United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

. (page 35 of 56)
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of muscles. It is due to a specific condition of the blood in which cer-
tain irritant properties are developed and lodged and in the fibrous tis-
sues of the structures named.

There is some dispute as to what the true nature of the irritant prop-
erty peculiar to this disease really is. The acid condition of the urine
lias led to the supposition that it is possibly due to lactic acid. In the
herbivora the acid found is hippuric. As it is .likely to be caused by
impaired action of the skin, there is reason to suppose that it is due to
the presence in the system of some of the natural constituents of per-
spiration, either in excessive quantity or in perverted condition.

It generally appears as a sudden lameness, with noticeable swelling
around some of the joints of the affected limb, though it is quite likely
that the swelling will not bear any proportionate relation to the amount
of pain evinced.

The disease may be confined to one limb, or more than one may be
affected. It may appear simultaneously in different parts of the body,
or after involving one or more parts suddenly disappear and reappear
in another place, which may be remote from or near to the part first
affected, which, if the disease is not arrested, is likely to suffer from sub-
sequent attacks. The local symptoms are always accompanied with
constitutional disturbance of a feverish nature, which usually precedes
the appearence of the more painful symptoms. The temperature is
likely to run up from 104 F. to 108 F. In an acute attack the mouth
will be found hot and dry, the pulse hard, the secretion of urine lessened,
the urine acid in its character and charged with impurities. The bowels
are less active, and there is frequently a marked disposition to lie down

A chronic type of the disease, which may supervene on the acute or
occur independently, is characterized by the symptoms already men-
tioned, except that the constitutional disturbance is not likely to be
present, or, if so, not so marked, nor do the acute local conditions show
the same tendency to shift from one part to another.

This inclination to remain fixed in one place has a tendency to bring
about structural derangement and permanent injury to the parts in-
volved in the shape of thickening and enlargement of the soft struc-
tures, or in extreme cases in the formation of bony tumors and the
obliteration of a joint.

Treatment. At the outset a purgative dose of Epsom salts should be
given, which may be from 1 to 1| pounds for an ordinary- sized cow. If
the pain is very acute it may be relieved by occasional doses of lauda-
num or opium, not more than an ounce of the former or a dram of the
latter, three times a day. When the opium is used care must be taken
to keep the bowels acting regularly. For this purpose it may be ncces-


sary to give occasional small doses of Epsom salts. In conjunction
with the above, or alone if it is not deemed necessary to give tlie opium,
half-ounce doses of the nitrate or bicarbonate of potash should be given
three times a day. Great care should be exercised to keep the patient
comfortable. If unable to stand, a liberal supply of bedding should be
used to prevent possible injury from bruising and bed-sores. The stall
should be roomy, so that the patient may move with ease and be per-
fectly free from moisture, drafts, and sudden changes of temperature.
The food should be such as will be easily digested bran mashes, green
food when it can be procured, and clean hay. Locally the pain may be
relieved and the disease checked by the application around the affected
joint of stimulating liniments or blisters. (See blister recommended for
use in treatment of spavin.)


By the late Dr. WILLIAM DICKSON, Veterinarian to the State Farmers' Institute
of Minnesota; revised and completed by Dr. WM. HERBERT LOWE, Super-
intendent of the United States Quarantine for the port of Xev> Tori:, Garficld, X. J.

There are fewer surgical operations performed on the cow than on
the horse. Various causes conduce to this result. Naturally plethoric,
slow in their motions, and even when at liberty, save under occasional
exceptional circumstances, singularly averse to active exertion of any
kind, animals of the ox tribe consequently enjoy a practical immunity
from a proportion of accidents which in animals of a more buoyant and
active temperament so frequently entail results demanding surgical
intervention. Oxen are seldom used nowadays for purposes of draft
or burden, and even when put to either of these uses the risk of any-
thing like serious injury is greatly diminished by their deliberate move-
ment. The nature of their food and their usual environments all tend
to operate more or less in the same direction.

