United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

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ond, the crust and bone may both be broken or bent down, the fracture
occurring in that case at the root of the horn and involving part of the
bones of the head in the immediate vicinity. In the first case, where
the horny covering is knocked off, little attention is necessary. The
animal may be relieved from suffering by smearing the stump with pine
tar and wrapping it in cloth. If the core is much lacerated perhaps it
would be better to amputate. The necessity for such an operation must
be determined by the condition of the injury, influenced to some exteiffc
by the ideas of the owner on the subject. When the operation is per-
formed it should be done with a sharp, fine-toothed saw, and by sawing
the horn off close enough to include a little of the skin and hair around
its base. The practice of dehorning has grown popular in many parts
of the country. It is a simple operation, and, although attended with
considerable immediate suffering, does not produce serious constitu-
tional disturbance. The advisability of performing the operation on
all cattle is a question of expediency and must be justified by the ex-
pectation of benefit on the part of the feeder. If the horn should be
broken so that the core and crust are bent out of shape without the
detachment of one from the other, it may be restored to its normal
position and retained there by means of a splint made to fit across the
back of the head, so as to be laced to both horns, the sound horn serv-
ing to hold the broken one in position. Such a splint may be fastened
on by means of either wire or cord and allowed to remain six weeks or
two months.

Fractures of the bones of the face. These occasionally occur, and when
over the cavities of the nose produce depression, disfigurement, and
impeded respiration, owing to the lessening of the caliber of the nasal
passages. When such an accident occurs the depressed bone should be
gently forced back to place by introducing the finger in the nostril, or
if the fracture be too far up for this, a probe may be passed and the
parts retained by placing a plaster of thin leather or strong canvas
smeared with tar immediately over it, extending out to the sound sur-
roundings, taking care to imbed the hair over the fractured portion in
the tar of the plaster so it will be firmly held and prevented from again
becoming depressed. If only one nostril should be involved the
depressed portion may be held in position by packing the nostril on


that side with absorbent cotton. This practice, however, has the
objection of giving the animal great discomfort, and in some cases a
disposition to aggravate the injury.

Fracture of the skull or cranium. Fractures of the bones forming the
cavity in which the brain is situated are, owing to their strength, com-
paratively rare among cattle. Such an accident can only be the result
of external violence, and it is hardly possible that it could occur with-
out some fragment of the broken Ixme pressing upon the brain so as to
cause coma, other severe nervous derangement, or even death. If the
animal survives the first shock the efforts should be directed toward
relieving the pressure, which may be done by making an opening in the
bone (trephining) and with a hook drawing the depressed part out-
ward. Interference is not so likely to be attended with good results as
to be warranted in all cases. The eifects of a very severe shock which
may not have produced a fracture, although the symptoms were alarm-
ing, will in many cases pass off, leaving the animal in a better condition
than if an operation had been performed.

Fracture of the loicer jaic. This occasionally occurs, and is more
likely to result from the kick of a horse than from any other cause.
The front part of the jaw is likely to be split or shattered in any direc-
tion in which the force may have been applied. Bloody discharges
from the mouth and failure to eat or ruminate are symptoms most
likely to attract attention. The treatment is simple, and consists of
first removing detached pieces of bone, then drawing the parts together
and retaining them by means of pieces of copper wire fastened around
the teeth, and feeding the animal on sloppy food until recovery takes
place. The wound should be dressed once or twice a day with a 3 per
cent solution of carbolic acid, forced gently in with a syringe so as to
remove any food which may have become impacted and interfere with
the healing process.

