United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

. (page 15 of 56)
Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 15 of 56)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

instrument, as it was thoroughly clean and had been immersed in a
solution of carbolic acid in water (1 to 20) before the operation. It is
evident that the cause of tetanus must have either been on the skin at
the time of the puncture, and forced into the wound by the instrument,
or else it gained access some time afterwards.

There can be no question that a wound has much to do with the cause
of tetanus, but nevertheless the most serious or the most trivial wound
can not in itself produce the affection. Something of a specific nature
must gain access to the wound for the characteristic symptoms of te-
tanus to be developed. Long ago, before a germ having this specific
property was discovered, many scientific veterinarians and physicians
believed in the infectious nature of the disease. Cases frequently oc-
curred in the practice of individual members of the profession that left
in > doubt in their minds, and consequently, when it was announced
that a microbe had been found in wounds of persons suffering with the
disease, that would cause the affection in animals when inoculated with
the pus containing the microbes, many points which had been clouded
in mystery were at once made clear. (See Plate xxix, Fig. 5.)

Since this discovery in 1884 many successful experiments have been
performed to verify the fact. The same microl>e has been discovered
in earth, and cultivations made from it and injected into animals have
produced the disease. It has been found in dirt taken from floors,
gardens, yards, fields, streets, and animals inoculated with it have
developed the disease. Hence there is not much doubt at present con-
coming the cause of tetanus, although there are still some eminent
practitioners in both the veterinary and medical professions who refuse
to receive the results of the numerous experiments as conclusive.

The evidence so far goes to prove that tetanus is the same disease in
111:111 mid animals, ind therefore it is well to bear in mind when attend-
24097 9


ing an affected animal that the wound may contain a, germ which 5 if it
gain access to a sore or an abraded surface OR yourself, may cause
this dreadful disease.

In summing up the matter it may be said in a very few words that
there is a well-grounded belief that the specific germs of tetanus find
their way into a wound or an abrasion, where they obtain favorable
opportunity for cultivation and increase, and the result of their pres-
ence is a poisonous chemical product which is absorbed into the system
and causes tetanus. In those cases called idiopathic, where no wound
can be found, it docs not require a stretch of the imagination to sup
pose that a wound or an injury exists somewhere in the alimentary
canal sufficient to harbor the germs, which may have been taken in
with the food; and it is even considered possible for the germs to be
taken in with the air inhaled and to lodge on a denuded surface of the
respiratory tract.

In this view of the subject there is nothing to do violence to exist-
ing knowledge, for it is well known that strychnine in poisonous doses
acts on the nervous system in the same manner, causing a spasm simi-
lar to tetanus.

Cattle lead a quieter life and are less subject to wounds than horses
and mules, and it may be that they are better able to withstand the
effects of the germs, and to these reasons may be due the fact that
tetanus is a rare disease in cattle.

Symptoms. In the description of the nervous system it was ex-
plained that sensory impressions are conducted to the brain by the
afferent nerves, and the motor impulses are conducted from the nerve
center to the muscle (to cause contraction) by the efferent nerves.
Now, in describing the symptoms of tetanus, it is well to point out the
fact that the motor centers being greatly irritated by the cause of
tetanus, an extraordinary stimulus or current is sent to all the mus-
cles, which produces a persistent violent contraction or spasm of the
muscles. Bearing in mind this fact it is easier to recognize the con-
tracted state of the muscles, which are hard and resistant, and stand
out prominently as lumps or cords under the skin, especially about the
head and neck.

General sensitiveness is also increased; the afflicted beast is ever on
the alert, and is startled by the slightest noise. A harsh voice often
brings 011 an increase in the intensity of the spasm ; a touch of the
hand, however light, excites fear; clapping the hands or the crack of a
whip almost causes the animal to fall.

