United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

. (page 33 of 56)
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bone affected, or maybe confined to only a portion of it; inflammation
of the covering of the bone (periostitis) ; formation of tumor or enlarge-
ment on the surface of a bone (exostosis), which is liable to occur in any
part of the bone covered with periosteum, and is a common result of
inflammation of that membrane, which, when it occurs in the neighbor-
hood of a joint and involves two or more bones, is likely to result in their
union (anchylosis). The inflammatory condition sometimes assumes an
ulcerated form (caries), which from interrupted nutrition of the part
deprived of* the blood necessary to its nourishment occasionally dies,
and becoming separated from the main portion of the bone, acts as a
foreign body (necrosis). Soft bones (mollities ossium) is the condition
found in young animals in which the proportion of inorganic or earthy
matter is too small to give the necessary stability, so that the bones,
particularly of the limbs, bend. Kickets or bending of the bones arises
from this condition. In some cases the long bones of the limb are too
weak at birth to support the weight of the animal, and temporary splints
carefully padded and wrapped on with soft bandages become necessary.
Hard bones (fragilitas ossium) is the condition opposite to that last
described, and occurs in old animals, where through deficiency of ani-
mal or organic matter the bones become unduly hard and brittle, ren-
dering them more liable to fracture and more difficult to unite when
such an accident occurs. With this little introduction, which seems
almost indispensable, we will proceed at once to the consideration of


The most common accident occurring to bones and joints is a sprain
of the ligaments uniting the bones, or the tendons uniting the muscles


and bones. A sprain is the result of a sudden forcing of a-joint in an
unnatural direction; or, if in a natural direction, beyond the power of
the ligament or tendon to properly restrain it, so that part of the fibers
of either are ruptured. When such an accident occurs pain is imme-
diately inflicted, varying in degree with the extent of the injury, which
is soon followed by swelling, with more or less heat and tenderness.
If the seat of the injury be in any of the limbs lameness is likely to be
the result. Of the causes of sprain, slipping on ice or a wet floor,
playing or fighting with another animal are the most common.

Sprain of the shoulder joint. This is likely to occur from any of the
eauses mentioned above or from the animal slipping suddenty in a rut
or hole. When such an accident occurs sudden lameness will attract
attention. The animal will be noticed to drag the leg when walking,
at each step carrying it in a circular direction, outward and forward.
The leg should be carefully examined, pressure over the joint causing
the animal to evince pain. If the person making the examination is in
doubt it is well to make a comparison between the shoulders by press-
ing first on one and then the other. After such an accident the animal
should be tied up so as to limit as far as possible the use of the injured
joint. Soft food -should be given with a view to keeping the bowels
acting freely. The first part of the treatment may consist of an appli-
cation of extract of witch-hazel twice a day, freely applied around the
injury. Should the lameness continue after the tenth day good results
will be obtained from the application of a blister, which should be done
by carefully clipping the hair off over the joint, including a surface of
4 or 5 inches in circumference, and rubbing in the following preparation :

Powdered eantharides ^ ounce.

Spirits of turpentine 2 drums.

Vaseline 1$ ounce.

The animal's head should be carefully tied to prevent licking the
blister until the third day. The blistered surface should then be
smeared with lard or vaseline every other day until the scabs fall off.
Gentle exercise should be allowed after the fourth or fifth day from the
application of tho blister. If the lameness still remains the blister may
be repeated in three weeks or a month.