Fracture of the vertebra: or spinal column. This is not so common
among cattle as other animals. If the fracture should be through the
body of the bone there is likely to bo pressure on or laceration of the
spinal cord, causing paralysis of all parts posterior to the seat of injury.
Fractures of the prominences on the vertebra) occasionally occur with-
out interfering with the canal in which the spinal cord is located.
Such accidents are likely .to pass unnoticed, for although the animal
may suffer considerable pain, it is not likely to l>e manifested in such i\
way as to attract attention, and the deep covering of muscles serves to
effectually conceal the injury. When the fracture occurs in the upper
part of the neck, paralysis of the muscle* used in respiration must
result, and death from asphyxia very shortly ensues. The more com
inon accident is to the loins, and when a fracture of the bdy of the
vertvbrsc occurs in this region HO as to produce pressure on the spinal
cord, paralysis of the hind legs and quarters is the result. Diagnosis
of such an accident is more diflicult than in the case of any other frac


ture. The parts can not be moved one upon another so that crepitus
is noticeable. The heavy coating of muscles conceals irregularities of
shape, which would otherwise be likely to attract attention. About
the only reliable symptom is paralysis or loss of use and sensation of
the parts posterior to the injury ; careful examination may reveal the
seat of the injury. If it was the result of a blow there is likely to be
some abrasion of the skin. The diagnosis is only important as an aid
in determining the proper course to pursue. If. paralysis is present
and a depression or irregularity of the spinal-column is so apparent as
to leave no doubt of the existence of a fracture, the only alternative is
to destroy the animal, for of recovery there can be no hope. If, on the
other hand, the paralysis is incomplete, and there is no depression or
irregularity of the spinal column or other evidence of fracture, the
patient should be made as comfortable as possible by being placed in a
well-bedded box stall and a few days permitted to elapse before the
case is abandoned. The symptoms last described might possibly be
the result of a severe strain of the muscles of the loins, in which case
an improvement will soon be noticeable.

Fractures of the pelvis. The pelvis or bony framework which gives
shape to the posterior part of the body is liable to fracture in many
ways. A common one is by a separation of the two bones which con-
stitute the whole pelvis along the bottom and center line (sympliysis
pubis). In early life the two bones are separate and distinct. The
union between them which is at first cartilaginous undergoes a change
and is converted into bone; so that in adult life the whole pelvis is
practically one bone. The point on which the two bones are united is
weaker than the adjoining parts of the bone. When an animal slips
violently, spreading the legs wide apart, the weaker materials give way
and the bones are divided. If the accident is noticed when it occurs it
is likely to throw light on the nature of the injury. The animal will
be immediately noticed going stiff behind, the legs being spread apart.
Further examination maybe made by introducing the hand, previously
carefully oiled, into the rectum or vagina and pressing down along the
central line, which will cause the patient to evince acute pain. In this
case no appliance can be used to advantage. The animal should be tied
in a stall until the parts become reunited and the lameness disappears.

Fracture of the posterior part of the bone (ischium) which forms the
point of the buttocks occasionally occurs. The buttock on the injured
side will be less prominent than the other. Careful manipulation will
generally move the parts so that crepitus may be recognized. If the
fracture is through the posterior part of the bone it is unimportant and
deserving of no more attention than placing the animal in such a posi-
tion as to insure it against subsequent injury until the bones are united.
Some distortion is likely to result, but not sufficient to warrant inter-

Fracture through the body of the bone on a line with the hip joint


(acetabulum) occasionally though rarely occurs, and is nearly always
associated with dislocation of the hip joint and the forcing of the head
of the upper bone of the leg (femur) upward, far out of its place. The
violent contraction of powerful muscles of the hip renders it impossible
to reduce the dislocation, and even if it were possible the fractured pel-
vis could not be held in position, so that the case becomes at once a
hopeless one. It may be recognized by the animal standing on three
legs, the leg on the injured side seeming shorter than its fellow and
hanging pendulous, the muscles of the hip violently contracted and
hard to the touch. The animal evinces great pain when the limb is
moved. There is likely to be some apparent distortion in the relations
between the point of the hip and the point of the buttock. This will be
more readily noticed by comparing the injured side with the other. The
parts may be moved so as to produce crepitus. The examination may
be completed by introducing the oiled hand into the vagina or rectum
when the two sides of the pelvis will reveal well marked differences.

