United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

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example, or of excessive secretion of milk, there is a corresponding
diminution of the water of the blood, and as the whole amount of the
blood is thus decreased, and as the quantity of urine secreted is largely
influenced by the fulness of the blood vessels and the pressure exerted
upon their walls from within, it follows that with this decrease of the
mass of the blood and the lessening of its pressure outward, there
will be a corresponding decrease of urine. The waste of the tissues,
however, goes on as before, and if the waste matter is passed out
through the kidneys it must be in a more concentrated solution, and
the more concentrated the urine the greater the danger that the solids
will be deposited as small crystals or calculi.

Again, the concentrated condition of the urine which predisposes to
such deposits is favored by the quantity of lime salts that may be
present in the water drunk by the animal. Water that contains 20 or
30 grains of carbonate or sulphate of lime to the gallon must con-
tribute a large addition of solids to the blood, and urine as compared
with soft waters from which lime is absent. In this connection it is a
remarkable fact that stone and gravel in the domesticated herbivora



are notoriously prevalent on many limestone soils, as on the limestone
formations of central and western Kew York, Peuusylania, Ohio, and
Michigan; on the calcareons formations of Norfolk, Suffolk, Derby-
shire, Shropshire, and Gloucestershire, in England; in Laudes in
France, and around Munich in Bavaria. It does not follow that the
abundance of lime in the water and fodder is the main cause of the
calculi, since other poisons which are operative in the same districts in
causing goitre in both man and animal probably contribute to the
trouble, yet the excess of earthy salts in the drinking water can hardly
fail to add to the saturation of both blood and urine, and thereby to
favor the precipitation of the urinary solids from their state of solution.

The known results of feeding cattle a generous or forcing ration in
which phosphate of lime is present to excess adds additional force to
the view just advanced. In the writer's experience, the Second Duke
of Oneida, a magnificent product of his world-famed family, died as the
result of a too liberal allowance of wheat bran, fed with the view of
still further improving the bone and general form of the Duchess strain
of Shorthorns. Lithotomy was performed and a number of stones re-
moved from the bladder and urethra, but the patient succumbed to aH
inflammation of the bowels, induced by the violent purgatives given,
before the writer arrived, under the mistaken idea that the straining
had been caused by intestinal impaction. In this case not only the
Second Duke of Oueida, but the other males of the herd as well, had
the tufts of hairs at the outlet of the sheath encased in hard, cylin-
droid sheaths of urinary salts, precipitated from the liquid as it ran
over them. The tufts were in reality resolved into a series of hard,
roller-like bodies, more or less constricted at intervals, as if braided.

When it is stated that the ash of the whole grain of wheat is but 3
per cent, while the ash of wheat bran is 7.3 per cent, and that in the
case of the former 4G.3S per cent of the ash is phosphoric acid, and in
that of the latter 50 per cent, it can easily be understood how a too
liberal use of wheat bran should prove dangerous if fed dry. The fol-
lowing table shows the relative proportion of ash and phosphoric acid
in wheat bran and in some common farm seeds:


arltt in nxh.

ai-iil in tin*
entire food.

Wheat liran

Per ft.

7 3

I'tr crnt.

I'tr cent.
3 05


46 3*

1 :<9U


'M 5


Barley, grain




:i jo


(I yMV4

Pea, grain


:u. H

n. ;>j7

Tw*, grain ... - , , . . ...........


30. 2


1 5

Kj'e, ^r.iiu


:;u. u

o. ('''.:&



Wheat bran, it will be observed, contains three tines as mnch phos-
phoric acid as is found in any of the other grains, and four times as
much as do oats, beans, peas, or rye; so that if fed in excess it will
readily overcharge the urine with phosphates.

There is another point to be considered, however, in estimating this
danger. Wheat bran contains a far greater amount of albuminoids and
other nitrogen-containing constituents than do the common grains
(these being made up mainly of starch which contains no nitrogen), and
all nitrogen-bearing products contained in the blood and tissues being
expelled from the body mainly through the kidneys in the form of urea
and (in cattle) hippuric acid, it follows that the excess of urea found
when such food is consumed must load the urine with solids and bring
it constantly nearer to the point of saturation, when such solids (or the
least soluble of them) must be deposited.

