United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

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in the armpit, and inflammation of the glands results and gives rise to
the familiar waxing kernel.

Absorption is the function of the lymphatics. The liquor sanguinis
passes from the blood capillaries to supply nutrition to the tissues. All
excess of the liquor sanguiuis that is not required is absorbed by the
lymphatic capillaries and conveyed back to the blood by the lymphatic
vessels. The lymphatics which proceed from the intestines convey the
chyle into the blood during digestion. Tfce lymph (fluid carried by
these vessels) is composed of white corpuscles, albumen, salts, water,
extractives, and the elements of fibrin. In fact, it is blood without the
red corpuscles. Chyle consists of the same constituents as lymph, with
the addition of fatty matters. As a rule, the lymphatic vessels follow
the course of the veins. All of the absorbent vessels convey their con-
tents to the thoracic duct and right great lymphatic vein, which empty
into the anterior vena cava, where the lymph and chyle mix with the
venous blood, and thus maintain the supply of nutritive elements in

the blood.


As fully explained, the heart pumps the blood throughout the arte-
rial system. The arteries are always full and overfull, and each con-


traction of the ventricle pumps more blood into them, which distends
their elastic walls and sends a wave along them which gradually be-
comes less perceptible as it nears the very small arteries, and is lost
before the capillaries are reached. This wave constitutes the pulse.
The sensation or impression given to the finger when placed upon the
artery shows the force exerted by the heart and the condition of the
circulation. It must be remarked that it is only in the arteries that
there is a pulse wave. What is called the "jugular pulse" will be no-
ticed hereafter. The pulse varies much as to frequency ; anger, fear,
and exercise increase the number of pulsations. It is faster fn hot
weather than in cold ; in the young and old it is faster than in middle
age ; it is slower in the male than female. Fevers and inflammation in-
crease the frequency. In cattle the average number of pulsations in a
minute (in adults) is from 40 to 50. But in cows the pulse is subject to
variations from difteren treatises. In this regard Prof. Williams says:

Indeed, the pulse of the cow iu a state of confinement, in so far as regards the num-
ber of beats, cannot be depended upon in the diagnosis of disease; the states of preg-
nancy and obesity, the effects of artificial food and of the activity of the lactiferous
glands, as well as the excitement caused by the act of rumination, generally produce
such an impression upon the nervous system as to cause the action of the heart to be
much increased, such increase being entirely consistent with a state of perfect health
in an animal so circumstanced.

However, the frequency of the pulse is by no means all the informa-
tion gained by feeling the pulse. Other conditions of the pulse are:
Infrequent pulse, which means that the number of pulsations in a given
time is less than normal. The quick pulse means that the pulse wave
gives the sensation to the finger quicker than natural, and it must not
be confounded with the frequent pulse which refers to the number of
pulsations; thus the number of pulsations may be frequent while each
individual beat or pulsation may be quick or slow. The pulse is inter-
mittent when the pulsations do not follow in regular, order. For ex-
ample, the pulse may beat regularly for a number of beats, then a
longer pause between two beats occurs, then beat again regularly for
several beats, or in other words, as if a beat was left out at intervals. The
large pulse and the small pulse refer to the volume of the pulse, which
may be larger or smaller than usual. A pulse may be strong or feeble
and ut the same time may be either large or small. The strong pulse
and the feeble pulse refer to the strength or weakness of the pulsation.
It in called the hard pulse when the vessel feels hard and incompressi-
ble. The soft pulse is the reverse of the hard one. By dicrotic pulse
is mi'. tut that kind of pulsation which makes each beat seem double,
and therefore it is generally called the double pulse.

The venous or "jugular pulse r is the pulsation so frequently observed
in the jugular vein of cattle. It is particularly noticeable while they
are ruminating "chewing the cud.'* It is not nhvays associated with
disease, but may be a symptom of some disease of the heart: in such
cases the jugular |ulse is continuous.