There is, however, another and a very material reason. A cow, an
ox, or any individual of the species, represents to the ordinary owner
just so much capital not usually a very large amount and in the
event of accident or ailment monetary or utilitarian considerations
have an important bearing on the question of recourse to professional
assistance. An ox is but an ox anyhow, and, although the interest of
his owner sometimes requires to have a sick one treated, the animal
itself, I fear, is but seldom regarded as possessing much if any claim
to moral protection, still less to sentimental consideration. If he is
injured he has got to be mended, but, like a piece of torn currency, how
does not so much matter. Surely humanity demands kind treatment
for all animals, and even when compassion and self interest do not join
hands the sick or wounded bovine has quite as much claim to all pos-
sible relief from pain and suflcring as the most valuable or highly
endowed of living creatures.

The primary object of a work of this kind, therefore, is to treat of the
best means known to practical science in a style and language so plain
that an owner will himself bo able to come to the assistance of his suf-
fering dumb dependents, and, in many of the emergencies which occur
on the farm or the ranch, be able, with the help of the knowledge thus



attained, to perform many of the minor operations which may become
necessary without having to Aveigh the question of possible cost against
the economical results to be attained by professional treatment.

The intention is not by any means to supplant the veterinary prac-
titioner. It is, on the contrary, the matured result of a deep and earn-
est desire to benefit the farmer and stock-owner by directing aright his
well 'meaning but ofttimes mistaken efforts and those of his employes in
ministering to the necessities of their suffering charges in those emer-
gencies which are constantly liable to occur where competent assistance
is beyond reach. It is to enable him to perform in a rational and effect-
ive manner minor operations which AYOiild in any case be undertaken
with less intelligence and success than would be likely were the owner
armed with a certain knowledge of the correct principles on which they
ought to be conducted. If this work fulfills its mission, as who can
doubt it will, the efforts at self-help of its readers will be free from bung-
ling and simple guesswork, while the animals in their charge will be
material gainers by the change.

There are, moreover, sundry operations hardly, perhaps, entitled to
rank as surgical, which are usually performed not always by any means
in the best possible manner, nor with invariable success by the ani-
mal's owner or his servants. It will be the writer's endeavor to attempt
to show how some of them can be performed in such a way as to obtain
the most favorable results while abridging the animal's pain and peril
and diverting danger and consequent loss.

In the performance .of any operation upon an animal of the size and
strength of the ox the first consideration is to secure it in such a man-
ner as to preclude the possibility of its injuring either itself or those
taking any part in the operation, for two or more are invariably neces
sary. The nature and time likely to be occupied by an operation must
of course largely determine the method to be adopted.

The majority of operations with which the present chapter is con-
cerned arc usually performed on the ox in a standing position. To
secure the animal in this position lay hold of one horn and with the
disengaged hand grasp the nose, the finger and thumb being intro-
duced into the nostrils, and press against the cartilage which makes a
division between them. If this is insufficient the animal should be
secured to a tree or a post. A very excellent method of restraint is to
tie a long rope in a slip noose over the horns, pass it around the chest
just behind the fore legs, taking a half hitch on itself, taking another
half hitch in front of the hind limbs, passing the free end under the
tail, bringing it forward and making it fast either to the head or one of
the hitches. The head should be raised to the level of the back before
the final knot is tied, so as to render it too serious and painful a mat-
ter for him to repeat the first attempt he makes to lower it. Should
the nature or extent of the operation be likely to take up a considerable
length of time it is invariably the best plan to throw the animal. In


the case of the ox this is very easily done, either by use of horse hob-
bles should they be at hand, or by the application of a simple rope. If
the horse hobbles are used they should be fastened on the leg just
above the fetlocks (ankle joints), as they are in that position less liable
to coine off than if placed around the pastern.