Fracture of the point of the hip. The anterior and external part of
the pelvis (ilium), commonly known as the point of the hip, is liable to
fracture which stock owners describe as " hipping," or being " hipped."
This accident is likely to be the result of crowding while passing
through a narrow door, of falling violently on the point of the hip, or
from a violent blow directed downward and forward against it. The
lesion generally extends across the flat surface of the bone from its
outer and posterior edge forward and inward. Distortion is likely to
be the only noticeable symptom. The detached portion varies in size
in different cases and with it the resulting deformity. The animal is
noticed to be slightly lame, but this symptom soon disappears. The
let ached portion of the bone is drawn downward and away from the
main part by the action of the muscles below, which are so powerful as
to render return impossible. Bony union between the two parts does
not again take place, but a cartilaginous hinge, previously described as
a false joint, supplies the deficiency. The animal suffers very little
inconvenience, and for practical use may be serviceable as before the
accident, though the distorted appearance depreciates its value.

Fracture of the rib*. Such an occurrence can take place only as the
result of a direct injury, as from blows or crowding. The posterior
ribs, being more exposed, are more liable to fracture. Pain in moving,
slight swelling over the seat of injury, and diflicult breathing are obvi-
ous symptoms. If the fracture be complete, crepitation may be occa-
sionally noticed by placing the hand flat over the injured part, observ-
ing carefully the motion as the chest contracts and expands during
respiration. This symptom is more noticeable when the animal coughs.
Unless the point of the broken bone penetrates the cavity of the chest
the fracture is usually unimportant and calls for no treatment other
than quiet. If the breathing is very labored and attended with much
pain, motion may be limited by applying a wide bandage firmly around


the chest. The animal should be restricted in the amount of food and
water for a few days, the stomach being kept as nearly empty as possi-
ble. Sloppy food should be given to encourage, as much as possible,
free action of the diaphragm in breathing.

Fractures of bones of the limbs. On this subject much has been said
in the preceding remarks on general fractures. As a rule fracture
through one of the large bones of the shoulder (scapula) or thigh (femur)
is very difficult to manage. The powerful contraction of the muscles
and the changing shape of the limb resulting from their action renders
it impossible to retain the detached parts of the bone in proper position.
Therefore, though the union should take place, there is almost sure to
be considerable deformity and more or less lameness. Fracture of the
arm (humerus) or leg (tibia) is likely to be attended with better results.
The muscular covering is not so thick, the sheath in which they are
held is more tense, and the change in the shape of the limb from mus-
cular action not so noticeable, the muscular force not so great, all of
which facilitate replacing in position the dislodged ends and retaining

Fracture of the knee (carpus] and hock (tarsus). Unless it is the
result of a very violent injury this seldom occurs, and is generally asso-
ciated with other injury and serious complications. Displacement does
not generally occur to any considerable extent. The treatment, of.
course, will consist in holding the limb perfectly quiet in a natural
position, which may be done by the application of long wooden splints
retained by bandages, or a plaster of Paris bandage.

Fractures bcloiv tlie knee. Fracture of the long bone below the knee
(metacarpus) and hock (metatarsus) is more common. In young animals
of quiet temperament the treatment of simple fractures here is likely to
be attended with good results. On the other hand a compound fracture
in this region becomes a serious matter. The structures which surround
the bones are so thin that a very small degree of sloughing will expose
parts of the bones and be likely to lead to serious complications and
probably fatal results.

Fractures of bones beloic the fetlock. These fractures are compara-
tively unimportant unless associated with other serious injury. The
parts can generally be held in position without much difficulty, and
union generally takes place quite rapidly.

Appliances. Of the appliances used in the treatment of the fracture
of limbs above the knee, splints made of wood or strong leather and
bandages are likely to serve best/ Below the knee plaster of Paris
bandages are preferable. The writer is well aware that many of the
standard authors deprecate the use of the latter, but an extensive expe-
rience leads me to believe that they have many advantages over any of
the other appliances when used alone, and they may in many ways be
used with advantage in combination with others.