The first symptom noticed is usually some stiffness in the manner of
carrying the head. The muzzle is elevated "poked out;" the ears
are also carried stiffly, and moved very little, if any. The haw or
"washer" (meinbrana nictitans) is forced over the eye from the inner
corner, and on account of this strange appearance of the eye, many
persons who have for the first time seen an animal affected with lock-


jaw, imagine that all the trouble is in the eyes. In fact the writer has
known of several instances where persons, ignorant of the real cause,
supposed the animal to be affected with " hooks," and therefore cut ont
what they concluded to be offensive. The animal moves very stiffly,
the legs are almost rigid, and when walking they are used like sticks.
When turned the body is kept straight and moves around like a log.
When standing still the legs are propped out, and, were it not for the
breathing, the beast might be compared to a wooden horse. The tail
is elevated and sticks out like a pump handle. The jaws are moved
very stiffly during the first part of the attack, and there may be grating
of the teeth or champing so long as they can be moved, but at any time
if the hand be placed in the mouth to force the jaws apart, rigidity to
a greater or less extent will be manifest. The animal will eat as long
as ir is possible to open the jaws wide enough to take anything into
the mouth. On account of the general stiffness the urine and dung are
1-a^ed with some difficulty. The pulse is usually hard, but does not
vary much from normal in other respects, until some time after the
attack, when it increases very much in frequency. As the disease
progresses all the symptoms become more pronounced. The haw ex-
tends further over the eye, and at any time, if the head is forced up by
the hand, the eye may be entirely hidden as it is drawn back, and the
haw forced over it. The breathing becomes more rapid and difficult;
the nostrils are open to their widest extent, showing the congested
membranes .within the nose ; the jaws become more or less set or locked ;
swallowing, always accomplished with difficulty, becomes almost or
quite impossible. At times, and especially if the animal is annoyed or
excited by attendants or noises, the intensity of the spasm is increased
so as to amount to paroxysms. The animal usually remains on its feet
as long as possible, but should it get down after the disease is well
established it is seldom able to rise alone, and in its endeavors to do
so it struggles convulsively, and as a rule the struggles end in death.

Treatment. Tetanus in every instance must be considered a very
serious affection, but not necessarily always a fatal one. Some cases
have recovered in spite of the most brutal and ignorant methods of
treatment; some have recovered without much treatment of any kind:
aud many cases succumb under the treatment of the most eminent prac-
titioners after every measure prompted by science, humanity, and rea-
son has been resorted to. Of paramount importance is to recognize the
affection and begin the treatment before the disease has made much
advance, for when it is well established the effect is not only harder to
overcome, but every aid is more diflicult to render.

At the appearance of the first symptoms, when the animal is still
able to swallow without much difficulty, give the following drench:
Epsom salts, 10 ounces; common salt, 10 ounces; calomel. 2 drams; pul-
veri/.ed gentian, 1 ounce; warm wat>r, 2 quarts. After the administra-
tion of the foregoing dose there is to be no more drenching.


Examine closely for wounds; look well between the claws of the feet,
search over the body and legs, and even examine the mouth. Note
well the location of the wounds ; do not neglect the smallest scratch.
Place the animal in a darkened, quiet stall, where it will be away from
noises or other cause of excitement. With hot soapsuds and a clean
rag, thoroughly wash away from the wound (or wounds) all the hard-
ened discharges, crusts or scabs, so that a fresh and clean sore is pre-
sented. Then use the following: Bichloride of mercury, 30 grains;
pure carbolic acid, 1 ounce; water, 1 quart; mix. Pour some of this
solution on the wound, and with a clean piece of white cotton or muslin
rub the medicine into all parts of the wound ; be certain that it conies
in contact with every portion of the wound ; literally scour the wound
with the cotton and medicine, but do no unnecessary injury. Make
soaking wet some absorbent cotton and bind it well on the wound.
Once each day change the dressing; clean the wound with the medi-
cine, and bind on fresh absorbent cotton soaking wet with it. Treat
every wound or scratch that you can find on the animal in the same
manner. If the wound is in the foot, expose it well by cutting away as
much of the hoof as necessary in order that the medicine may come in
contact with all of it. Painful wounds about the feet should be poul-
ticed twice a day with linseed meal for three or four days, but each
time the poultice is changed the wound should be Avashed with the
medicine; and when the poultices are discontinued the wound must be
dressed with the absorbent cotton and the medicine once a day. Give
the regular food so long as the animal is able to eat it, but when chew-
ing and swallowing become very difficult slops made with bran, corn-
meal and small quantities of linseed meal must be prepared. All the
cold water the animal will drink must be supplied. The stall must be
so arranged that the food and water may be placed within easy reach
of the animal's mouth, as it must be remembered that it can reach
neither very high nor very low.

