United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

. (page 20 of 56)
Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 20 of 56)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

certainty. Fleming piven 79 per cent as the general average of cows
that are found to breed in one year. Here more than a lifth of the


progeny is sacrificed, and a fifth of the product of the dairy. With
careful management the proportion of breeders should approach 100
per cent. The various local and general obstacles to conception should
be carefully investigated and removed. The vigorous health which
comes from a sufficiently liberal diet and abundant exercise should be
solicited, and that comparative bloodlessness and weakness which
advances with undue fattening should be sedulously avoided. In bull
or cow which is becoming unduly fat and showing indications of sexual
indifference the treatment must be active. Turning out on a short pas-
ture where it must work hard for a living will often suffice. The bull
which can not be turned out to pasture may sometimes be utilized in
the yoke or tread power, or he may be kept a part of his time in a field
or paddock chained by the ring in his nose to a strong wire extending
from one side of the lot to the other, attached securely to two trees or
posts. The wire should be higher than the back of the bull, which will
move from end to end at frequent intervals. If he is indisposed to take
sufficient exercise in this way he may be safely driven. An instance of
the value of exercise in these incipient cases of fatty degeneration is
often quoted. The cow "Dodona," condemned as barren at Earl Spen-
cer's, was sold cheap to Jonas Webb, who had her driven by road a
distance of 120 miles to his farm at Wilbraham, soon after which she
became pregnant. In advanced cases, however, in which the fatty
degeneration is complete, recovery is impossible.

In case of rigid closure of the mouth of the womb the only resort is
dilatation. This is far more difficult and uncertain in the cow than in
the mare. The neck of the womb is longer, is often tortuous in its
course, and its walls so approximated to each other and so rigid that it
may be all but impossible to follow it, and there is always danger of
perforating its walls and opening into the cavity of the abdomen, or
short of that of causing inflammation and a new rigid fibrous formation
which, on healing, leaves matters worse than before. The opening must
be carefully made with the finger, and when that has entered the womb
further dilatation may be secured by inserting a sponge tent or by
careful stretching with a mechanical dilator. (Plate xx, Fig. 6.)


The question as to whether a bull is a sure stock-getter and whether
a cow is a breeder are so important that it would be wrong to pass over
other prominent causes of sterility. Breeding at too early an age
is a common source of increasing weakness of constitution which
has obtained in certain breeds. Jerseys have especially been made
the victims of this mistake, the object being to establish the highest
milking powers in the smallest obtainable body which will demand the
least material and outlay for its constant repair of waste. With suc-
cess in this line there has been the counterbalancing disadvantage of
impaired vigor, with too often lessened fertility as well as increased


predisposition to disease. When the heifers of the race have for gener-
ation after generation been bred under a year old, the demand for the
nourishment of the fetus is too great a drain on the immature animal,
which accordingly remains small and stunted. As it fails fo develop
in size so every grgan fails to be nourished to perfection. Similarly
with the immature bull put to too many cows; he fails to develop his
full size, vigor, or stamina, and transfers his acquired weakness to his
progeny. An increasing number of barren females and an increasing
proclivity to abortions are the necessary results of both courses. When
this early breeding has occurred accidentally it is well to dry up the
dam just after calving, and to avoid having her served again until full

Some highly -fed and plethoric females seem to escape conception by
the very intensity of the generative ardor. The frequent passage of
urine accompanied by contractions of the womb and vagina and a pro-
niM> secretion from their surfaces, leads to the expulsion of the semen
after it has been lodged in the genital passages. This may b$ reme-
<lird somewhat by bleeding the cow shortly before putting to the bull,
so as to diminish the richness and stimulating quality of the blood; or
better by giving a pound and a half of Epsom salts a day or two before
she comes in heat, and subjecting her at the same time to a spare diet.
Should the excessive ardor of the cow not be controllable in this way
she may be shut up for a day or two, until the heat is passing off, when
under the lessened excitement the semen is more likely to be retained.