The location selected for feeling the pulse in cattle is where the sub-
maxillary artery winds around the lower jaw bones, just at the lower
edge of the flat muscle on the side of the cheek. Or if the cow is lying
down, the metacarpal artery on the back part of the fore fetlock is very
convenient for the purpose. Any superficial artery, it may be said, will
give the pulsations, but in order to ascertain the peculiarities it is nec-
essary to select an artery which may be pressed against a bone.


The heat of the body is due to chemical and vital changes which
occur within the Tmimal, and is maintained at an average temperature,
with but slight variations, in all seasons, without regard to the tem-
perature of the surrounding atmosphere. The principal source of ani-
mal heat is oxidation, which takes place in the tissues throughout the
body. The oxygen in the red corpuscles unites with the carbon (and
forms carbonic acid gas) and with hydrogen (and forms water), and the
chemical union is always accompanied by heat. Heat is lost from the
body by evaporation, radiation, conduction, and with the escape of
urine and feces, which prevents increase above the normal temperature.
The vasoinotor nerves, by regulating the size of the arteries, regulate
the supply of blood to the parts, and thus assist in maintaining an
average temperature. The average normal temperature of cattle in
confinement is about 101 F.; in oxen at work, or cattle at liberty, it is
about 102 F. In calves it ranges a fraction of a degree higher. In
very old animals it is lower than the average normal temperature. The
method of ascertaining the temperature is by inserting the bulb of a
clinical thermometer into the rectum, leaving sufficient remaining out-
side by which to withdraw it. It should remain in the gut between
three and four minutes. (Plate in, Fig. 1.)

Some veterinarians are very expert in judging the temperature by
inserting their fingers in the mouth, but this method requires much
practice, both on the healthy and diseased animal. The hand or finger
in the mouth will detect an elevation of temperature, but the thermom-
eter is better, especially in the beginning or incubative stage of disease.
The hand on the surface of the body can not give an idea of internal
temperature, because the surface may feel cold while the interior is
elevated above the normal. Increase above the normal temperature
does not point to a particular disease, but in conjunction with other
symptoms it is a valuable aid; and during the progress of a disease it
is a guide.

The changes which take place in tissues are increased by disease, and
as a consequence the temperature is elevated, which, if continued, con-
stitutes fever. Congestion, being an excessive quantity of blood in a
part, is accompanied by an elevation of the temperature. Inflammation
involves changes in the blood-vessels and circulation ; there is escape
of fluid blood and corpuscles from vessels, and changes in the inflamed


tissues; and therefore it causes increased heat (which may be confined
to the parts inflamed, or may be constitutional, as inflammation of the
lungs, bowels, etc.).


Diseases of the heart among cattle are not very common, but they
are by no means unknown, which is proved not so much by meeting
with cases in practice as it is by post-mortem examinations. In this
<-lass of animals the detection of heart disease is attended with much
difficulty. In man the heart is more superficially situated; the natural
sounds may be heard distinctly, and any deviation from them is easily
recognized; but in cattle- the heart is enveloped by large lungs, large
flat ribs, thick muscles, more or less fat, and thick skin covered with
hair, which are obstacles in the way of detecting the variations of the
sounds not to be overcome. However, the writer will endeavor to place
before the reader all the important information bearing upon the sub-
j< ( -t. collected from the best sources, as well as from practical expe-

Extensive heart disease may exist in a cow without any alarming
symptoms being manifested. This is due to the fact that cows are not
put to severe exertion. Affections, as will be pointed out hereafter,
may pass unnoticed until after death, when an examination of the heart
will discover a disease of such extraordinary character as to create the
wonder how the animal lived without showing signs of serious ailment.

The symptoms of the particular. heart affections are in most cases so
obx'iire that it is difficult to lay before the general reader signs which
may be tinned diagnostic. Therefore in a work of this kind it is not
out of place to give a summary of those symptoms which usually ac-
company diseases of the heart, so that when one or more of them are
presented a more careful examination may be made for heart trouble.
The following symptoms have been noticed in numerous cases of the
iliti'rj-ent affections of this organ: Megrims or vertigo; dropsical swell-
ing of the legs; swelling under the jaw and on the neck and brisket;
isteut palpitation of the heart; constant jugular pulse; fluttering
of the heart; irregular, soft, and weak pulse, or strong and hard pulse;
inability to undergo exertion; disinclination to move, and grunting
when compiled to move; faintm >s: quickened breathing; irregular
spa.sms of the muscles of the neck, breast, or legs.