The following table will show the relative amounts of the nitrogen-
bearing products in wheat bran and some of our common grains:


Woody fiber

bearing con-

Wheat bran

Per cent.

Per cent.

Per cent.

Wheat, grain




Barley, grain




Oats, graiu




Rye, grain

10. C



Indian corn




It will be observed that, with the exception of oats, none of the
grains contain more than two-thirds of the nitrogenous material present
in the wheat bran, while in the case of rye and maize there is practi-
cally but one-half. Even in the case of oats the albuminoids, which are
the more digestible principles, and, therefore, those that are the most
easily and speedily converted into urea, are present only to the amount
of two-thirds of that which exists in the wheat bran. With such an
excess of ash, of phosphates, and of nitrogenous (urea-forming) con-
stituents in wheat bran, its tendency to favor the formation of calculi
is fully explained. It must not, however, be inferred that wheat bran
is not a valuable food stuff. The inference is only that it should be
fed with an abundance of water, as a sloppy mash or in combination
with an abundance of roots, potatoes, pumpkins, or other succulent

In this connection the presence of magnesia in the food or water must
be named as favoring calculous formations in the urinary passages.
The explanation is that while the phosphate of magnesia thrown out in
the urine is soluble in water, the compound phosphate of ammonia and
magnesia is insoluble, and, accordingly, if at any time ammonia is in-
troduced into urine containing the phosphate of magnesia, there is in-


stantly formed tlie aminonio-magnesiuin phosphate, which is as promptly
deposited in the solid form. The common source of ammonia in such
cases is froni decomposition of the urea in fermenting urine. But in
order to produce this a ferment is necessary, and therefore, as an addi-
tional prerequisite, the presence of bacteria or fungi in the urine is es-
sential. These ferments may make their way from without along the
urinary passage (urethra), and their propagation in the bladder is
greatly favored by the prolonged retention of urine, as in case of spasm
of the neck of the bladder or obstruction by an already existing stone.
Another mode of entrance of the ferment is an uncleanly catheter used
to draw off the urine.

Another insoluble salt which enters largely into the composition of
many urinary calculi of the ox is carbonate of lime. This is derived
mainly from the lime in the food and water and from the carbon diox-
ide formed by the oxidation of the organic acids in the fodder. These
organic acids, being composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen (with-
out nitrogen), are resolved, by the addition of oxygen, into carbon di-
oxide (CO 2 ) and water (H 2 O). The carbon dioxide unites with the lime
in the blood to form carbonate of lime, and in this state passes into the
urine. Now, carbonate of lime is soluble in water containing free or
tmcombined carbon dioxide, but is precipitated whenever the latter is
withdrawn. It is only necessary, therefore, to have in the urine suffi-
cient lime or other available base to unite with all the free carbon di-
oxide in order to bring about the precipitation of the dissolved carbon-
ate of lime in the solid crystallized form. Hence it is that of all sedi-
ments in the urine of herbivora this is the most frequent and usually
the most abundant.

A less common constituent of urinary calculi is the insoluble oxalate
of liuie. In this case the lime is derived as before from the food or
water, or both, while the oxalic acid is a product of the oxidation of
organic acids of the food, less oxygen having been used than in the
formation of carbon dioxide. The final product of the complete oxida-
tion of these acids is carbon dioxide, but when less oxygen is furnished
owing to some disease of the lungs or a disease of the nerve centers,
which lessens the activity of the breathing, then oxalic acid may be
produced. Then if this oxalic acid conies in contact with lime it is
instantly precipitated as crystals of oxalate of lime.

Another inorganic substance at times found in urinary calculi is
silica (SiOi). This contributes largely to giving stiffness to the stems
of growing plants, and in most of our cereals and grasses makes up a
large proportion of the ashes of the burnt plant. It is found in the
soluble form in combination as silicate of potash, but at times is dis-
placed by oxalic or other acid and then appears as gritty, sandy particles
in the stem. This gritty, insoluble silica is especially noticeable among



the horsetails (Equisetacece), bamboos, and sedges. The percentage of
silica in the ash of several common fodder plants is given below :

Ash of


Wheat straw

Per cent.