Dislocations. Luxation or displacement of the bones forming a joint,
without fracture, is comparatively rare among cattle. It most frequently
occurs in the stifle joint, where dislocation of the knee-pan (patella)
takes place. A glance at the skeleton (Plate xxv) will show the rela-
tions better than they can be described. It will be observed that the
small irregularly shaped bone (patella) plays on the anterior rounded
part of the lower end of the hip bone (femur) and between it and the
upper end of the thigh bone (tibia). The outer ridge on the lower end
of the thigh bone is less prominent than the inner one, so that displace-
ment, when it does take place, is by slipping outward. Such an acci-
dent may occur from direct injury or external force, as a blow, or from
slipping. When it does occur the symptoms produced are somewhat
alarming. The animal is unable to draw the leg forward, and either
stands with it thrown back with the toe pointing downward, or, if it
should succeed in getting its weight upon it, holds it firmly on the ground,
fearing to move it. Examination of the outside of the joint will dis-
close the situation of the patella outside of its proper place. If the
operator is not familiar with the normal appearance of the joint it is
well to make a comparison between the injured and the sound one. If
compelled to move the animal does so with great difficulty, jerking the
leg which it is unable to bring forward, hopping with the other and par-
tially dragging the injured one. The treatment is simple. A rope
should be applied around the fetlock, the leg drawn forcibly forward by
an assistant, while the operator carefully manipulates the dislocated
bone, shoving it inward and forward as the leg is brought forward. If
successful it slips into its place with a sharp click and the animal steps
oft' as though nothing had happened. Unless some precaution is taken
the accident is liable to recur, as the ligaments have been stretched by
the dislocation till they no longer hold the bone with that firmness
messary to r.-tain it. Tii;- aMin-al >ii<ulfl !, tied Bud iln- !'.>.; fastened
forward, so that the animal can just stand on it comfortably, by means
of a rope or strap around the fetlock, carried forward between the front
legs around the neck and tied on the breast. Should this accident
occur more than once it is a good practice to apply a blister around the
joint, as in the formula recommended in sprain of shoulder, and observe
the precautions as to restraint and subsequent treatment there recom-
mended. With this one exception dislocations in the ox occurring inde-
pendently of other complications are rare. Dislocation with fracture
may occur in any of the joints, and where one is suspected or discov-
ered, lx>fore treatment is applied, examination should always IK made
for the other. When a fracture occurs in the vicinity of a joint the
force sufficient to rend the bone is likely to be partly exerted on the
immediate tissues, and when the bono gives way the structures of the
joints are likely to be seriously injn red. It
the injury to the joint becomes the most important complication in the


treatment of a fracture. In order to clearly understand the reason for
this a few words are necessary in relation to the structure of joints.