Corresponding with the beats of the heart two sounds are emitted,
which in a state of health are uniform and characteristic. The lirst is
longer and duller than the second, which is short and sharp, and is
likened to the sound produced when two pieces of ribbon are snapped
together. The interval between the two is very short, the sound of
the first almost seems to be continued into the second. After the


second sound there is a longer interval until tlie first is heard again,
which corresponds with the interval, or pause, between the beats of the
heart. Opinions differ as to the exact cause of these sounds. The first
corresponds with, and is said to be due to, the closure of the auriculo-
vcntricular valves ; by some authorities it is thought to be a muscular
sound caused by the contraction of the ventricles; others think it is
the impulse of the heart against the wall of the chest. The second
sound is caused by the closure of the valves at the beginning of the
common aorta and pulmonary artery. These sounds, as heard when
the ear is placed against the chest, may be said to resemble the pro-
nunciation of the words " lub-dup," " lub-dup," " lub-dup," etc.

To appreciate these sounds, the ear is placed against the left side of
the chest, a little above the point where the elbow rests when the
animal is standing in a natural position. By having an assistant pull
the left fore leg and elbow forward, a better opportunity is afforded to
place the ear against the chest in the desired location. If the hand is
placed flatly against the chest in the same situation, the beating of the
heart will be felt. The impulse of the heart may be felt and the sounds
may be heard fairly well in lean cattle, but in fat ones it is difficult and
often impossible to detect either impulse or sound with any degree of

The impulse of the heart, as felt by placing the hand against the
chest, is of some consequence in arriving at a conclusion in respect to
disease of the heart; but it must be remembered that the impulse may
be very much increased by diseases other than those of the heart, as
for example, inflammation of various organs, severe pains, etc. The im-
pulse may also be increased (when disease does not exist) by work,
exercise, fright, or any cause of excitement.

The variations from the natural heart sounds will be pointed out
when the diseases, in which they occur, are described.


When the impulse of the heart is excessive, that is, when it beats
more or less tumultuously, the familiar expression " palpitation of the
heart" is applied; and by many it is called " thumps.*' The hand or
ear placed against the chest easily detects the unnatural beating. In
some cases it is so violent that the motion may be seen at a distance.
Palpitation is but the symptom, and in many instances not connected
with disease of the structure of the heart or its membranes. An ani-
mal badly frightened may have palpitation. When it comes on sud-
denly and soon passes away, it depends on some cause other than dis-
ease of the heart; but when it is gradually manifested, and becomes
constant, although more pronounced at one time than another, heart
disease may be suspected, especially if other symptons of heart disease
are present.



Cattle are addicted to the habit of chewing and swallowing many
objects not intended by nature or man as articles of food. Every vet-
erinarian of experience has met with instances to remind him of this,
and it is well known to butchers. Among the great variety of things
that have thus found their way into the stomachs of cattle the following
have been noticed : Gold finger-rings, knitting needles, old shoes, table
knives, wood, pieces of leather, pieces of wire, buttons, hairpins,
brushes, nails, coins, etc. The more sharply-pointed objects often
penetrate the wall of the stomach, gradually work their way toward
the heart, pierce the pericardium (bag inclosing the heart), wound the
heart, and prove fatal to the animal. Cases are recorded in which the
foreign body has actually worked its way into one of the cavities of the
heart. However, instances are known in which the object took a dif-
ferent course, and finally worked its way toward the surface and was
extracted from the wall of the chest. While it is possible that the
object may pierce the wall at different parts of the alimentary canal, as
it frequently does that of the rumen (paunch), it is thought that in the
great majority of cases it passes through the wall of the reticulum
(smaller honeycombed compartment, or second stomach) and is drawn
toward the heart by the suction-like action of the chest. Post-mortem
\uniinations have demonstrated the course it pursued, as adhesions
and other results of the inflammation it caused were plainly to be seen.
It is rare that there are any symptoms exhibited to lead one to suppose
that there is anything amiss until the pericardium or heart is involved;
in fact, the object may be retained for a long time in one of the com-
partments of the stomach, or, after finding its way through the wall, it
may lodge in the tissues, perhaps cause an abscess or but slight trou-
ble, until some circumstance causes it to move on. The object is often
found having an eroded .appearance, due to the chemical action of the
fluid which surrounds it, and it is even recorded that it has been en-
tirely dissolved.