Oats and husk
Oat straw


Barley straw


Eye straw



Wheat chaff


Oat chaff
Barley awn


It is only soluble silica that is taken up into the system, and it is in
this form (usually as silicate of potash or soda) that it enters the urine,
but all that is wanted to precipitate it in crystalline form as a gritty
sand is the presence of oxalic or other acid having a stronger affinity
for its base (potash or soda).

Other conditions, however, enter largely into the causation of stone
or gravel. A high density of urine resulting from, a highly saturated
condition is often present for a length of time without any precipitation
of solid materials. Urea and carbonates may be present in excess,
the food may be given dry, and drinking water may be deficient in
amount without any deposition of stone or gravel. The presence of
iioncrystalline organic matter in the urine becomes in such cases an
exciting cause. Rainey and Ord have shown experimentally that col-
loid (noncrystallizable) bodies like mucus, epithelial cells, albumen,
pus, blood, hyaline casts of the kidney tubes, etc., not only determine
the precipitation of crystallizable salts from a strong solution, but they
determine the precipitation in the form of globular masses or minute
spheres, which, by further similar accessions, become stones or calculi
of various sizes. The salts that are deposited by mere chemical reac-
tion without the intervention of colloids appear in the form of sharply
defined angular crystals, and hence the rough, jagged crystals of oxa-
late of lime or ammonio-magnesium phosphate. Heat intensifies the
action of the colloids in causing precipitation of the dissolved salts, so
that the temperature of the kidneys and bladder constitute favorable
conditions. Colloids that are undergoing decomposition are also spe-
cially powerful, so that the presence of bacteria or fungi causing fer-
mentation are important factors.

In looking, therefore, for the immediate causes of urinary calculi, we
must accord a high place to all those conditions which determine the
presence of excess of mucus, albumen, pus, blood, kidney casts, blood
coloring matter, etc., in the urine. Acatarrhal inflammation of the pel-
vis of the kidney, the ureter of the bladder, generating excess of mucus
or pus; inflammation of the kidneys causing the discharge into the
urinary passages cf blood, albumen or hyaline casts; inflammation of


the liver, lungs, or other distant organ resulting in the escape of albu-
men in the urine; disorders of the liver or of the blood-forming func-
tions resulting in hrematuria or haeinoglobinuria ; sprains or other in-
juries to the back, or disease of the spinal marrow which cause the
escape of blood with the urine; the presence in the bladder of a bac-
terian ferment which determines the decomposition of the mucus and
urea, the evolution of ammonia and the consequent destruction of the
protecting cellular (epithelial) lining of the bladder; or the irritation
caused by the presence of an already formed calculus may produce the
colloid or uncrystallizable body that proves so effective in the precipi-
tation of stone or graveL It has long been known that calculi will
almost infallibly form around any foreign body introduced into the
kidney or bladder, and I have seen a large calculous mass surrounding
a splinter of an arrow that had penetrated and broken off in the body
of a deer. The explanation is now satisfactory the foreign body
carries in with it bacteria which act as ferments upon the urine and
mucus in addition to the mechanical injury caused by its presence.
If such a body has been introduced through the solid tissues there is
in addition the presence of the blood and lymph derived from the
wounded structures.


Urinary calculi arc most conveniently divided according to the local-
ity in which they are found. Thus we find first renal calculi, formed
in the kidney (Plato xi, Fig. 1), and which for cattle must be again
divided into calculi of the uriniferous tubes, and calculi of the pelrix.
The second class are named uretral calculi, because they are found in
the duct leading from the kidney to the bladder (ureter). The tliird
class are the vesical calculi, from the bladder or vesicle in which they
are found. The fourth class are the urethral calculi, and arc found in
the duct leading outward from the bladder through the penis (urethra).
The fifth and last class are the preputial calculi, since they are found
within the sheath of the penis (prepuce).