The different pieces constituting the skeleton of the animal body are
united in such a manner as to admit of more or less motion one upon
another. In some of the more simple joints the bones fitting one into
another are held together by the dense structures around them, admit-
ting of very little or no movement at all, as the bones of the head. In
other joints the bones are bound together by dense cartilaginous struc-
tures, admitting of only limited motion, such as the union of the small
bones at the back part of the knee and hock (metaearpal and metatar-
sal). In the more perfect form of joint, the power of motion becomes
complete and the structures are more complex. The substance of the
bone on its articular surface is not covered with periosteum, but is
sheathed in a dense thin layer of cartilage, shaped to fit the other sur-
faces with which it conies in contact (articular). This layer is thickest
towards its center when covering bony eminences, and is elastic, of a
pearly whiteness and resisting, though soft enough to be easily cut.
The bones forming an articulation are bound together by numerous
ligaments attached to bony prominences. The whole joint is sealed in
by a band or ribbon-like ligament (capsular ligament) extending around
the joint and attached at the outer edge of the articular surface, unit-
ing the bones and hermetically sealing the cavities of the articulation.
This structure and the articular surface of the bone is covered by a
thin, delicate membrane, known as the synovia! membrane, which
secretes the. joint-oil (synovia). This fluid is viscid and colorless, or
slightly yellow, and although it does not possess a large amount of fat,
its character somewhat resembles oil, and it serves the same purpose in
lubricating the joints that oil does to the joints of an engine. Although
the tissues of the joint when used in a natural way are able to withstand
the effect of great exertion, when unnaturally used, as they are very
delicate and complex, they are liable to inflammatory and other changes
of a very serious nature. The synovial membrane, and in fact the
whole structure of the joint, is susceptible to injury and serious inflam-
matory derangement, and the capsular ligament is liable to be distended
from excessive secretion of synovia. The latter process may be almost
noninflammatory, and attended with little inconvenience or importance
other than a blemish to the animal, which in cattle is not serious. It
may occur on the back part of the leg above the fetlock or on the inner
and fore part of the hock, corresponding in its location to windgalls and
bog spavin of the horse. Continuous support by bandages will gen-
erally force reabsorption, and as the limb is not subjected to violent
action, as in the case of the horse, the affection is not so liable to recur.

Spavin. Occasionally working oxen that are used in the lumber
woods and made to pull heavily, with bad footing, are afflicted with
this. When it occurs lameness is the first symptom. During the early
stages of the disease the lameness is most severe in the morning and


disappears after the animal is exercised; it gradually becomes more
severe as the disease advances, so that when the disease is well estab-
lished the animal is lame continuously. Shortly after the lameness
appears a bunch (exostosis) will be noticed on the inner and fore part
of the affected joint. This bunch differs from bog spavin in that it is
hard, while bog spavin is soft. It increases in size as the disease
advances, till the animal is too lame to be used for labor. As the dis-
ease is always attended with considerable pain there is more or less loss
of flesh. In the most advanced stage the animal will step with diffi-
culty, frequently holding the foot from the ground, or if forced to take a
few steps, stands with it elevated, twitching with pain. In the earlier
stage of the disease only a small portion of the fore part of the lower or
second articulation is involved, but the inflammatory process gradually
extends over the whole surface of the lower joints of the hock. The
structures of the joint are broken down and the bones are united (anchy-
losis). This process may include any or all of the three lower joints of
the hock. The joint of motion which is situated on the lower end of
the leg bone is seldom involved. Treatment of spavin in the ox, as in
the horse, is likely to be tedious, and not always resulting in perfect
cure. Usually it is best to fatten the animal for slaughter. If, how-
ever, treatment is decided UIXHI, it would be by the application of the
following blister:

Powdered cautharides 3 drams.

Riuiodido of mercury * 2 drains.

Vaseline 1 i ounces.

Clip the hair off and apply over the inner and foro part of the joint,
covering the surface an inch and a half in every direction from the
enlargement, or over an area 3 to 4 inches across. Fasten the animal's
head so that it can not reach the part to lick it; after the third day
grease with lard every other day until the scabs come off. This blister
may be repeated every month or six weeks. The lameness will generally
begin to disappear about the third or fourth month and a more or less
perfect cure be effected by the sixth or seventh.

In a ease of spavin the euro is not effected by restoring the diseased
parts to their natural condition, but by uniting the bones and obliter-
ating the joints. If this union extends over the whole articular surface
of the joints affected and is sufficiently strong to prevent any motion of
the bones, the animal will again go sound. The joints that are obliter-
ated not being those of motion are not important, so that the animal
suffers no inconvenience in their loss.


Cattle exposed to severe cold or damp weather are likely to suffer
from this disease, or it may appear as a sequel to some diseases of the
lungs or skin. Some animals seem to be naturally predisposed to it.
In its nature it is inflammatory and is more likely to involve the organs


of locomotion than any other, though the heart and other internal
organs are occasionally involved as a secondary result. Primarily it
appears as an inflammation of joints, ligaments, tendons, or the covering

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 34 of 56)