The symptoms of this trouble are not plain, and it is seldom possi-
ble to give more than an opinion that certain symptoms have been exhib-
ited in connection with a foreign body wounding the heart or its sac,
but Prof. Williams (Veterinary Surgery) says:

More commonly, however, the symptoms of the lesion have become gradually diag-
nostic; at first symptomatic of indigestion, with capriciotuneM of the appetite, flatu-
lence, and eructation of gases, and gradual emaciation. After awhile the pulse
becomes exceedingly small; the jugular veins arc distended; there is also a well-
marked jugular thrill or pulse, extending even ax high as the bifurcation of thcte
veins, associated sometimes with palpitation of the heart. To these succeed (rdcma
of the intermaxillary ureolar tin-tne. gradually extending down the neck to the dew-
lap; in some instances clonic ppaains of the Hiiperticial, particularly the cervical

III It -r le.


Hill, ill his "Bovine Medici n<> and Surgery/' reports the following
case which will serve as an illustration of the trouble:

A row v.'a.i near the time of calving, when she Ix-rumr seriously ill, but the
symptoms did not indicate any connection with parturition; indeed, they were of
such obscure nature that it was impossible to say what was the malady. There were
dullness, unwillingness to move, constipation, and cedematous swelling about her.
She died on the sixth day. On opening her it appeared that the heart and its in-
vesting membrane or bag occupied nearly three times their natural space. The deli-
cat-' and transparent membrane was thickened until it bore no slight resemblance to
a portion of the paunch; and the bag contained a gallon of discolored fluid. A
piece of darning-needle, two iuches and a half in length, with the eye broken off,
was found in the pericardium, aud a small ulcer, three-quarters of an inch deep,
appeared noar the apex or point of the heart. Two sixpenny nails were found in
the paunch.

Hill also reports the following case of a cow attended by himself:

I found her breathing short, eyes unusually bright, pulse quick, temperature 105,
milk nearly gone, aud no appetite. I was informed by the bailiff that she had
appeared well until the day but one previously, and he thought she must have taken
cold during one of the bleak nights she was out. There was, however, no grunting
or cough ; the breathing, which I have stated was short, was to appearance much
tli.- same as one observed in a broken-winded horse a jerking double movement in
the flank. On auscultation, congestion of both lungs particularly the left was
manifest. I ordered mustard to be applied to the sides, and sent a diffusible stimu-
lant to be given in gruel morning and night. She continued in the same state uutil
the 25th, when diarrhea set in, and I observed the slightest perceptible grunt; her
pulse had now reached 96, and the temperature was still high. From her disinclina-
tion to move, the absence of any cough, the grunt aud the peculiarity in the breathin" 1
which I have observed before in such cases, I suggested the probability of some for-
eign body having been swallowed.

The cow died in great agony on the 28th. Post-mortQtn examination
discovered a stocking needle, 3 inches long, in the apex of the heart, and
the heart and pericardium diseased to such an extent that they weighed
17 pounds.

As a matter of course, treatment in such cases is useless, but when
it is possible to diagnose the case correctly the animal could be turned
over to the butcher before the flesh becomes unfit for use. Knowing
that cattle are prone to swallow such objects, ordinary care may be
exercised in keeping their surroundings as free of them as possible.


Inflammation of the pericardium (heart-bag) is often associated with
pneumonia and pleurisy, rheumatism, and other constitutional diseases.
It also occurs as an independent affection, due to causes similar to
those of other chest affections, as exposure to cold or dampness, and
changes of the weather.

