
half a drachm. It acts more speedily than the aloes, and
without the nausea which they produce; but it causes more
watery stools, and, consequently, more debility. LINSEED-
OIL is an uncertain but safe purgative, in doses from a pound
to a pound and a half. OLIVE-OIL is more uncertain, but
safe ; but CASTOR-OIL, that mild aperient in the human being,
is both uncertain and unsafe. EPSOM-SALTS are inefficacious,
except in the immense dose of a pound and a half, and then
they are not always safe.

WORMS. The long white worm (lumbricus teres) much
resembles the common earth-worm, and, being from six to
ten inches in length, inhabits the small intestines. It is a
formidable looking animal ; and if there are many of them,
they may consume more than can be spared of the nutritive
part of the food, or the, mucus of the bowels. A tight skin,
and rough coat, and tucked-up belly, are sometimes conn
ted with their presence. They are then, however, voided in
large quantities. A dose of physic will sometimes bring
away almost incredible quantities of them. Calomel is fre-
quently given as a vermifuge. The seldomer this drug is
administered to the horse the better. When the horse can
be spared, a strong dose of physic is an excellent vermifuge,
so far as the long round worm is concerned ; but a better


medicine, and not interfering with either the feeding or work
of the horse, is emetic tartar, with ginger, made into a ball
with linseed meal and treacle, and given every morning, half
an hour before the horse is fed. A smaller, darker colored
worm, called the needle-worm, or ascaris, inhabits the larger
intestines. Hundreds of them sometimes descend into the
rectum, and immense quantities have been found in the
caecum. These are a more serious nuisance than the former,
for they cause a very troublesome irritation about the funda-
ment, which sometimes sadly annoys the horse. Their exis-
tence can generally be discovered by a small portion of mucus,
which, hardening, is found adhering to the anus. Physic will
sometimes bring away great numbers of these worms ; but
when there is much irritation about the tail, and much of
this mucus, indicating that they have descended into the rec-
tum, an injection of linseed oil, or of aloes dissolved in warm
water, will be a more effectual remedy. The tape-worm is
seldom found in the horse.

BOTS cannot, while they inhabit the stomach of the horse,
give the animal any pain, for they have fastened on the cuti-
cularand insensible coat. They cannot stimulate the stomach
and increase its digestive power, for they are not on the diges-
tive portion of the stomach. They cannot, by their rough-
ness, assist the trituration or rubbing down of the food, for
no such office is performed in that part of the stomach the
food is softened, not rubbed down. They cannot be injurious
to the horse, for he enjoj'-s the most perfect health when the
cuticular part of his stomach is filled with them, and their
presence is not even suspected until they appear at the anus.
They cannot be removed by medicine, because they are not
in that part of the stomach to which medicine is usually con-
veyed ; and if they were, their mouths are too deeply buried
in the mucus for any medicine, that can be safely adminis-
tered, to affect them ; and, last of all, in due course of time
they detach themselves, and come away. Therefore, tho
wise man will leave them to themselves, or content himself
with picking them off when they collect under the tail and
annoy the animal.

WIND-GALLS. In the neighborhood of the fetlock there
are occasionally found considerable enlargements, oftener on
the. hind-log than tho fore-ono, which are denominated wnd-
galls. Between the tendons and other parts, and wherever
the tendons arc exposed to pressure or friction, and particu-
larly about their extremeties, little bags or sacs are placed,