Of the many ways of applying the rope for this purpose I will only
describe two, which I consider the best and simplest. First: Take a
long, strong rope (one which has been used a few times is more flexible),
double it, and at two or tliree feet from the doubled end, according to
the size of the animal, make a knot and pass the collar thus formed over
the animal's head, allowing it to rest on what would be the collar place
in a horse. Now pass the ends of the rope between the fore legs, carry
one around each hind leg just above the fetlock joint, from outside in,
under itself once, and bring the free ends forward, passing each through
the collar loop on its own side and bringing the slack back toward and
beyond the hind quarters. (Plate xxvi, Fig. 2.)

Two or three stout men should then take hold of each rope and at a
given signal pull. The animal's hind legs being drawn forward, the
balance is lost, and if the animal does not fall or lie down he can be
readily pushed over on his side and secured in the desired position.
Second : The three half hitches. Take a rope 30 or more feet long,
make a slip noose at the end, and pass it over the animal's horns, leav-
ing the knot in the loop between the horns; then pass the rope back-
ward along the neck to the withers, just in front of which take a half
hitch on it, passing it along the back, take one half hitch just behind
the forelegs and a second in front of the hind limbs round the flank.
(Plate xxvi, Fig. 1.) The free end of the rope is taken hold of by one or
two assistants while another holds the animal's head. By pulling firmly
on the rope, or inducing the animal to make a step or two forward while
steady traction is made on the rope, the beast will quietly lie down,
when his feet can be secured in the way most convenient for the opera tor.

There are numerous other methods, involving more or less complete
restraint, which may be equally eflicacious, but one or other of the ways
indicated will doubtless bo found to fully meet all ordinary cases.


This is usually and ought always to be done before the calf has at-
tained sullieient weight or strength t> make his restraint a matin- of
serious difficulty. An ordinary halter is usually all that is required,
the strap being .secured to a tree or post. A jointed steel or copper
ring is ordinarily used. Those made of the latter metal an- prefer-

The comiuon method of punching a round piece out ot'tho nasal sep-
tum for the introduction of the rin# is, I think, open to objection, as
portions of the fine nervous filament* are destroyed. The sensibility of
the parts is thus lessened and the object of ringing to some extent dc-


feated. The insertion of the ring by means of a trocar and canula is
preferable, as the method is not open to this objection.

For some years I have used a little instrument devised by myself
which can be made by any worker in metal, consisting of a steel point
riveted into a short canula made to fit on one end of the ring while
open. (Plate xxviu, Fig. 11.) When attached to the ring it is easily
and quickly passed through the septum, the half of the ring following
as a matter of course. It can then be removed, and the ends of the
ring brought together and fastened by means of the screw for that pur-
pose. By this means any animal can readily be ringed by anyone in
less time than it takes to describe the process; Avhereas, by any other
method which necessitates first puncturing or piercing the septum and
subsequently introducing the ring, the operation is, even when the
animal's struggles do not complicate matters, necessarily rendered
tedious and uncertain by the fact that the openings through the skin
and cartilage are not in apposition.


In this and other countries for some years past a heated controversy
has from time to time been carried on not only as to the advisability of
dehorning, but also as to the propriety of the proceeding. The advo-
cates of wholesale removal of horns in many cases exaggerate alike the
necessity and the advantages accruing from the practice; on the other
hand, their opponents are backed by the ultra humanitarian who stig-
matizes the operation as barbarous, or worse. In some countries these
views are upheld even by courts of law whose legal acumen is able to
detect in the procedure grave cruelty to animals.

In this country owners are left to decide matters of this sort for them-
selves, but a work of this kind would hardly be complete without some
expression of an opinion on the subject which might be helpful to the
dubious when the matter comes up for decision. Justly, then, does the
operation amount to cruelty ?

I answer distinctly, it does not. Cruelty to animals is defined as the
infliction of unnecessary paiu. Now, the operation of dehorning causes
pain certainly, as all surgical operations necessarily do, but it is not by
any means more painful than many other operations (notably castra-
tion), to which we regularly subject individual animals without a second
thought. Moreover, the pain is transient as well as slight, and as a
matter of fact pales into insignificance before the severe and lasting
torture inflicted as a matter of every-day occurrence by animals upon
each other when left to wear in confinement their weapons of offense,
which, although doubtless of utility in a wild state are in a state of
domesticity a menace to their companions and a dangerous encumbrance
to themselves.