Although putting cattle in slings is not a very satisfactory measure
under any circumstances, still it may be advisable to have the animal
in a stall, where arrangements maybe made to support it (not suspend)
in canvas. When an animal affected with lockjaw lies down it is a
very difficult matter to raise it, as the body and legs are so stiff that
the beast is not able to help itself, and raising it is something after the
manner of lifting a heavy body with four sticks stuck Into it for legs.
If the animal becomes very weak the canvas may be arranged so that
it may rest in the sling.

Do not allow the patient to be an object of curiosity for the neigh-
borhood. The person who is attending to the animal's necessities should
be the only visitor to the stall ; and three visits each day, every eight
hours, will suffice to render all necessary aid. The food, etc., should be
prepared in time to be carried in at the regular visit. .

The excitement caused by repeatedly drenching the animal would do


much more harm than could be overcome by all the medicines you could
pour into it. Therefore do not attempt it. Dissolve 1 ounce of bromide
of potassium in every 2 gallons of water the patient will drink. Leave
a fresh supply of water with the medicine in it before the animal at each
visit, and secure the bucket so that it can not be overturned. Three
times a day inject into the rectum 2 ounces each of the tinctures of
conium and cannabis indica, diluted with 1 pint of warm water.

Everything must be done in a quiet, orderly manner, so as not to ex-
cite the patient. Do not pay any attention to the numerous recipes for
lockjaw advised to be given by different acquaintances. The veteri-
nary expert, governed by the exigencies of the case, is competent to make
changes and substitute measures intended to relieve symptoms, but the
nouprofessional had best confine himself to au outlined course of treat-
ment and abide by the result of it. No doubt you will be advised to
chloroform the animal, or to do one thing or another, to " unlock the
jaws/' etc., but do not follow the advice, as you will only hasten a fatal
termination ; all such methods have been tried again and again with no
benefit. In those cases where no wound is found the treatment must
be the same in all respects, with the exception, of course, that there is
no wound to treat. But if there has been a recent wound which is
apparently healed, bathe the scar well with warm water, and if there
be the slightest sign that it is not entirely healed, use the medicine
on it as advised for the other wounds.

When improvement is pronounced, the medicine given in the drinking
water and in the rectum should be gradually discontinued by giving only
two-thirds of the prescribed quantities of each for a few days, then one-
half for a few days longer; then the half doses twice a day, until it is
safe to stop the use of the medicine altogether. But at any time after
the quantities are decreased if unfavorable symptoms are manifested,
the original quantities should be given again as long as necessary. The
treatment prescribed for the wounds should be continued until the
wounds are healed, and for some time after, if the symptoms of tetanus
are still presented.

If the disease is not recogni/ed until after the power of swallowing is
entirely lost there is little to be accomplished by treatment. It is true
that nourishing food, such as gruels, milk, etc., may be given in the
form of enemas, but even if life is prolonged for a short time by this
means, such cases terminate fatally.

If it be true that tetanus is due to the effects of a specific germ
(liacillux tetani) and there is not much doubt about it then a great
deal may be done to prevent the by the antiseptic treatment of
all wounds. If you perform any surgical operations your hands and
instruments should be thoroughly cleansed according to antiseptic
methods, a description of which will be found under its proper head.
It is a fact that an extremely small percentage of wounds are followed
by tetanus, but still it is economical in a general sense to properly treat



When an animal is struck by lightning the shock is instantaneously
expended on the nervous system, and as a rule death occurs immedi-
ately, but when the shock is not fatal animation is suspended to a
greater or less extent, as evidenced by prostration, unconsciousness,
and paralysis.