The various diseases of the ovaries, their tubes, the womb, the tes-
ticles and their excretory ducts, as referred to under Excess of Genera-
tive Ardor, are causes of barrenness. In this connection it maybe
named that the discharges consequent on calving are fatal to the vitality
of semen introduced before these have ceased to flow, hence service too
soon after calving, or that of a cow which has had the womb or genital
passages injured so as to keep up a muco purulent flow until the animal
comes in heat, is liable to fail of conception. Any such discharge should
be first arrested by related injections as for leucorrhu>a, after which
the male may be admitted.

Feeding on a very saccharine diet, which greatly favors the deposition
of fat, seems to have an even more direct effort in preventing conception
during such regimen. Among other causes of barrenness are all those
that favor abortion, crgotcd grasses, smutty wheat or corn, laxative or
diuretic drinking water, and any improper or musty feed that causes
indigestions, colics, and diseases of the, urinary organs, notably gravel;
also savin, rue, cuntharidcH and all other irritants of the bowels or

Hermaphrodites are barren, of course, as their sexual organs are not
distinctively either male or female. The heifer born a.s a twin with a
bull is usually hermaphrodite and barren. Hut the animals of either sex
in which development of the organs is arrested before they are fully


matured, remain as in the male or female prior to puberty, and are barren.
Jiulls -with both testicles retained within the abdomen may go through
the form of serving a. cow, but the service is unfruitful; the sperma-
tozoa are not fully elaborated. So I have examined a heifer with a
properly formed but very small womb, and an extremely narrow vagina
and vulva, the walls of which were very muscular, that could never be
made to conceive. A post-mortem examination would probably have
disclosed an imperfectly formed ovary incapable of bringing ova to

A bull and cow that have been too closely inbred in the same line for
generations may prove sexually incompatible and unable to generate
together, though both are abundantly prolific when coupled with animals
of other strains of blood.

Finally a bull may prove unable to get stock, not from any lack of sex-
ual development, but from disease of other organs (back, loins, hind
limbs), which renders him unable to mount with the energy requisite to
the perfect service.


This usually results from blows or other direct injuries, but may be
.. the result of excessive service or of the formation of some new growth
(tumor) in the gland tissue. The bull moves stiffly, with straddling
gait, and the right or left half of the scrotum in which the affected tes-
ticle lies is swollen, red, and tender, and the gland is drawn up within
the sac and dropped down again at frequent intervals. It may be treated
by rest, 1 pounds Epsom salts given in 4 quarts water, by a restricted
diet of some succulent food; by continued fomentations with warm
water by means of sponges or rags sustained by a sling passed around
the loins and back between the hind legs. The pain may be allayed
by smearing with a solution of opium or of extract of belladonna.
Should a soft point appear indicating the formation of matter it may
be opened with a sharp lancet and the wound treated daily with a solu-
tion of a teaspoonful of carbolic acid in a half pint of water. Usually,
however, when the inflammation has proceeded to this extent the gland
will be ruined for purposes of procreation and must be cut out. (See
Castration, p. 316.)


While this may occur in bulls from infection during copulation and
from bruises, blows, and other mechanical injuries, the condition is
more common in the ox in connection with the comparative inactivity
of the parts. The sheath has a very small external opening, the mucous
membrane of which is studded with sebaceous glands secreting a thick
unctuous matter of a strong, heavy odor. Behind this orifice is a dis-
tinct pouch, in which this unctuous matter is liable to accumulate when
the penis is habitually drawn back. Moreover, the sheath has two mus-