The matter has acquired enhanced importance from the fact that,
owing to the strenuous efforts made by the U. S. Department of Agri-


culture, the invidious discrimination which barred the entrance to
Europe of American stackers is likely to be removed, and our cattle
are liable in the near future to make lengthened journeys by land and
sea. The removal of their horns will then not only lessen the owner's
risk, but will also add materially to the comfort and safety of the animals

But there is fortunately within the reach of all an open avenue of
escape from that portion of the operation which supplies the only cogent
argument against the practice under discussion.

The owner of the 2 or 3 day's old calf, if he wishes it to all intents
and purposes a " moolly," can dehorn it, or, more correctly speaking,
prevent horns ever being developed, by means of a chemical prepara-
tion which reduces the pain to a minimum, while it is even more effect-
ual than either the saw or forceps. There are several chemical dehorn-
ers advertised in the open market, most or all of them effective, but the
cheapest and simplest consists of a stick of caustic potash.

The operation is performed as follows, and is uniformly successful, if
performed before the calf is 3 days old : The little animal is caught and
gently laid over on its side, in which position it is easily held by one
assistant while the operator clips the hair off the trifling prominence
on the frontal bone, which marks the spot on the uppermost side of the
head where the horn would be developed if not interfered with. He
then takes his stick of potash, dips it in cold water, and carefully rubs
it over the part just clipped for the space of, say, ten seconds. The calf
is now turned over, the corresponding portion of the frontal bone on that
side clipped and thoroughly rubbed with the moistened potash the same
way as the first.

By this time the side first treated is dry and ready for a second appli-
cation of the caustic, which should conform exactly to the first. Fol-
low the same procedure on the rcmaining-side, where the matrix of the
embryo horn has been located, and if the caustic has been properly
applied no horns will ever make their appearance.

For animals intended to be kept either for steers or dairy cows noth-
ing can be more effectual, but it were well to discriminate between these
and the head of the herd, the bull, and for this reason: We dehorn our
cows and steers chietly to protect them from each other, whereas our
main object in dehorning the bull is to protect ourselves. For this
reason our end in the case of the. latter is more effectually accomplished
if we leave him in possession of his horns until he has learned to rely
upon them as his weaj>ons of offense and defense, and then deprive
him ot his armament. If we employ in his case chemical dehorning at
the early age recommended for the steer ami row, necessity becomes a
second nature, and the animal intuitively adopts the catapult like tac-
tics of the ''moolly.' 1 These, although, comparatively speaking, less
harmful as between the animals them selves, are equally dangerous when
directed against their owner; for captious, indeed, would IM> the critic
who discriminated between being butted to death or hooked to death.
24097 1>0


Instances have been cited to prove that the effects of the deprivation
of his horns are only temporary in the case of the animal that has once
become dangerous or unruly, but a lengthened and varied experience
convinces rne that such is not the general fact. The moral effect of
throwing the animal and depriving it of its natural weapons is both
great and lasting, and" with proper treatment the advantages thus
obtained need neither be lost nor lessened. The animal, shorn of its
weapons, dreads the very approach of man, and its impulse is to go
from him instead of for him. Animals are of more retentive memory
than they are generally credited with. May we venture on a case in
point :