Sprain of the Fetlock. This may occur from misstep when the animal
is moving rapidly and the twisting or wrenching of the foot is Miflicicnt
to partially rupture the ligaments which bind the bones together at
that part. Such an accident also frequently occurs from the foot becom-
ing lash-iied in a hole in the lloor, and the wrenching is the result of
the animal's attempt to liberate it. Lameness, followed by swelling of
the joint and pain when it is handled, or when the animal moves the
joint, and heat, are the more noticeable symptoms. If the sprain be
very severe the animal occasionally does not bear its weight on tho
limb. Careful bathing with eold water, followed by the application of
extract of witch-hazel or tincture of arnica and careful bandaging should


be the immediate treatment. If the lameness has not disappeared by
the fourth day, the blister advised for the sprain of the shoulder should
be applied, and the same precautions observed as to tying the animal's
head and subsequent smearing with vaseline. When a blister is applied
in this locality the back part of the heel should be first filled with lard
or vaseline, and care taken to prevent any of the blistering preparation
from coming in contact with the skin of that part. If this precaution
is not observed scratches may ensue and prove troublesome.

Sprain of the hip. This is likely to result from the animal slipping in
such a way as to spread the hind feet wide apart. The patient goes
stiff with the hind legs, or lame with one hind leg, walking with a strad-
dling gait, and swinging the leg outward as it is carried forward. Ten-
derness may occasionally be detected on pressure, but owing to the
heavy covering of muscles outside of the joint this test is not always
reliable. During the early stages medical treatment is not likely to be
of much service. After the fourth or fifth day the blister mentioned in
"Sprain of the Shoulder" may be applied with advantage.

Sprain of the lack. Sprain of the back, particularly in the region of
the loins, is not an uncommon accident among cattle. It is likely to
occur from the animal slipping with both hind feet sideways so as to
twist the back ; or the feet slipping violently backward so that great
stress is thrown on the loins. The patient moves with difficulty, using
the hind parts in a guarded manner as if afraid of causing severe pain.
Occasionally if the sprain is severe the animal will rise with difficulty.
Pressure on the back in the immediate region of the loins causes pain.
Such cases may be mistaken for paralysis, and in fact in severe cases
although the nerve supply is not interfered with, the injury to the mus-
cles and resulting pain is so great that the condition is almost equal to
paralysis during the early stages of the injury, although likely to be
attended with more favorable results. Hot applications, as blankets
wrung out of hot water and changed at short intervals, will be likely
to afford relief during the earlier stages. Afterwards the cantharides
blister mentioned in sprain of shoulder may be applied with advantage.


Bones may be accidentally broken in many ways and from different
causes. Fractures in general are likely to be produced by external
force suddenly and violently applied, either directly to the part or at a
distance, the force being transmitted through the stronger bones until
it expends itself by breaking a weaker one remote from the seat of the
injury. Occasionally violent contraction of muscles is sufficient to
break a bone. Certain bones are more liable to fracture than others,
those of the limbs in particular, owing to their exposed position. The
bones of some animals are more easily fractured than those of others,
owing to certain predisposing causes, such as age, habit, or hereditary
constitutional weakness. The bones of an animal advanced in years



are more subject to fracture because of the preponderance of inorganic
matter rendering them more brittle. They are also occasionally ren-
dered liable to fracture by a previously existing diseased condition.
Fractures are divided into four classes : Partial, simple, compound, and

Partial fractures are those which are likely to occur in a young
animal in which the preponderance of animal matter or the semi-carti-
laginous condition of the bone renders it tough, so that considerable
force must be applied before fragments of the bone are dissolved, and
even then the bone bends, breaking on the side opposite that to which
the force was applied, after the manner in which a green stick would
bend and break.

Simple fracture is one in which the bone is severed in two parts,
either in a line directly through the bone, or obliquely, without serious
injury to the adjoining structures.

Compound fracture is one in which there is an open wound communi-
cating with the ends of the broken bones.

Comminuted fracture is one in which the bone is shattered or divided
into a number of fragments.

