United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

. (page 17 of 56)
Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 17 of 56)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

pint of water ; phosphate of iron, 2 drams, or sulphate of quinia, 2 drams,
repeated twice daily) may be used. In all cases the patient should be
kept carefully from cold and wet; a warm, dry shed or in warm weather
a dry, sunny yard or pasture being especially desirable.


This is a frequent condition of the urine in parturition fever, but is
practically unknown in cattle as a specific disease, associated with
deranged liver or brain. As a mere attendant on another disease it
will demand no special notice here.


This has been divided according as it affects the different parts of
the kidneys, as : (1) Its fibrous covering (perinephritis) ; (2) the secret-
ing tissue of its outer portion (parenchymatous) ; (3) the connective
tissue (interstitial) ; (4) the lining membrane of its ducts (catarrhal) ; and
(5) its pelvis or sac receiving the urine (pyelitis). It has also been
distinguished according to the changes that take place in the kidney,
especially as seen after death, according to the amount of albumen
present in the urir.e, and according as the affection is acute or chronic.


For the purposes of this work it will be convenient to consider these
as one inflammatory disease, making a distinction merely between those
that are acute and those that are chronic or of long standing.

The causes are in the main like those causing bloody urine, such as
irritant and diuretic plants, Spanish flies applied as a blister or other-
wise, exposure to cold and wet, the presence of stone or gravel in the
kidneys, injuries to the back or loins, as by riding each other, the drink-
ing of alkaline or selenitiotis water, the use of putrid, stagnant water,
or of that containing bacteria and their products, the consumption of
musty fodder, etc. (See Hreinaturia.)

The length of the loins in cattle predisposes these to mechanical
injury, and in the lean and especially in the thin working ox the kid-
ney is very liable to suffer. In the absence of an abundance of loose
connective tissue and of fat, the kidneys lie in close contact with the
muscles of the loins, and any injury to these may tend to put the kid-
ney and its vessels on the stretch, or to cause its inflammation by direct
extension of the disease from the injured muscle to the adjacent kidney.
Thus, under unusually heavy draft, under slips and falls on slippery
ground, under sudden unexpected drooping or twisting of the loins
from missteps or from the feet sinking into holes, under the loading and
jarring of the loins when animals ride each other in cases of " heat,"
the kidneys are subjectto injury and inflammation. A hard run, as when
chased by a dog, may be the occasion of such an attack. A fodder
rich in nitrogenous or flesh-forming elements (brans, peas, vetches
[Vicia satira], and other leguminous plants), has been charged* with irri-
tating the kidneys through the excess of urea, hippuric acid, and allied
products eliminated through these organs and the tendency to the for-
' mation of gravel. It seems, however, that these foods are most dan-
gerous when partially ripened and yet not fully matured, a stage of
growth at which they are apt to contain ingredients irritating to the
stomach and poisonous to the brain, as seen in their inducing so-called
" stomach staggers." Even in the poisoning by tho seeds of ripened
but only partially cured rye grass (LoUum perennc), and darnel (Loliinn
temvlentvm), the kidneys are found violently congested with black blood.
Also in the indigestions that result from the eating of partially ripened
corn and millet, some congestion of the kidneys is an attendant phe-

Cruzel claims that the disease as occurring locally is usually not
alone from the acrid and resinous plants charged with inducing lurma-
turia, but also from stinking chamomile (Anthemis cotula) and field
poppy when used in the fresh, succulent condition; also from the great
prevalence of dead caterpillars on the pasture, or from dead Spanish
flies in the stagnant pools of water. The fresh plants are believed to
be injurious only by reason of a volatile oil which is dissipated in dry-
ing. In the case of the stagnant water it may bo questioned whether
the chemical products of the contained ferments (bacteria) are not more


frequently the cause of the evil than the alleged Spanish flies, though
these are hurtful enough when present.

Inflammation of the kidneys may further be a form or an extension of
a specific contagious disease, such as erysipelas, rinderpest, septicaemia,
or even of poisoning by the spores of fungi. Rivolta reports the case of a
cow with spots of local congestion and blood staining in the kidney, the
affected parts being loaded with bacteria. Unfortunately he neither
cultivated the bacteria nor inoculated them, and thus the case stands
without positive demonstration that these were the cause of disease.