Symptoms. When not fatal, the symptoms vary much, according to
the severity of the shock. The animal usually falls, as from an apo-
plectic attack, and, as a matter of course, the symptoms are such as are
generally manifested in connection with concussion of the brain. The
muscular system may be completely relaxed; the legs limber; the
muscles flabby and soft to the touch, or there may be convulsions,
spasms, and twitching of the muscles. The breathing is generally
labored, irregular, or interrupted, and slower than normal.

In most instances the electrical fluid leaves its mark by singeing the
hair, or by inflicting wounds, burns, or blisters. " Sir B. Brodie tells
a curious story of two bullocks, pied white and red, which were struck
in different storms. In both cases the white hairs were consumed,
while the red ones escaped."

Treatment. So long as the beating of the heart is perceptible, the
endeavor to resuscitate the animal should be continued. Dash cold
water over the head and body ; rub the body and legs ; smartly whip
the body with wet towels or switches. Mustard, mixed with water,
should be well rubbed over the legs and back of the head on each side
of the neck. Inject into the rectum 4 drams of liquor ammonia fortis,
or 1 ounces of hartshorn diluted with a quart of warm water. Cau-
tiously hold an uncorked bottle of hartshorn to the nostrils, so that some
of it is inhaled, but care should be taken that too much is not suddenly

In desperate cases, artificial respiration should be tried, as follows :
With both hands spread out to cover a large surface, press on the
abdomen (behind the ribs) and then on the chest (behind the shoulders),
and continue in this manner, first on the abdomen and then on the
chest in regular order, so that the chest and the abdomen are each
pressed on alternately about twenty times a minute. The pressure
should be slow and steady, so that the movement given by it to the
walls of the chest and abdomen will resemble their motion in breathing.
A hand bellows may be used as an aid to the foregoing method, as
follows : Each time after the chest is pressed on the nozzle is inserted
in the nostril and air slowly aiid gently forced in by the bellows.

When the animal revives sufficiently to be able to swallow, 4 drams
of the liquor ammonia fortis, diluted with a quart of cold water, should
be given as a drench, and the dose should be repeated in an hour. One
and one-half ounces of ordinary hartshorn may be used instead of the
stronger liquor ammonia, but, like the latter, it should be diluted with


a quart or more of water, and even then care should be exercised in

Iii cases when the shock has not caused complete insensibility recov-
ery may be hastened by the ammonia and water drench, or 4 ounces of
brandy diluted with a quart of water, or 8 ounces of whisky diluted
with a quart of water. These doses may be given every three or four
hours, if necessary. After recovery from the more serious symptoms,
2 drams of sulphate of quinine should be given twice a day until health
is restored. If any paralysis remains, 1 drams of pulverized mix
vomica should be given twice a day with the quinine.

The foregoing treatment is also applicable when the electrical shock
is given by telephone, electric car, or electric light wires, etc. The
wounds, burns, or blisters should be treated according to the antiseptic
method of treating wounds.


Tumors of different kinds have been found within the cranial cavity,
and in many cases there have been no well-marked symptoms exhib-
ited during the life of the animal to lead one to suspect their existence.
Cases are recorded where bony tumors have been found in the brain of
cattle that died suddenly, but during life no signs of disease were man-
ifested. Post-mortem examinations have discovered tubercular matter
in the membranes of the brain (see Tuberculosis, p. 403). Abscesses,
usually the result of inflammation of the brain, have been found post-
mortem. For the description of hydrocephalus, or dropsy of the brain
of calves, the reader is referred to the section on parturition. (See
Water in the Head, p. 200.)

Chorea, constant twitching and irregular spasmodic movements of
the muscles, has been noticed in connection with, or as a sequel to
other affections, as, for example, parturient apoplexy.

Various diseases, the description of which will be found in other sec-
tions of this work, affect the nervous system to a greater or less extent.
For example, ergotism, lead poisoning, unemia, parturient apoplexy,
colic, and other affections associated with cramps or spasms, etc. Dis-
ease of the ovaries, by reflex irritation, may cause u'stromania (see
Excess of Venereal Diwire, p. 170), constant desire for the bull.


By JAMES LAW, F. R. C. V. S..
Professor of Veterinary Science, etc., in Cornell University.