General symptoms of fracture. When a fracture of one or more of the
large bones of a limb occurs, symptoms are sure to be well marked.
After the accident the animal refuses to touch the foot to the ground,
and if compelled to move does so with great pain and reluctance. There
is more or less shortening of the limb, with trembling of the muscles in
the vicinity of the injury, deformity, and increased mobility, so that in-
stead of the natural joints of the limb and the natural muscular con-
trol of their motion a new joint is formed where the fracture occurred,
over which tlw animal has no control. As the leg hangs dependent
from the body, shortened by the ends of the bones being forced past one
another from the muscular contraction which invariably takes place, it
swings in an awkward and unnatural manner, permitting the toe and
foot to assume positions in their relations to other parts of the body
which otherwise would be impossible. If the fractured bone is so situ-
ated that the parts may be moved one upon another, a grating sound,
known as crepitus, will be observed.

General treatment of fracture*. When a fracture occurs the advisa-
bility of attempting treatment must first be determined. If the animal
be young, valuable, and of reasonably quiet temperament, and the frac-
ture not too great in extent, the chances of recovery are fair. On the
other hand, if the animal should be of little value, irritable, advanced
in years, and the fracture a serious compound or comminuted one, the
wiser course would generally be to put the creature out of its misery.
Having determined to attempt treatment no time should bo lost in re-
storing the parts as nearly a possible to their natural position and
retaining them there. If the ends of the bones have been drawn past
one another, they should by tirm and continuous tension he drawn out



until they again assume the position in which they were before the
accident. All this can better be done before the swelling which is
sun- to result takes place. If the swelling has occurred before the
injury is noticed do not attempt to treat it, but proceed at once to treat
the fracture as though the swelling were not present, for no step can
be taken toward recovery until the ends of the bone have been restored
to proper position. When that is done and proper appliances have
been used to prevent them from being again misplaced, the swelling,
which is the result of irritation, will be relieved. In selecting the appli-
ances to be used in the treatment of fracture, the judgment and inge-
nuity of the operator are of much importance. Splints, made of wood
shaped to fit the limb, and padded with soft material where they come
in contact with bony prominences, and held in position by means of
bandages, are the oldest method, and with some are still the most
popular. The fracture-pads used in human surgery, and for sale in
surgical depots, are very convenient. After being dipped in water
they may be molded to fit the limb and be retained by means of ban-
dages. Heavy sole leather is also used after being soaked in warm
water and molded to the shape of the limb and holes cut in it to fit
over any sharp irregularities in the natural shape of the bones. Gutta-
percha sheets are also used and answer well. They are prepared and
used in the same way as the leather.

Another, and perhaps the simplest of all methods, is the application
of a plaster ol Paris bandage, which is made as follows : Strips of thin
cheese-cloth, 3 inches wide and 8 or 9 feet long, are laid flat on a board
and on them is spread a layer of plaster of Paris about one-eighth of an
inch thick, then starting at one end rolling carefully so as to gather the
plaster in between the layers of the bandage. It is, of course, impor-
tant that the cloth be thin and the plaster of Paris fresh and active.
After preparing four or five of such bandages the operator is ready to
dress the fracture, which, after the parts have been brought into posi-
tion, should be done by covering all that part of the limb to which the
plaster of Paris bandage is to be applied with a single layer of the dry
bandage, letting it extend both above and below the part to which the
plaster of Paris bandage is to be applied and including under the folds
of the dry bandage at each end a layer of absorbent cotton, which is
intended to form a pad to prevent the ends of the plaster of Paris
bandage from chafing the skin beneath. When this is done one of the
plaster of Paris bandages should be placed in a vessel of water and
allowed to remain till the air-bubbles have ceased to arise from it, which
will generally indicate that it is soaked through. Then taking it in the
hand wind it carefully around and around the limb, unrolling the band-
age as it is wound around the limb, occasionally smoothing down the
plaster of Paris. Should it form roughly or in ridges the hand may be
dipped in water to impart increased moisture while doing so. When
about finished with one bandage place another one in the "water so that