The symptoms of nephritis are in certain cases very manifest, and in
others so hidden that the existence of the affection can only be cer-
tainly recognized by a microscopic examination of the urine. In violent
cases there is high fever, increase of the body temperature to 103 F.
and upward, hurried breathing with catching inspiration, accelerated
pulse, dry, hot muzzle, burning of the roots of the horns and ears, loss
of appetite, suspended rumination, and indications of extreme sensitive-
ness in the loins. The patient stands with back arched and hind legs
extended backward and outward, and passes water frequently, in drib-
lets, of a high color and specific gravity, containing albumen and micro-
scopic casts. (Plate xi, Fig. 5.) When moved the patient does so with
hesitation and groaning, especially if turned in a narrow circle; and
when pinched on the flank, just beneatli the lateral bony processes of
the loins, especially on that side on which the disease predominates,
it flinches and groans. If tlie examination is made with the oiled hand
introduced through the last gut (rectum) the pressure upward on the
kidneys gives rise to great pain and efforts to escape by moving away,
and by active contractions of the rectum for the expulsion of the hand.
Sometimes there is a distinct swelling over the loins or quarter on one
or both sides. In uncastrated males the testicle on the affected side is
drawn up, or is alternately raised and dropped. In all there is a lia-
bility to tremors of the thigh on the side affected.

In some severe cases colicky pains are as violent as in the worst forms
of indigestion and spasms of the bowels. The animal frequently shifts
from one hind foot to the other, stamps, kicks at the belly, looks anx-
iously at its flank at frequent intervals, moans plaintively, lies down
and quickly gets up again, grinds its teeth, twists its tail, and keeps
the back habitually arched and rigid and the hind feet advanced under
the belly. The bowels may be costive and the feces glistening with a
coat of mucus, or they may be loose and irritable, and the paunch or
even the bowels may become distended with gas (bloating) as the result
of indigestion and fermentation. In some animals, male and female
alike, the rigid arched condition of the back will give way to such un-
dulating movements as are sometimes seen in the act of coition.

The disease does not always appear in its full severity, but for a day
or even two there may be merely loss of appetite, impaired rumination,
a disposition to remain lying down; yet when the patient is raised, it


manifests suffering by anxious looking at the flanks, shifting or stamp-
ing of the hind feet, shaking of the tail, and attempts to urinate, which
are either fruitless or lead to the discharge of a small quantity of high
colored or perhaps bloody urine.

In some recent slight cases, and in many chronic ones, these symp-
toms may be absent or unobserved, and an examination of the urine
will be necessary to reach a safe conclusion. The urine may contain
blood, or it may be cloudy from contained albumen which coagulates on
heating with nitric acid (see Albumiimria) ; it may be slightly
glairy from pus, or gritty particles may be detected in it. In seeking
for casts of the uriniferous tubes, a drop may be taken with a fine tube
from the bottom of the liquid after standing and examined under a
power magnifying 50 diameters. If the fine cylindroid filaments are
seen they may then be examined with a power of 200 or 250 diameters.
(Plate xi, Fig. 5.) The appearance of the casts gives some clue to the
condition of the kidneys. If made up of large rounded or slightly
columnar cells, with a single nucleus in each cell (epithelial), they imply
comparatively slight and recent disease of the kidney tubes, the detach-
ment of the epithelium being like what is seen in any inflamed mucous
surface. If made up largely of the small disk-shaped and nonnucleated
red blood globules, they imply escape of blood, and usually a recent injury
or congestion of the kidney it may be from sprains, blows, or the in-
gestion of acrid or diuretic poisons. If the casts are made of a clear,
waxy, homogeneous substance (hyaline), without any admixture ot
opaque particles, they imply an inflammation of longer standing, in
which the inflamed kidney tubules have been already stripped of their
cellular (epithelial) lining. If the casts are rendered opaque by the
presence of minute spherical granular cells, like white blood globules,
it betokens active suppuration of the kidney tubes. In other cases the
casts are rendered opaque by entangled earthy granules (carbonate of
lime), or crystals of some other urinary salts. In still other cases the
casts entangle clear, refrangcnt globules of oil or fat, which may im-
ply fatty degeneration of the kidneys or injury to the spinal cord. The
presence of free pus giving a glairy, flocculent appearance to the urine
is suggestive of inflammation of the urinary pouch at the Commence-
ment of the excretory duct (pelvis of kidney) (Plate, ix, Fig. 1), espe-
cially if complicated with gritty particles of earthy salts. This condi-
tion is known as pyelitis. In the chronic cases swelling of the logs or
along the lower surface of chest or abdomen, or within these respective
cavities, is a common symptom. So, also, stupor or coma, or even con-
vulsions, may supervene from the poisonous action of urea and other
waste or morbid products retained in the blood.