Calculi may also be classed according to their chemical composition,
and this has the advantage of suggesting the special cause of each as
found in the food, water, soil, or general condition of health. This
classification affords no guide to their location nor symptoms, as calculi
of the same chemical composition may be found at any part of the uri-
nary passages, as those formed in the kidney may pass on through all
the various passages outward, unless it is found at any point of their
progress that they have grown so largo that the passage will not admit
them. The following are among the concretions found in the various
parts :

(1) Coralline calculi. These are of a dull white color and irregular
surface, like coral. They are made up of hard and resistant layers
evenly deposited around a central nucleus. (Plate xi, Fig. .'*.) Their


specific gravity is 1760, water being 1000, and they coitain 74 per cent
of carbonate of lime with some carbonate of magnesia, organic matter,
and a trace of carbonate of iron. Yellowish-white, smooth, round cal-
culi of the same chemical composition are met with.

(2) Pearly calculi. These are more frequent than the first named
variety. They are very hard and smooth on the surface, reflecting a
play of various colors after the fashion of a pearl. This peculiarity
appears to be caused by the thinness and semi-transparency of the
superposed layers. They have a specific gravity of 2109 to 2351, and
nearly the same chemical composition as the coralline variety. Golding
Bird found a specimen of this kind formed of carbonate of lime and
organic matter only.

(3) Green calculi. Metalloid calculi. These are usually small and
numerous, as they are exceedingly common. They are of a very hard
consistency, and have a clear, polished, greenish surface of almost
metallic brilliancy. They have a specific gravity of 2301, and a compo-
sition almost identical with the second variety.

(4) White calculi. Pure, white, smooth, lustrous calculi are rare.
They have a specific gravity of 2307, and contain as much as- 92 per
cent of carbonate of lime with carbonate of magnesia and organic

(5) Ammonio-magnesium calculi. These are of a grayish color and a
very rough crystalline surface, which proves very irritating to the
mucous membrane. They have a specific gravity of 1109 to 1637, and
are composed chiefly of ammonio-magnesium phosphate, oxalate of
lime, and organic matter, with some little carbonate of lime and mag-

(6) Siliceous calculi. These are clear, smooth, and hard, and usually
spherical. They have a specific gravity of 1265 to 1376, and contain
57 per cent of silica with carbonates of iron and magnesia, organic
matter, and traces of iron. In other specimens of siliceous calculi there
was a specific gravity of 3122, and there was 79 to 85 per cent of car-
bonate of lime together with carbonate of magnesia, and iron, silica,
and organic matter. Others are almost exclusively made of silica.

(7) Oxalate of lime calculi. Mulberry calculi (Plate xi, Fig. 2). These
are characterized by their extremely rough, angular surface, formed by
the octahedral crystals of oxalate of lime. Their specific gravity may
be 3441, and they contain oxalate of lime to the extent of 81 per cent,
together with carbonates of lime and magnesia and organic matter.

(8) Gravel. Pultaceous deposits. Simple crystals may be met with
at any point from the kidneys to the external opening at the end of the
prepuce (sheath), and they may appear singly, as crystals, or they may
accumulate in masses of fine spherical crystals almost like dirty pow-
dered chalk suspended in water. In the ox this is especially common
as a collection in the sheath, distending that into a soft doughy swelling.



Apart from the rough crystalline surfaces of the calculi of oxalate of
lime and ammonio-magnesium phosphate, the general tendency is to a
smooth, round outline. At times, however, they show more or less flat-
tening with rounded angular edges, caused by the contact and mutual
friction of two calculi. Sometimes two or more stones lying together
become united into one by a new external deposit, and the resulting
mass then shows rounded swellings on opposite sides. The large cal-
culi occupying the pelvis of the kidneys usually shows a central part
having the outline of the main cavity of the pelvis and two or more
projections that have been molded into corresponding branches or chan-
nels which lead to corresponding lobes of the kidney. In winter and
spring small concretions in the form of plates are often met with in the
branches of the pelvis, having been formed and molded in the confined
space between the projecting papilla and the surrounding cup-like
branch of the pelvis. Finally, the pulp-like deposits in the sheath and
elsewhere are made up of globular masses, individually so small as to
be often practically microscopic.