cles which lengthen it (protractors) passing into it from the region of
the navel, and two that shorten it (retractors) passing into it from the
lower surface of the pelvic bones above. (Plate ix, Fig. 2.) The protract-
ors keep the sheath stretched so that it habitually covers the penis,
while the retractors shorten it up in the act of service, so that the penis
can project to its full extent. In stud bulls the frequent protrusion of
the erect and enlarged penis and the retraction and dilatation of the
opening of the sheath serve to empty the pouch and prevent any accumu-
lation of sebaceous matter or urine,. In the ox, on the other hand, the
undeveloped and inactive penis is usually drawn back so as to leave
the anterior preputial pouch empty, so that the sebaceous matter has
spare to accumulate and is never expelled by the active retraction of
the sheath and protrusion of the erect penis in service. Again, the ox
rarely protrudes the tip of the penis in urination, the urine is discharged
into the preputial pouch and lodges and decomposes there so that there
is a great liability to the precipitation of ite earthy salts in the form of
gravel. The decomposing aminoniacal urine, the gritty crystals pre-
cipitated from it, and the fetid, rancid, sebaceous matter set up inflam-
mation in the delicate mucous membrane lining the passage. The mem-
brane is thickened, reddened, rendered friable and ultimately ulcerated,
and the now narrowed sheath is blocked by the increasing mass of
sebaceous and urinons material and the decomposing mucus and pus.
The penis can no longer be protruded, the urine escapes in a small
stream tb rough the narrowing sheath, and finally the outlet is com-
pletely blocked and the urine distends the back part of the sheath.
This will fluctuate on being handled, and soon the unhealthy inflam-
mation extends on each side of it, causing a thick, doughy, tender
swelling under the belly and between the thighs. The next step in the
morbid course is over-distension of the bladder, with the occurrence of
colicky pains, looking at the flanks, uneasy movements of the hind limbs,
raising or twisting of the tail, pulsatory contractions of the urethra
under the anus, and finally a false appearance of relief, which is caused
by rupture of the bladder. Before this rupture takes place the dis-
tended bladder may press on the rectum and obstruct the passage of
the bowel dejections. Two mistakes are therefore probable: first, that
the bowels alone are to be relieved, and, second, that the trouble
is obstruction of the urethra by a stone, Hence the need of examining
the sheath and pushing the finger into its opening to see that there is
no obstruction there, in all cases of retention of urine, over-distended
bladder, or blocked rectum in the ox. The disease may be acute or
chronic, the first by reason of acute adhesive inflammation blocking
the outlet, the second by gradual thickening and ulceration of the
sheath and blocking by the sebaceous and calculous accretions.

The treatment of this affection will depend on the stage. If recent
and no instant danger of rupture of the bladder, the narrow opening of
the sheath should be freely cut open in the median line below, and the


sac emptied out with a finger or spoon, after which it should be thor-
oughly washed with tepid water. To make the cleansing more thor-
ough a catheter or a small rubber tube may be inserted well back into
the sheath, and water may be forced through it from a syringe or a run-
nel inserted into the other end of the tube and considerably elevated. A
fountain syringe, which should be found in every house, answers admira-
bly. The sheath may be daily washed out with tepid water, with a
suds made with castile soap, or with a weak solution of sulphate of zinc
(one-half dram to a quart of water). If these attentions are impossible,
most cases, after cleansing, will do well if merely driven through clean
water up to the belly once a day^

In case the disease has progressed to absolute obstruction, with the
bladder ready to rupture any moment, no time must be lost in opening
into the urethra with a sharp knife over the bony arch under the anus,
where the pulsations are seen in urinating. This incision is best made
in the median line from above downward, but in the absence of a skill-
ful operator a transverse incision with a sharp knife over the bone in
the median line until the urine flows with a gush is better than to let
the patient die. Considerable blood will be lost and the wound will
heal tardily, but the ox will be preserved. Then the slitting and cleans-
ing of the sheath can be done at leisure as described above. In case
the bladder is ruptured the case is hopeless.


This also is an aJffection of work oxen, caused by the pressure
and friction of the sling when the animals are held in the stocks for
shoeing. This crushing of both sheath and penis for half an hour or
more leads to the development, some hours later, of a hard, hot, and
painful swelling, extending from the scrotum as far as the opening of
the sheath. Fever sets in, with dry muzzle, red eyes, hard, full, rapid
pulse, accelerated breathing and elevated temperature. The ox stands
obstinately with his hind legs drawn apart and urine falling drop by
drop from the sheath. Appetite and rumination are suspended. In
twenty-four hours there may be indications of advancing gangrene
(mortification), the swelling becomes cold, soft, and doughy; it may
even crack slightly from the presence of gas, a reddish brown fetid
liquid oozes from the swelling, especially around the edges, and if the
animal survives it is only with a great loss of substance of the sheath
and penis.