In the treatment of acute nephritis the tirst consideration is the re-
moval of the cause. Acrid or diuretic plants in the food must be
removed, and what of this kind is present in the stomach or bowels
may be cleared avray by a moderate dose of castor or olive oil; exten-


sive surfaces of inflammation that have been blistered by Spanish flies
must be washed clean with soapsuds; sprains of the back or loins
must be treated by soothing fomentations or poultices, or by a fresh
sheepskin with its fleshy side applied on the loins, and the patient must
be kept in a narrow stall in which it can not turn even its head. The
patient must be kept in a warm, dry building, so that the skin shall be
kept active rather thau the kidneys. Warm blanketing is equally im-
portant, and even mustard poultices over the loins will be useful.
Blisters of Spanish flies, turpentine, or other agent which may be
absorbed and irritate the kidneys must be avoided. The active fever
may be checked by 15 drops tincture of aconite every four hours, or by
one-third ounce acetanilid. If pain is very acute 1 ounce laudanum,
or 2 drams solid extract of belladonna will serve to relieve. When the
severity of the disease has passed, a course of tonics (quinia, 2 drams,
or gentian powder, 2 drams daily) may be given. Diuretics, too, may
be cautiously given at this advanced stage to relieve dropsy and give
tone to the kidneys and general system (oil of turpentine, 2 teaspoon-
fuls; bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoonful, repeated twice a day). Pure
water is essential, and it should not be given chilled ; warm drinks are

In the chronic forms of kidney inflammation the same protection
against cold and similar general treatment are demanded. Tonics,
however, are important to improve the general health (phosphate of
iron, 2 drams; powdered nux vomica, 20 grains; powdered gentian root,
4 drams, daily). In some instances the mineral acids (nitric acid, 60
drops, or nitro-muriatic acid, 60 drops, daily) may be employed with the
bitters. Mustard applied to the loins in the form of a thin pulp made
with water and covered for an hour with paper or other impervious
envelope, or water hotter than the hand can bear, or cupping may be
resorted to as a counterirritant. In cupping shave the loins, smear
them with lard, then take a narrow-mouthed glass, expand the air
within it by smearing its interior with a few drops of alcohol, setting it
on fire and instantly pressing the mouth of the vessel to the oiled por-
tion of the skin. As the air within the vessel cools it contracts, tend-
ing to form a partial vacuum, and the skin, charged with blood, is
strongly drawn up within it. Several of these being applied at once a
strong derivation from the affected kidneys is secured. In no case of
inflamed or irritable kidney should Spanish flies or oil of turpentine be
used upon the skin.


As the kidney is the usual channel by which the bacteria leave the
system, this organ is liable to be implicated when microphytes exist in
the blood, and congestions and blood extravasations are produced.
In anthrax, Southarn cattle fever (Texas fever), and other such affec-
tions bloody urine is the consequence. Of the larger parasites attack-


ing the kidney may be specially named the cystic form of the echino-
coccus tapeworm of the dog, the cystic form of the unarmed or beef
tapeworm of man, the diving bladderworm the cystic form of the
marginate tapeworm of the dog, and the giant strongyle the largest of
the round worms. These give rise to general symptoms of kidney dis-
ease, but the true source of the trouble is only likely to be detected, if
the heads or hooklets of the tape-worm or the eggs of the round worm
are found on microscopic examination of the urine.