In Iowa a certain hog went daily to the railroad depot to gratify his
appetite with the grains of corn dropped from the trains in passing.
One day, when familiarity had assuaged his fear of cars and engines,
his fastidious taste induced him to endeavor to secure an tin usually
tempting morsel that lay between the rails underneath a train then
standing at the station. At this moment the train happened to start,
taking with it the porker's tail, which had become ^imprisoned between
the wheel and the shoe of the brake, leaving the unfortunate epicure to
go through the rest of his career without a steering apparatus. One
would have supposed the warning would have proved deterrent, but
those who took an interest in the venturesome porcine observed that
while he adhered to his daily foraging expeditions on the track, when-
ever he heard the rattle of the cars or the whistle of the locomotive he
gravely backed up against an adjacent water-tank to insure the safety
of his already diminished ornament. The animal had had sufficient
railroading experience to be able to appreciate to the full extent the
awful seriousness of the loss of terminal facilities. He did not want
any more tail taken off; and it is exactly so with the bull deprived of
his horns. Let him keep them until he has learned to depend on them,
then take them off, and if rationally treated he will ever after be quiet
and tractable.

Theoperation is in itself simple, and can under ordinary circumstances
be performed by the owner. The precaution of the greatest importance
is to see that the animal is secured so that it can not struggle enough
to hurt itself. The animal may be thrown by any of the methods already
indicated. The only additional accessories for the above purpose is a
strong halter and a long rope, fastened ammd its girth before it is cast.
The free end of this is then passed through, the ring on the halter and
the Jiead pulled back against the ribs. A hitch underneath the tail
should bring the rope forward to the halter, where it may be fastened
so as to be readily loosed when the first horn has been removed. To
remove the second horn loose the head, turn the animal over, and
refasten the head as before.

The exponents of dehorning have attempted to envelop the operation
in a mist of a technical absurdities, and insist on the necessity of an


apparatus as intricate as a self-binder and about as easy to move round
as the average elevator. But the above method will answer all prac-
tical purposes. The only instrument needed is an ordinary jointing
saw, which should be used as quietly and quickly as possible.

Animals may be dehorned any time except in flytime, or when the
mercury is liable to drop to the neighborhood of zero, and cold water is
the only dressing needed. It is a good practice to deprive the animal
of food for twelve hours before operating.


Although nowadays this operation has fortunately become less fre-
quent than when it was generally considered the panacea for all ills,
there are beyond doubt some cases in which the operation is admittedly
the quickest and surest means of affording relief.

In the ox the operation is usually performed on the left jugular vein,
which is large and is easily rendered so prominent as to prevent the
Ibility of mistake, by tying a cord around the neck below the place
where the incision is to be made. (Plate xxvii, Fig. 4.) The rope should
1) tied in a slip knot, so as to admit of its being easily undone, or a
rope used with a loop at one end and a series of good-sized knots at the
other, the loop and knots to be used as buttons and button holes. The
best instrument to use is a large-bladed fleam. (Plate xxvii. Fig. 3.)
After the animal is secured the operator stands by the shoulder, holds
the fleam in his left hand, the blade just short of touching the skin and
parallel to the direction of the vein, and the stick or mallet with which
to strike it in his right; one quick sharp blow should be sufficient. If
tin hair is long it is a wise precaution to moisten and smooth it down.

When sufficient blood has been withdrawn the rope is removed and
the orifice closed by means of a pin inserted through the lips of the
incision in the skin only, and a piece of fine string or tow wound either
over or under it in the shape of a figure 8, or in a circle between the
skin and the pin (Plate xxvni, Fig. 10), the point of which should be
clipped off. To prevent the animal from rubbing the part and tearing
or dislodging the pin, it is advisable to tie the head up for a couple of
da) s, providing the animal's health will admit of it, after which the
pin may be removed and the wound left to heal in the usual manner.

Before leaving the subject it may be well to add that as the good
effect* derived from bleeding depends more on the quickness with
which the blood is drawn than on the quantity extracted, it is of
uni>ortunee that a liberal opening should" be made into the blood vessel
and the blood allowed to How until a iKireeptible impression has Ijeeii
made on the pulse.

AH has already been said, the l-st instrument in the hands of an
owner is the fleam, as owing to the toughness and thickness of the
skin of the ox the edge of a lancet is apt to turn and intlict a -.ish

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 35 of 56)