containing and suffering to ooze slowly from them a mucous
fluid to lubricate the parts. From undue pressure, and that
most frequently caused by violent action and straining of the
tendons, or, often, from some predisposition about the horse,
these little sacs are injured. They take on inflammation,
and sometimes become large and indurated. There are few
horses perfectly free from them. When they first appear,
and until the inflammation subsides, they may be accompa-
nied by some degree of lameness ; but otherwise, except
when they attain a great size, they do not interfere with the
action of the animal, or cause any considerable unsoundness.
The farriers used to suppose that they contained wind hence
their name, wind-galls ; and hence the practice of opening
them, by which dreadful inflammation was often produced,
and many a valuable horse destroyed. A slight wind-gall
will scarcely be subjected to treatment ; but if these tumors
are numerous and large, and seem to impede the motion of
the limb, they may be attacked first by bandage. The roller
should be of flannel, and soft pads should be placed on each
of the enlargements, and bound down tightly upon them.
The bandage should also be wetted with warm water two or
three times a day for half an hour each time. The wind-
gall will often diminish or disappear by this treatment, but
will too frequently return when the horse is again hardly
worked. A blister is more effectual, but too often temporary
remedy. Wind-galls will return with the renewal of work.
Firing is still more certain, if the tumors are sufficiently large
and annoying to justify our having recource to measures so
severe; for it will not only effect the immediate absorption
of the fluid, and the reduction of the swelling, but, by con-
t^icting the skin, will act as a permanent bandage, and tlici r-
fi> << prevent the re-appearance of the tumor. The iodine
and mercurial ointments have occasionally been used with
advantage in the proportion of three parts of the former to
two of the latter-

TIIK FETLOCK. The fetlock-joint is a very complicated
one, and from tlic shvss which is laid on if, and its being tlir
principal seat of motion below the knee, it is particularly
subject to injury. There are not many cases of sprain of
the back-sinew that are not accompanied by inflammation of
the ligaments of this joint ; and numerous supposed cases of
sprain higher up are simple affections of the fetlock. It
requires a great deal of care, and some experience, to distin-
guish the one from the other. The heat about the part, and


the point at which the horse least endures the pressure of the
finger, will be the principal guides. Occasionally, by the
application of cooling lotions, the inflammation may be sub-
dued, but at other times, the horse suffers dreadfully, and is
unable to stand. A serious affection of the fetlock-joint
demands prompt treatment.

CUTTING The inside of the ietlock is often bruised by
the shoe or the hoof of the opposite foot. Many expedients
used to be tried to remove this ; the inside heel has been
raised arid towered, and the outside raised and lowered; and
sometimes one operation has succeeded, and sometimes the
contrary ; and there was no point so involved in obscurity or
BO destitute of principles to guide the practitioner. The most
successful remedy, and that which in the great majority of
cases supercedes nil others, is Mr. Turner's shoe, of equal
thickness from heel to toe, and having but one nail, and that
near the toe on the inside of the shoe; care being taken that
the shoe shall not extend beyond the edge of the crust, and
that the crust shall be rasped a little at the quarters.

SPRAIN OF THE COFFIN-JOINT. The proof of this is when
the lameness is sudden, and the heat and tenderness are prin-
cipally felt round the coronet. Bleeding at the toe, physic,
fomentation, and blisters are the usual means adopted. This
lameness is not easily removed, even by a blister ; and if
removed, like sprains of the fetlock and of the back sinews,
it is apt to return, and finally produce a great deal of disor-
ganization and mischief in the foot. Sprain of the coffin -
><>int sometimes becomes a very serious afiair. Not being
always attended by any external swelling and being detected
only by heat round the coronet, the seat of the lameness is
often overlooked by the groom and the farrier ; and the dis-
ease is suffered to become confirmed before its nature is

RINGBONE. This is a deposit of bony matter in one of
the pasterns, and usually near the joint. It rapidly spreads,
and involves not only the pastern-bones, but the cartilages of
the foot, and spreading around the pasterns and cartilages,
thus derives its name. When the first deposit is on the lower
pastern, and on both sides of it, and produced by violent
inflammation of the ligaments of the joints, it is recognised
by a slight enlargement, or bony tumor on each side of the
foot, and just above the coronet. Horses with short upright
joints, and with small feet and high art ion, are oftenest, as
may be supposed, the subjects of this disease, which is the