The kidney may be the seat of cancerous or simple tumors, and it
may be unnaturally enlarged or reduced in size, but though there may
be signs of urinary disorder the true nature of the disease is seldom
manifest until after death. The passing of blood and of large multi-
nucleated cells in the urine (to be detected under the microscope) may
betray the existence of an ulcerated cancer of the kidney. The pres-
ence of cancerous enlargement of (superficial) lymphatic glands may
further assist and confirm the decision.


Inability to pass urine may come from any one of three conditions:
1st, spasm of the neck of the bladder; 2d, paralysis of the body of
the bladder; 3d, obstruction of the channel of outlet by a stone (cal-
culus), (see Plate xi), or other obstacle.

In spasm of the neck of the bladder the male animal may stand with
the tail slightly raised, and making rhythmical contractions of the
muscle beneath the anus (accderatio urincc) (see Plate ix, Fig. 2), but
without passing a drop of liquid. In the female the hind legs are ex-
tended and widely parted, and the back is arched as if to urinate, but
the effort is vain. If the oiled hand is introduced into the rectum or
vagina, in the early stages of the affection, the bladder may be felt
beneath partially filled, but not overdistended with liquid, and its nock
or mouth firm and rigid. In the more advanced stages of the affection
the organ is felt as a great, tense, elastic bag, extending forward into
the abdomen. In this condition the ovcrdistended musrulur coat of
the bladder had lost its power of contraction, so that true paralysis has
set in, the muscle closing the mouth of the sack alone retaining its
normal contractile power.

In paralyttin of the body of the bladder attention is rarely drawn to
the urinary disorder until the bladder has been distended to full reple-
tion, and is almost ready to give way by rupture and to allow the escape
of the contained liquid into the abdomen. Overdistvntion is the most
common cause of the paralysis, yet it may occur from inflammation of
the muscular wall of the bladder, or even from injury to the terminal
part of the spinal marrow. In this last condition, however, the tail is


likely to be powerless, and the neck of the bladder may also be par-
alyzed so that the urine dribbles away continuously.

Causes. Among the causes of spasm of the neck of the bladder may
be named the lodgment of small stones or gravel, the feeding on irritant
diuretics (see Bloody Urine, Nephritis), the enforced retention of urine
while at work, or during a painful or difficult parturition. The irrita-
tion attendant on inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bladder
may be a further cause of spasm of the neck, as may also be inflamma-
tion of the channel (urethra) back of the neck. Extensive applications
of Spanish flies to the skin, the abuse of diuretics, and the occurrence
of indigestion and spasms of the bowels are further causes. So long as
spasmodic colic is unrelieved retention of water from spasm of the neck
of the bladder usually persists.

Treatment will depend largely on the cause. In indigestion the irri-
tant contents of the bowels must be got rid of by laxatives and injections
of warm water 5 Spanish-fly blisters must be washed from the surface ;
a prolonged and too active exertion must be intermitted. The spasm
may be relaxed by injecting one-half ounce solid extract of balladonna
ill water into the rectum or by a solution of tobacco. Chloroform or
ether may be given by inhalation, or chloral hydrate 1 ounce may be
given in water by the mouth. Fomentations of warm water may be
made over the loins and between the thighs, and the oiled hand in-
serted into the rectum may press moderately on the anterior part of the
bladder, which can be felt as an elastic fluctuating bag of an oval shape
just beneath.

All other measures failing, the liquid must be drawn off' through a
tube (catheter). This is, however, exceedingly difficult alike in male
and female, and we can not expect an amateur to succeed in accom-
plishing it. In the cow the opening into the bladder is found in the
median line of the floor of the generative entrance, about 4 inches in
front of the external opening, but it is flanked on either side by a blind
pouch into which the catheter will pass in 99 cases out of 100 in the
hands of any but the most skilled operator. In the bull or steer the
penis, when retracted into its sheath, is bent upon itself like the letter
S, just above the scrotum and testicles (see Plate ix, Fig. 2), and unless
this bend is effaced by extending the organ forward out of its sheath
it is quite impossible to pass a catheter beyond this point. When, how-
ever, the animal can be tempted by the presentation of a female to pro-
trude the penis so that it can be seized and extended, or when it
can be manipulated forward out of the sheath, it becomes possible
to pass a catheter of small caliber (one-third inch or under) onward
into the bladder. Youatt advised to lay open the sheath so as to
reach and extend the penis, and others have advocated opening
the urethra in the interval between the thighs or just beneath
the anus, but such formidable operations are beyond the stockowner.
The incision of the narrow urethra through the great thickness of