Of the materials that have served their purpose in building up the
animal body or in sustaining the bodily temperature, and that are now
to be thrown out as waste, the greater part are expelled from the system
through the lungs and the kidneys. But the agents that pass out by
either of these two channels differ in the main from those passing by
the other. Thus from the lungs in the form of dioxide of carbon the
same gas that comes from burning of coal or oil there escapes most of
the waste material resulting from the destruction in the system of fats,
sugars, starch, and such other foods as are wanting in the element nitro-
gen, and do not form fibrous tissues, but go mainly to support animal
heat. From the kidneys, on the other hand, are thrown out the waste
products resulting from the destruction of the foods and tissues con-
taining nitrogen of, e. #., albumen, fibrin, gluten, casein, gelatin,
woody tissue, etc. While much of the waste material containing nitro-
gen leaves the body by the bowels, this is virtually such only of the
albuminoid food as has failed to b*e fully digested and absorbed, and
this has never formed a true constituent part of the body itself or of the
blood, but is so much waste food, like that which has come to the table
and been carried away again unused. Where the albuminoid food ele-
ment has entered the blood, whether or not it has been built up into a
constituent part of the structure of the body, its waste products, which
contain nitrogen, are in the main expelled through the kidneys, so that
these organs become the principal channels for the expulsion of all
nitrogen-containing waste.

It would be an error, however, to infer that all nitrogenous food,
when once digested and absorbed into the blood, must necessarily
leave the system in the urine. On the contrary, in the young and
growing animal all increase of the fibrous structures of the body is
gained through the building up of those flesh-forming constituents into
their substance; in the pregnant animal the growth of the offspring
and its envelopes has a similar origin, and in the dairy cow the casein
or curd of the milk is a means of constant elimination of these nitrogen-
containing ageutt'. Thus, in the breeding and, above all, in the milk



ing cow the womb or udder carries on a work in one sense equivalent
to that otherwise performed by the kidneys. Kot only are these organs
alike channels for the excretion of albuminous products, but they are
also related to each other structurally and by nervous sympathy, so
that suffering in the one is liable to induce some measure of disorder in
the other.

This nitrogenous waste matter is mainly present in the urine of cat-
tle, as of other mammals, in the form of urea, but also, to some extent,
as hippuric acid, a derivative of vegetable food which, in the herbivora,
replaces the uric acid found in the urine of man and carnivora. Uric
acid is, however, found in the urine of sucking calves which have
practically an animal diet, and it may also appear in the adult in case
of absolute and prolonged starvation, and in diseases attended by com-
plete loss of appetite and rapid wasting of the body. In such cases the
animal lives on its own substance, and the product is that of the wast-
ing flesh.

The other products containing nitrogen are only present in small
amount, and need not be specially referred to. The urine of cattle
contains mnch less of carbonates than does that of the horse, and effer-
vesces less on the addition of an acid. As the carbonates form a large
proportion of the solid deposits (gravel, stone) from the horse's urine,
the ox may thus be held less liable; yet even in the ox the carbonates
become abundant or scanty, according to the nature of the food, and
therefore gravel, formed by carbonate of lime, is not infrequent in cat-
tle. When fed on beets, clover hay, or bean straw, carbonates are
present in large amount, these aliments being rich in organic acids and
alkaline carbonates; whereas upon oat straw, barley straw, and, above
all, wheat straw, they are in small amount. In calves fed. on milk alone
no carbonates are found in the urine.

Phosphates, usually in combination with lime, are, as a rule, present
only in traces in the urine of cattle; yet, on a dietary of wheat, bran,
or other aliment rich in phosphates, these may be present in large
amount, so that they render the liquid cloudy or are deposited in solid
crystals. The liquid is rendered transparent by nitric acid.

The cow's urine, on a diet of hay and potatoes, contained :


Urea 18. 5

Potassic hippurate 16. 5

Alkaline lactates 17. 2

Potassium bicarbonate 16. 1

Magnesium carbonate 4.7

Lime carbonate 0. 6

Potass, sulphate 3. G

Common salt 1.5

Silica Trace.

Phosphates 0.

Water and undetermined substances 921. 3

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 15 of 56)