The prevention of such an injury is easy. It is only necessary to see
that the slings shall not press upon the posterior part of the abdomen.
They must be kept in front of the sheath.

Treatment, to be effectf ' ?, must be prompt and judicious. Put a
strap around the patient with soft pads in contact with the affected
parts, constantly soaked in cold water for at least twenty-four hours.
A pound or two of Epsom salts in 4 quarts of hot water should also be


given. The second day the parts may be washed with 1 quart of witch-
hazel (extract), 2 drams sugar of lead, and 1 ounce laudanum, or the
cold water irrigations may be continued if the active inflammation per-
sists. In case the swelling continues hard and resistant it may be
pricked at the most prominent points to the depth of one-third of
an inch, with a lancet first dipped in dilute carbolic acid, and the
whole surface should be washed frequently with chlorine water or
other antiseptic.

When softening occurs in the center of a hard mass and fluctuation
can be felt between two fingers pressed on different parts of such soft-
ening, it should be freely opened to let out the putrid pus and the cavity
should be syringed often with chlorine water.

In bad cases extensive sloughs of dead skin, of the whole wall of the
sheath, and even of the penis, may take place, which will require care-
ful antiseptic treatment. The soaking of the urine into the inflamed
and softened tissue, and the setting up of putrefactive action not only
endangers great destruction of the tissues from putrid inflammation,
but even threatens life itself from a general blood poisoning (septicae-
mia.) Every case should have skillful treatment to meet its various
phases, but in the severe ones this is most urgently demanded.


Like other males, the bull sometimes suffers from inflammation of the
canal which conveys the urine through the penis, and forms a conse-
quent whitish inuco-puralent discharge. It may have originated in
gravels, the excitement of too frequent service, infection from a cow
with leucorrhrea, or from extension of inflammation from the sheath.
Beside the oozing of the whitish liquid from the end of the penis and
sheath, there is tenderness and pain when handled, and while there is
no actual arrest of the urine, its flow is subject to frequent voluntary
checks, as the scalding liquid irritates the tender surface. If recognized
before the discharge sets in a dose of Ig pounds of Epsom salts, and
local warm fomentations would be appropriate. After the onset of the
whitish discharge a daily injection into the penis of a solution of 20
grains of permanganate of potash in a pint of water will be beneficial.


These arc not frequent in bull or ox. They may interfere with the
protrusion of the organ from its sheath or with service, and always give
rise to a bad smelling discharge. They may be twisted off with the
thumb and forefinger, or cut off with a pair of scissors and the seat
burned with a pencil of lunar caustic. To got hold of the penis in the
bull bring him up to a cow. In the ox it will bo necessary to push it
out by manipulation through the Hheath. In difficult cases the narrow
opening of the sheath may be slit open.
24097 12




The most common wounds are those sustained by blows of horns,
sticks, etc. The blood-vessels and sacs are ruptured to a greater or less
extent and considerable swellings filled with coagulated blood and
inflammatory products occur, leading to distortion of the organ, audit
may be to the impossibility of protruding it. A lotion of a dram of
alum in a quart of water may be applied (injected into ^the sheath, if
necessary), and a large sponge constantly irrigated by a stream of cold
water may be kept applied by means of a surcingle to the outer side
of the sheath. Incisions are rarely applicable to an organ of this kind,
but in case of the existence of an extensive clot which is unlikely to
be absorbed the lancet may be resorted to.

If the injury leads to paralysis of the penis and hanging out of its
sheath, it should be supported in a sling and astringents used freely
until inflammation subsides. Then the restoration of power may be
sought by a blister between the thighs, by the use of electricity, or by
the careful use of nerve stimulants, such as strychnia (2 grains daily).