[Plate XI, Fig. I.]

In an animal leading the quiet, uneventful life of the ox, stones of
large size may be present in the kidney without producing any disorder
appreciable to the people about him. In cattle fattened on dry food in
winter, on our inagnesian limestone of New York, it is exceptional to
find the substance of the kidney free from calculi about the size of a
grain of wheat or less, and standing out as white objects in the general
red of the cut surface of the organ. Similarly around the papillae in
tin- cup-like arms of the pelvis we find minute flattened or more or less
rounded yellowish-white concretions. Even the large concretions may
prove apparently harmless. I have a calculus several ounces in weight
filling the entire pelvis of the kidney, which was found by accident in
a fat carcass while being dressed. In work oxen, however, such concre-
tions may give rise to symptoms of kidney disease, such as stiffness of
the loins, shown especially in the acts of rising or turning, weakness of
the hind parts when set to pull a heavy load, an irritability of the kid-
neys, shown by the frequent passage of urine in small quantity, tender-
ness of the loins, shown when they are pinched or lightly struck, and it
may be the passage of blood or minute gritty masses with the urine.
If the attack is severe, what is called renal colic (kidney colic) may bo
shown by frequent uneasy shifting of the hind limbs, shaking or twist-
ing of the tail, looking round at the flanks, and lying down and rising
again at short intervals without apparent cause. The frequent pass-
age of urine, the-, blood or gritty masses contained in it, and perhaps
the hard stony cylinders around the tufts of hair of the sheath, show
that the source of the Buffering is the urinary organs. In bad cases act-
ive inflammation of the kidneys may set in. (See Nephritis.)
24f,97 11



These are small stones which have passed from the pelvis of the
kidney into the canal (ureter) leading from the kidney to the bladder,
but being too large to pass on easily have blocked that canal and forced
the urine back upon the kidney. The result is the production of symp-
toms more violent than in renal calculi, though not varying, save in
intensity, from those of renal colic. In case of complete and unrelieved
obstruction, the secretion of the kidney on that side is entirely abolished,
and it becomes the seat of passive congestion, and it may even be
absorbed in greater part or as a whole, leaving only a fibrous sac con-
taining fluid with a urinous odor. In small cattle, in which the oiled
hand introduced into the last gut may reach the affected part, the dis-
tended ureter may be felt as a tense, elastic cord, extending forward
from the point of obstruction on the lateral wall of the pelvis and
beneath the loins toward the kidney. If relief is obtained by the
onward passage of the stone a free flow of urine usually follows, in
the midst of which may often be found gritty masses. If the outlets
from both kidneys are similarly blocked, the animal becomes poisoned
by the retention in the blood of the elements of the urine, and by their
reabsorption after secretion.

Treatment of renal and urcieral calculi. Treatment is not very suc-
cessful, as only the smallest calculi can pass through the ureter and
enter the bladder, and even if they should do so they are liable to a pro-
gressive increase there, so that later they may cause the symptoms ot
stone in the bladder. Fortunately, ordinary dairy, growing, or fatten-
ing cattle rarely show evident symptoms of illness, and though they
should do so they can usually be fattened and slaughtered before the
health is seriously impaired. In work oxen the case is different, and
acute symptoms may develop, but even then the animal may often be
fitted for the butcher. When treatment is demanded it is primarily
soothing and autispasinodic. Fomentations with warm water over the
loins should be persisted in without intermission until relief has been
secured. The soothing effect on the kidney will often relieve inflam-
mation and irritation, should the stone be in that situation, while if in
the ureter the warm fomentations will at once soothe irritation, relax
spasm of the muscular coat of the canal, and favor an abundant secre-
tion from the kidney, which, pressing on the obstructing stone, may
slowly push it on into the bladder. Large doses of laudanum (2 ounces)
or of solid extract of belladonna (2 drams) will not only soothe the pain
but relax the spasm and favor the onward passage of the calculus. The
animal should be encouraged to drink large quantities of cool water to
favor the free secretion of a very watery urine, which will not only serve
to obviate irritation and continued deposit caused by a highly concen-

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 18 of 56)