the winding operation may be continued without delay. The bandages
should be. applied till the east is from one-half to three-quarters of an
inch thick; then gently restraining the animal for one-half or three-
quarters of an hour till the plaster is hardened. Any of the appliances
used should be so applied as to absolutely prevent any motion of tht
detached parts. If the fracture is near a joint it is generally best to
include the joint HI the appliance. The part of the limb below the
bandage should be carefully and firmly wrapped with an ordinary cot-
ton bandage all the way from the plaster bandage down to the hoof.
This last bandage will tend to prevent swelling, which is likely to occur;
tlu result of the dependent position in which the animal is forced by
nature to keep the injured limb. When plaster of Paris bandages are
applied to a compound fracture the injured part may be previously
.vith a small thick pad of cotton immediately over the wound.
In applying the bandage the operator may with a little care so arrange
it as to keep the folds of the bandages off the cotton, or have only a
tlii u layer over it, which may be easily cut out and the cotton removed,
leaving a convenient opening through which to dress the wound with-
out removing the bandage. The ends of the bandage or other appliance
should be carefully watched to see that the skin does not become
chafed, particularly at the lower end. If the bandage should become
weak or broken at any part it may be strengthened without removal by
applying other bandages immediately over it. If swelling has taken
place before the bandage has been applied there is likely to be some
loosening as it disappears, and even without the swelling there is likely
to be a tendency of the bandage to slide downward. This may be over-
come by fastening it to a suspender attached to a surcingle or passed
over the body and attached to the opposite leg. If the looseness can
not be overcome in this way the space may be filled .by pouring in
a thin paste of plaster of Paris. A better method, however, is to
remove the bandage and apply another. Owing to the hardness ot
the bandage it will be removed with som6 difficulty. A deep groove
should be cut down completely through it on the opposite sides. This
may be done with a chisel and a small hammer, if the bandage is care-
fully held by an assistant so that the concussion of the blows is not
transmitted to the injured bones. The patient should have a roomy
stall and should be tied by the head to prevent any attempts to move
around. In sonic cases slings have been used. Ordinarily, however,
they are not satisfactory in cattle practice, and if applied should only
be for a few days at a time and with a view to lessen the animal's dis
position to lie down, rather than to prevent it. \Vheu they are use* I
continuously the pressure on the abdomen is likely to interfere with
digestion and the general health of the animal.

Motif* of union. The animal should be kept as quiet as ]M>ssible and
given such food as will have a tendency to keep the bowels slightly
relaxed. The success of the operation will depend chiefly on the skill


of the operator, but not alone in the selecting and use of the appliances;
for as much attention must be given to subsequent management. The
patients are unreasonable, and a single awkward motion may undo the
work of weeks so far as the union of the parts of the bone is concerned.
It takes place after the same process and, if the conditions are favor-
able, with greater rapidity than in the human being. The injury that
caused the fracture is almost sure to have extended to some of the
adjacent tissues, and even though the fracture may be of the simplest
type there is almost sure to be considerable hemorrhage around the
ends of the broken bone. This, however, is unimportant if the skin
remains intact, unless a very large vessel should be injured, or the
fracture should open some of the important cavities of the body, in
which case a fatal hemorrhage might result. If, on the other hand, the
fracture be a compound one, the external opening furnishes a fertile field
for the lodgment of disease-producing germs. Unless great care is exer-
cised in such cases a suppurative process is likely to be established
which will seriously interfere with if not entirely arrest the process of
union between the bones; or it may become so serious as to endanger
the general health of the animal and even be attended with fatal
results. This last danger is greater where the injury has occurred to
the bones of the arm or thigh. In such cases, owing to the dense cov-
ering of fascia which ensheathes the muscular coA T ering, pus is likely
to be imprisoned, and burrowing downward saturate the whole struc-
ture, not only endangering the limb, but, being likely to be reabsorbed,'
may set up blood-poisoning and seriously interfere with the general
health of the patient, even to causing death. In order as far as possi-
ble to prevent such an unfortunate complication the wound should be
carefully cleansed with a mild solution of carbolic acid, then dusted
over with iodoform before the bandages are applied, and cleansed and
dressed daily in the same way. After dressing always cover with
absorbent cotton. In the early process of union an exudation of lymph
takes place, which is at first fluid, gradually becoming thicker and
firmer tilUt forms a, callus in the shape of a ring or ferrule surround-
ing the detached portions of the bone, known as the external or
en sheathing callus. It occasionally happens that this callus only forms
at the ends of the bones, filling the spaces that exist between them,
when it is known as the intermediate callus. The process of union
may be divided into five stages: In the first stage, including the first
eight days, the detached portions of the bone and the sharp projections
that are not sufficiently nourished are absorbed; the blood which
escaped into the surrounding tissues, the result of the injury, is grad-
ually absorbed and the effused lymph which is ultimately to constitute
the temporary cartilage takes its place. In the second stage, from the
tenth to the twentieth day, the tumor or callus is formed and fibro-
cartilage is developed inside and around the exposed end of the bone.
In the third stage, extending from the twentieth to the fortieth or tif-