Sores on the penis of the bull may result from gravel or sebaceous
masses in the sheath, or from having served a cow with leucorrhoea.
They may be treated by frequent injections into the sheath of a lotion
made with 1 dram sugar of lead, 60 drops carbolic acid and 1 quart


A polypus is a tumor growing from the mucous membrane, and often
connected to it by a narrow neck. A definite cause can not always be
assigned. If growing in the vagina a polypus may project as a red-
dish, rounded tumor from the vulva, especially during the act of passing
water. It can be distinguished from descent of the womb by the
absence of the orifice of that cavity, which can be felt by the oiled
hand beyond the tumor in the depth of the vagina. From a A T aginal
hernia caused by the protrusion of some abdominal organ enveloped
by the relaxed wall of the vagina it may be distinguished by its per-
sistence, its firm substance and the impossibility of returning it into
the abdomen by pressure. A hernia containing a portion of bowel gur-
gles when handled and can be completely effaced by pressure, the gut"
passing back into the abdomen.

A polypus iii the womb is less easily recognized. At the time of
calving it may be felt through the open mouth of the womb and recog-
nized by the educated touch (it must be carefully distinguished from
the mushroom-formed cotyledons (Plate xni, Fig. 2), to which in rumi-
nants the fetal membranes are attached). At other times, unless the
womb is opened in the effort to expel it, the polypus can only be detected


by examining the womb with the oiled hand introduced through the
rectum. *.

Polypi may cause a inuco-puruleut discharge, or they may only be
suspected when they prove an obstacle to parturition. The best way
to remove them is to put the chain of an ecraseur around the neck or
pedicel of the tumor and tear it through ; or the narrow neck may be
torn through by the emasculator, or in an emergency it may be twisted
through by rotating the tumor on its own axis. The removal of the
tumor will allow calving to proceed, after which the sore may be treated
by a daily injection of one-half dram sulphate of zinc, 1 dram carbolic
acid, and 1 quart milk-warm water.


If a cow remains for three or four weeks after service without show-
ing signs of heat (bulling) she is probably pregnant. There are very
exceptional cases in which the well-fed cow will accept the bull weeks
or months after actual conception, and others equally exceptional in
which the well-thriven but unimpregnated female will refuse the male
persistently, but these in no way invalidate the general rule.

The bull, no matter how vigorous nor how ardent his sexual instinct,
can not be made to pay any attention to a cow which is not in heat ;
hence indications of pregnacy can be had from both the male and female
side. When she has conceived the cow usually becomes more quiet and
docile, and lays on flesh and fat more rapidly, especially during the first
four months of gestation. The stimulus to digestion and nutrition
created by the demands of the growing fetus, added to the quieter and
more uneventful life, contributes to this result. Some feeders avail of
this disposition to prepare heifers and cows speedily for the butcher.

The enlargement of the abdomen, and its dropping so that it bulges
below and to each side, while it falls in at the flank, between the outer
angle of the hip bone and the last rib, are significant features which,
though they may be caused by abdominal tumor or dropsy, are usually
marks of pregnancy. From the same increasing weight of the abdomen
the spine in the region of the loins sinks so that the bones of the croup
seem to rise, especially back towards the root of the tail. In the early
stages of pregnancy the udder develops slowly, and towards its comple-
tion quite rapidly. For a long time there is merely a sense of greater
fullness when handled; the wrinkles in the skin become shallower and
arc effaced, and the teats are materially enlarged. Beginning a few
weeks after conception, this tends to a steady development, though
slight, alternations in the sense of successive growth and shrinkage are
not uncommon. In milking-cows this does not hold, as the milk usually
tends to a steady diminution and the udder shrinks slowly until near
the completion of the ]>eriod, when it undergoes its sudden remarkable
development, and yields at first a serous liquid and (hen the yellow
colostrum, which coagulates when heated. AB pregnancy advances the


mucous membrane lining the vulva becomes swollen and of a darker
bluish red hue, and the mucous secretion increases, becoming very
abundant just before calving. When the feeding has not been altered
nor restricted a steady diminution of the salts of lime, excreted in the
urine, is an attendant on pregnancy, the lime being demanded for the
growing body of the fetus.

After the fifth month the movements of the calf may often be observed

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 20 of 56)