consequence either of concussion or sprain of the pastern-
joints. It is also more frequent in the hind foot than the
fore, because, from the violent action of the hind legs in
propelling the horse forward, the pasterns are more subject to
ligamentary injury behind than before ; yet the lameness is
not so great there, because the disease is confined principally
to the ligaments, and the bones have not been injured by con-
cussion ; while from the position of the fore limbs; there will
generally be in them injury of the bones to be added to that
of the ligaments. In its early stage, and when recognised
only by a bony enlargement on both sides of the pastern-joint,
or in some few cases on one side only, the lameness is not
very considerable, and it is not impossible to remove the
disease by active blistering, or by the application of the
cautery ; but there is so much wear and tear in this part of
the animal, that the inflammation and the disposition to the
formation of bone rapidly spread. The pasterns first become
connected together by bone instead of ligament, and thence
results what is called an anchyloscd or fixed joint. From
this joint the disease proceeds to the cartilages of the foot,
and to the union between the lower pastern, and the coffin
and navicular bones. The motion of these parts likewise is
impeded or lost, and the whole of the foot becomes one mass
oi spongy bone.

ENLARGEXBNT OF THE HOCK. First, there is inflamma-
tion, or sprain of the hock-joint generally, arising from sudden
violent concussion, by some check at speed, or over-weight,
:md attended with enlargement of the whole joint, and great
tenderness and iamrn-ss. This, however, like all other dif-
I'u-ed inflammations) is not so untractablc as an intense one
of a more circumscribed nature, and by rest and fomentation,
or, perchance, lii'ing, the limb recovers its action, and the
horse becomes ill lor ordinary work. The swelling, how-
ever, does riot always subside. Enlargement, spread over
the whole of the honk-joint, remains. .V horse with :m
enlarged hock mit-l always be regarded with suspicion. In
truth, he is unsound. The parts, altered in structure, must
be to a certain degree weakened. The animal may discharge
his usual work during a long period, without return of lame-
ness ; but if one of those emergencies should occur when all
his energies require to be exerted, the disorganised and wea-
kened part will fail. He may be ridden or driven moderately
for many a vear without inconvenience, yet one extra hard
day's work may lame him lor ever.


( 'i KP. There arc often injuries of particular parts of the,
hock-joint. Curb is an affection of this kind. It is an
enlargement at the back of the hock, three or four inches
below its point. It is either a strain of the ring-like liga-
ment which binds the tendons in their place, or of the sheath
of the tendons ; oftener, however, of the ligament than of
the sheath. Any sudden action of the liml) of more than
usual violence may produce it, and therefore horses are found
to 'throw out curbs' atter a hardly-contested race, an extra-
ordinary lea}), a severe gallop over heavy ground, or a sudden
check in the gallop. Young horses are particularly liable to
it, and horses that are cow-Jiocked, whose hocks and legs
resemble those of the cow, the hocks being turned inward,
and legs forming a considerable angle outwards. This i*
intelligible enough ; for in hocks so formed, the annular liga-
ment must be continually on the stretch, in order to confine
the tendon. Curbs are generally accompanied by considera-
ble lameness at their first appearance, but the swelling is not
always great. They are best detected by observing the leg
sideway. The first object in attempting the cure is to abate
inflammation, and this will be most readily accomplished by
cold evaporating lotions frequently applied to the part. Equal
portions of spirit of wine, water, and vinegar, will afford an
excellent application. It will be almost impossible to keep a
bandage on. If the heat and lameness are considerable, it
will be prudent to give a dose of physic, and to bleed from
the subcutaneous vein, whose course is near it ; and whether
the injury is of the annular ligament, or the sheath of the
tendon, more active means will be necessary to perfect a
cure. Either a liquid blister should be rubbed on the part,
consisting of a viuus or turpentine tincture of cnntharide,',
and this daily applied until some considerable swelling takes
place ; or, what is the preferable plan, the hair should be
cut off, and the part blistered as soon as the heat has Lccn
subdued. The blister should be repeated until the swelling
has disappeared, und the horse goes sound. In severe cases
it may be necessary to lire ; but a fair trial, however, should
be given to milder measures. If the iron is used, it should
be applied in straight lines. There are few lamenesses in
which absolute and long-continued rest is more requisite. It
leaves the parts materially weakened, and, if the horse is
soon put to work again, the lameness will frequently return.
No horse that has had curbs, should be put even to ordinary
work in less than a month after the apparent cure ; and, even


then, lie should very gradually resume his former habits. A
horse with a curb, is manifestly unsound, or generally con-
denmed as unsound. Curb is also an hereditary complaint ;
and therefore a horse that has once suffered from it, should
always be regarded with suspicion, especially if either of the
parents have exhibited it.