muscular and erectile bleeding tissue just beneath the anus is es-
pecially an operation of extreme delicacy and difficulty. Draw-
ing off the liquid through the tube of an aspirator is another pos-
sible resort for the professional man. The delicate needle of the aspi-
rator is inserted in such cases through the floor of the vagina and up-
per wall of the bladder in the female, or through the floor of the rectum
(last gut) and roof of the bladder in the male, or finally through the
lower and back part of the abdominal wall, just in front of the bones of
the pelvis (pubic bones), and thence through the lower and anterior part
of the bladder near its blind anterior end. After relief has been ob-
tained the administration of belladonna in 2 dram doses daily for sev-
eral days will tend to prevent a recurrence of the retention.

When the body of the bladder has become benumbed or paralyzed by
overdistention, we may seek to restore its tone by doses of one-half a
dram of powdered mix vomica repeated daily, and by mustard plasters
applied over the loins, on the back part of the belly inferiorly, or be
tween the thighs. Small doses (2 drams) balsam of copaiva are some-
times useful in imparting tone to the partly paralyzed organ.


This may occur from disease or injury to the posterior part of
the spinal cord, or from broken back, and in these cases the tail is
likely tc be paralyzed, and it may be also the hind limbs. In this case
the urine dribbles away constantly, and the oiled hand in the vagina
or rectum will feel the half filled and flaccid bladder beneath, and may
easily ewpty it by pressure.

Treatment is only successful when the cause of the trouble can be
remedied. After these (sprains of the back, etc.) have recovered,
blisters (mustard) on the loins, the lower part of the abdomen, or be-
tween the thighs, may be resorted to with success. Two drains daily
of copaiva,, or of solid extract of belladonna, or two grains Spanish flies
may serve to restore the lost tone. These failing, the use of electric
currents may still prove successful.

[Plato XI, Figs, 1,2,3.)

Stone or gravel consists in hard bodies mainly made up of the solid
earthy constituents of the urine which have crystalli/ed out of that
liquid at sonic part of the urinary passage, and have remained as small
particles (gravel), or have concreted into large masses (stono, calculus).
In cattle it is no uncommon thing to find them distending tho practi-
cally microscopic tubes in the rod substance of tho kidney, having boon
deposited from the urino in the solid form almost as soon as that liquid
has been separated from the blood. Those stones appear as white ob-
jects on the red ground formed by cutting sections of tho kidney, and
arc essentially products of the dry food of winter, and most common in


working oxen wliich are called upon to exhale more water from the
lungs and skins than are the slop-fed and inactive cows. Little water
being introduced into the body with the food, and a considerable
amount being expelled with the breath and perspiration in connection
with the active life, the urine becomes small in amount, but having to
carry out all waste material from the tissues and the tissue-forming
food, it becomes so charged with solids that it is ready to deposit them
on the slightest disturbance. If, therefore, a little of the water of such
concentrated urine is reabsorbed at any point of the urinary passages,
the remainder is no longer able to hold the solids in solution, and they
are at once precipitated in the solid form as gravel or commencing
stone. In cattle, on the other hand, which are kept at pasture in sum-
mer, or which are fed liberally on roots, potatoes, pumpkins, apples or
ensilage in winter, this concentrated condition of the urine is not in-
duced, and under such circumstances, therefore, the formation of stone
is practically unknown. Nothing more need be said to show the con-
trolling influence of dry feeding in producing gravel and of a watery
ration in preventing it. Calculus in cattle is essentially a disease of
winter, and of such cattle as are denied succulent food and are confined
to dry fodder as their exclusive ration. "While there are exceptions,
they are so rare that they do not invalidate this general rule. It is
true that stone in the kidney or bladder is often found in the summer
or in animals feeding at the time on a more or less succulent ration,
yet such masses usually date back to a former period when the animal
was restricted to a dry ration.

In this connection it should be noted that a great drain of water
from the system, by any other channel than the kidneys, predisposes
to the production of gravel or stone. In case of profuse diarrhea, for

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 17 of 56)