Symptoms. It may be ushered in with a chill, followed by fever, of
moro or less severity ; the animal stands still and dull, with head hanging
low, and anxiety expressed in its countenance. The pulse may be large,
perhaps hard; there is also a venous pulse. The hand against the


chest will feel the beating of the heart, which is often irregular, some-
times violent, and in other instances weak. Legs are cold; the breath
ing quickened, and usually abdominal; if the left .side of the chest be
pressed on or struck, the animal evinces much pain; there also may be
a furrow or line extending along the line of the false ribs from below
and behind the elbow back to the flank. (It must be remembered that
most of these symptoms are also seen in connection with pleurisy, and
care must be taken to discriminate.) There may be spasms of the
muscles in the region of the breast, neck, or hind legs. After a time,
which varies in length, the legs may become swollen, and swelling may
also appear under the chest and brisket.

In those animals in which the heart sounds may be heard somewhat
distinctly, the ear applied against the chest will detect a to and-fro
friction sound, corresponding to the beats of the heart; this sound is
produced by the rubbing of the internal surface of the heart-bag against
he external surface of the heart. During the first stages of the in-
flammation these surfaces are dry, and the rubbing of one against the
other during the contraction and relaxation of the heart produces the
to-and-fro friction sound. The dry stage is followed by the exudation
of fluid into the heart-sac, and the friction is not heard until the fluid
is absorbed sufficiently to allow the surfaces to come in contact again.
But during the time the friction sound is lost a sound which has been
called a "churning noise " may take its place. When the to-and-fro
friction sound does not return, adhesion of the surfaces may be sus-
pected. A murmuring sound, likened to that made by a bellows, some-
times takes the place of the friction sound, and signifies that endocar-
ditis is also present.

The friction sound of pericarditis can not be mistaken for the friction
SOP. ml of pleurisy if the examination is a careful one, because, in the
he-art a flection, the sound is made in connection with the heart beats,
while in the pleuritic affection the sound is synchronous with each
respiration or breath of air taken in and expelled from the lungs.

Treatment. When pericarditis is complicated with rheumatism or
other diseases, they must be treated as directed in the description of
them. The animal must be kept in a quiet, comfortable place, where it
will be free from excitement. Warm clothing should Iw applied to the
body and the legs hand-rubbed until the circulation in them is reestab-
lished, and then snugly bandaged. The food should be nutritive, and
in moderate quantity. Bleeding should not be performed unless the
case is in the hands of an expert.

At the beginning give as n purgative Kpsom salts 1 jMUind to an
average-sized cow dissolved in about a quart of warm water, and
administered as a drench. When there is much pain - ounces of
laudanum may be given, diluted with ft pint of water, every three hours,
until relief is given. Do not give the laudanum unless demanded by
the severity of the pair., as it tends to constipation. During the acute


ness of the attack 20 drops of tincture of aconite in a few ounces of
water every three or four hours as a drench, or in drinking water, is
beneficial, but it is far safer for the nonprofessional to give a half
ounce of nitrate of potassium (saltpeter), dissolved in drinking water,
four or five times a day. After the attack has abated, mustard mixed
with water may be rubbed well over the left side of the chest to stim-
ulate the absorption of the fluid contained within the pericardium. The
other medicines may be discontinued and the following administered:
Sulphate of iron, 2 ounces; powdered gentian, 6 ounces, mix and make
eight powders. Give one powder every day at noon; mixed with food,
if the animal will eat it, or shaken up with water in a bottle as a drench.
Also the following : Iodide of potassium, 2 ounces ; nitrate of potas-
sium, 8 oiinces; mix and make sixteen powders. Give one in drinking
water, or in drench, every morning and evening. The two last pre
scriptions may be continued for several weeks if necessary.

If at any time during the attack much weakness is manifested, give
the following drench every three hours: Spirits of nitrous ether r 3
ounces; rectified spirits, 4 ounces ; water, 1 pint; mix, and give as a

In some cases the fluid within the pericardial sac does not readily
undergo absorption. In such cases, in addition to the administration
of the iron and iodide of potassium preparations before advised, a blis-
ter composed of red iodide of mercury, 2 drams, and lard, 10 drams,

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 10 of 56)