BONE SPAVIN i.s an affection of the bones of the hock joint.
Spavined horses are generally capable of slow work. They
are eqnal to the greater part of the work of the farm, and
therefore they should not always be rejected by the small
farmer, as they may generally be procured at little price.
These horses are not only capable of agricultural work, but
they generally improve under it. The lameness in some
degree abate?, and even the bony tumor to a certain degree
lessens. There is sufficient moderate motion and friction of
the limb to rouse the absorbents to action, and cause them to
take up a portion of the bony matter thrown out, but not
enough to renew or prolong inflammation. Tt cannot be said
that the plough a (lords a cure for spavin, but the spavined
horse often materially improves while working at it. For
fast work, and for work that must be regularly performed,
spavined horses are not well calculated; for this lameness
behind produces great difficulty in rising, and the conscious-
ness that he will not be able to rise Without painful effort
occasionally prevents the horse from lying down at all ; and
the animal that cannot rest well cannot long travel far or fast.
Tiic treatment of spavin is simple enough, but far from being effectual. The owner of the horse will neither con-
sult his own interest, nor the dictates of humanity, if he suffers
the chisel and mallet, or the gimlet, or the pointed iron, or
ar-rnic, to be used ; yet measures of considerable severity
must In' resorted to. Repeated blisters will usually cause
eilher the absorption of the bony deposit, or the abatement
r K moval oftlie inflammation of the ligaments, or, as a la>i
nee, the heated iron may be applied.

Su I:LU:I> r.i:cs. The lore legs, but oftener the hind ones,
and e>|)eeial!y in eoarse horses, are sometimes subject to con-
Btdersble enlargement. Occasionally, when the horse does
not seem to labor under any other disease, and sometimes
from an apparent shifting of disease from other parts, the
hind legs suddenly swell to an enormous degree from the
hock and almost from the stifle to the fetlock, attended by a
greater or less degree of heat, and tenderness of the skin, and
sometimes excessive and very peculiar lameness. The pulse


likewise becomes quick and hard, and the horse evidently
labors under considerable fever. It is acute inflammation of
the cellular substance of the legs, and that most sudden in
its attack, and most violent in its degree, and therefore atten-
ded by the effusion of a considerable quantity of fluid into
the cellular membrane. It occurs in young horses, and in
those which are over-fed and little exercised. Fomentation,
diuretics, or purgatives, or, if there is much fever, a moderate
bleeding will often relieve the distcntion almost as suddenly
as it appeared.

The cure, when the case has not been too long neglected,
is sufficiently plain. Physic, or diuretics, or both, must be
had recourse to. Mild cases will generally yield to their
influence ; but, if the animal has been negleted, the treat-
ment must be decisive. If the horse is in high condition,
these should be preceded or accompanied by bleeding ; but if
there are any symptoms of debility, bleeding would only
increase the want of tone in the vessels. Horses taken from
grass and brought into close stables very speedily have swelled
legs, because the difference of food and increase of nutriment
rapidly increases the quantity of the circulating fluid, while
the want of exercise takes away the means by which it might
be got rid of. The remedy here is sufficiently plain. Swelled
legs, however, may proceed from general debility. They
may be the consequence of starvation, or disease that has
considerably weakened the animal ; and these parts, being
farthest from the center of circulation, are the first to show
the loss of power by the accumulation of fluid in them. Here
the means of cure would be to increase the general strength,
with which the exlremeties would sympathise. Mild diuretics
and tonics would therefore be evidently indicated.

Online LibraryRichard Lamb AllenA Brief compend of American agriculture → online text (page 39 of 44)