tietii day, according to age and strength of the animal, the fibre-car-
tilaginous structure undergoes a change and is gradually converted
into bone, forming a ferule on the outside and a plug on the inside,
which serve to hold the part in position. In the fourth stage, extend-
ing to about the sixth month, the whole of the new structure is con-
verted into bone. The fifth stage, extending up to the end of the first
yrur, the callus is absorbed, being no longer necessary, and the connec-
tion between the cavities of the two bones is again established.

Common complications. The process of union just described is healthy
and normal. Diseased conditions may at any time supervene during
the treatment and render the operation unsuccessful. In the case of
compound fracture, the open wound communicating with the ends of
the bones, a septic condition is apt to arise which may become so seri-
ous as to endanger the animal's life and bring about conditions which
in human surgery would indicate amputation. Although that opera-
tion is not a general one in veterinary practice, there is no reason why
it should not be attempted as a last resort, particularly if the animal
be valuable, or one whose existence is necessary in order to perpetuate
some valuable strain. Even in the simplest form of fracture, if the
splints or bandages are improperly applied and the fractured bone left
so loosely guarded that the broken ends move one upon another, the
formation of the calluses previously described is likely to be interfered
with, and in place of a strong, rigid, and healthy union a formation of
elastic cartilage is the result. This false structure unites the broken
ends of the bones in such a way that they move one upon another,
depriving the bone of its stability and usefulness. When once the
healthy process of union is^jnterrupted in the manner just described, it
is with great difficulty that it can be again established. It no longer
does any good to continue the restraining power; in fact, the change
of the temporary cartilage into bone is more likely to be reestablished
if the parts move violently upon one another for a short time so as to
set up and renew the process of inflammation. Then if the restraint
be again applied there is some chance of union. In order as far as
jMjssible to avoid this danger, care should be exercised that the band
age fits closely and that it is kept on till there is no longer any danger
but that a perfect union has taken place. It is impossible to say at
just what time the splints or bandages can safely be removed. In a
young and healthy animal of quiet temperament, where the parts have
been firmly held in position throughout the whole time, from thirty to
forty days may be regarded as reasonably safe. Under more unfavor-
able conditions as to ago, vitality, and restraint, the period had bettor
be extended up to sixty clays if the general condition of the animal is
such as to permit of so long a continuance. After the appliance has
been removed the animal should be allowed to stand quiet for a few
days, then given very gentle exorcise, gradually increased over a period
of a week or ten days, by which time the patient will be so far recovered
24697 19


as to be placed in pasture. It should, however, be alone for a time, so
as not to take any chance of injury from fighting or other accidents
that associations with other animals might involve.

Special fractures. Of the special fractures liable to occur that of the
horn is perhaps the most common. It is always the result of violent
mechanical means, such as blows, injury occurring while fighting, or
from the animal getting its head locked in some manner while feeding
from a rack. ' When it occurs there are two ways in which the injury
is likely to affect the animal. First and most common, the horny crust
is likely to be stripped from the bony projection which it covers. Sec-

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 33 of 56)