United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

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in a direction other than the operator intended. 1 need hardly add


that the instrument used should be sharp and scrupulously clean. A
neglect of the latter precaution is apt to lead to very serious conse-


Setons are used in case of the ox tribe for various purposes, of which
perhaps the most common is as a preventive in anthrax or blackleg,
when a seton is usually inserted in the dewlap. This is not done to
afford exit to any poisonous discharge from the system, as is generally
supposed, but to cause a sufficient amount of inflammation to increase
the coagulating properties of the blood, which in these diseases becomes
altered (as described elsewhere), notably losing its viscidity and in
consequence oozing through the walls of the blood vessels. For this
purpose the seton should be deeply inserted and should be dressed
daily with turpentine or common blister.

The ordinary use of a seton is for a different object, as, for instance,
to keep up constant drainage from a cavity containing matter, or to
act as a stimulant or counterirritant. To insert a seton, the place of
entrance and exit having been decided on, with the finger and thumb
make a small fold of the skin transverse to the direction the seton is to
be inserted, and cut it through, either with a sharp knife or a pair of
scissors (this should be done at both the entrance and exit) ; then with a
steady pressure and slight lateral movement insert the seton by means
of a seton needle. (Plate xviu, Figs. 1 and 2.) The seton should consist
of a piece of strong tape, varying in breadth according to circumstances,
and should be kept in place either by a knot on each end or by tying
the ends together.

Setons should be gently moved once a day after suppuration is set
up, and they should not be allowed to remain in over three weeks, or a
month at the outside.


This operation consists of making an opening in the trachea or wind-
pipe. It is indicated whenever there is an obstruction from any cause
in the upper part of the respiratory tract which threatens the death
of the animal by asphyxia (suffocation). The mode of procedure is as
follows : Have an assistant extend the animal's head as far as possible
to make the trachea tense and prominent; make a longitudinal incision
about 2 or 2| inches long through the skin and deeper tissues at the
most prominent part of the trachea, which is about the middle or upper
third ; the edges of the skin should be held apart to allow the intro-
duction of the tenaculum or curved needle through the rings of the
trachea, and a circular piece of the trachea removed, large enough to
allow of the introduction of the tracheotomy tube. (Plate xxvii, Figs.
1 and 2.) The latter should be removed once or twice daily and
cleansed, and the wound dressed antiseptically. To ascertain when it
is time to discontinue the use of the tube and to allow the wound to


close, the hand should be held over the opening, which will necessitate
the animal to use ks natural passages in breathing. Observe if it is
performed in a natural manner, and if so remove the tube and allow
the wound to close. This is the general mode of procedure where the
surgeon has all the necessary instruments and a moderate amount of
time at his disposal. Often it has to be performed in great haste with-
out the proper instruments and under great disadvantages, the operator
having to quickly cut down and open the trachea and spread the parts,
using some instrument improvised by him at the time. This operation
only gives the animal relief in breathing, and therefore the proper
remedial treatment should be adopted at the onset of the attack and
continued until the cause (the disease) has been overcome.


Choking, or the lodging of foreign bodies in the gullet is divided into
pharyngeal, cervical, and thoracic, according to location of the obstruc-
tion. The symptoms in general are uneasiness on the part of the
patient, involuntary movement of the jaws, grinding of the teeth, a
profuse escape of saliva and tympanitis of the rumen. If the obstruc-
tion is in the pharynx the mouth speculum should be introduced and
the hand and arm of the operator oiled and inserted and an effort made
to remove the obstruction. If this should be unsuccessful it will prob-
ably be necessary to have recourse to the probang, (Plate in, Fig. 2),
which should be carefully introduced and the obstruction slowly pushed
downwards toward the rumen, care being taken not to lacerate the
coats of the o?sophagus. An operation known as o?sophagotoiny may
be performed in case the above efforts have failed. I will briefly de-
scribe the steps to be taken in such an emergency.


This operation is easily performed, but, as above stated, should not
be resorted to unless all other methods have failed, as wounds of the
oesophagus are difficult to manage, and tend to produce a stricture of
the tube.

To perform the operation have a strong assistant clovate the animal's
head so as to stretch and render tense the inferior muscles of the neck.
With a sharp convex bistoury make a longitudinal incision through
the skin, muscles, and coats of the (esophagus directly down upon the
obstacle, care being taken not to make the incision any longer than
necessary. After the obstruction is removed the wound in theu'sopha
gus is closed and sutured with carboli/ed catgut, then the divided
muscle and skin brought in apposition and secured. The animal
should bo fed on gruels for a few days and the wound dressed daily
upon the same general principles as an ordinary wound.



This is an operation that when indicated has to be performed at once
or the animal may be lost. It is indicated in severe cases of acute
tympanites in cattle, commonly known as hoven, which is due to the
generation of gas resulting from fermentation. To relieve this disten-
sion an ordinary cattle trocar and canula (Plate in, Figs. 5 a and 5 &) are
inserted into the rumen, the most distended portion of the left side of
the animal being the part selected. The trocar is withdrawn and the
canula left in until the gas has fully escaped.

Puncturing is not a serious operation in cattle, and in cases of great
distension should be performed without hesitancy or delay. Relief is
almost instantaneous in many cases. Of course the proper remedial
agents should be administered to arrest further fermentation. (See
Tympanites, p. 29.)


* The opening of the paunch or rumen in cattle and the removal of a
part or the whole of the ingesta through said opening is termed miner -
otomy. The operation should only be performed in severe cases where
the rumen is excessively overloaded and distended. The animal is
placed with its right side against a wall and firmly held in position by
strong assistants. The incision is made in the same place that the
trocar is inserted for puncturing that organ in cases of hoveu. The
opening is increased in size until the operator's hand can be inserted
into the rumen. Before any of the contents are removed from that
organ a linen cloth should be placed from the outer wound into the
rumen in order to prevent any of the ingesta from getting into the
abdominal cavity. After removing a portion of the contents of the
rumen some practitioners introduce such medicine as may be indicated
before closing the wound. Clean the wound and close the opening in
the rumen with uninterrupted (Plate xxviiij Fig. 8) carbolized catgut
sutures. Next close the external wound, consisting of the integument,
muscle, and peritoneum, with stout interrupted (Plate XXYIII, Fig. 6)
metallic sutures. No food should be given for several hours after the
operation, and then only gruels. (See Distension of Rumen with Food,
p. 31.)


Abscesses are of frequent occurrence and demand prompt treatment.
An abscess may be detected, if situated externally, by heat, pain, red-
ness, and swellin g in the early stages, and if further developed by the
fluctuation which will be present. When any of these symptoms are
absent, the suppuration should be encouraged by the means of hot
fomentations and poultices. Care must be taken that the abscess is
not opened too soon, or it may to some extent cause it to scatter and
the escape of pus will be lessened. The time to open an abscess is just


before it is ready to break, and should be done with a sharp lance, a
crucial incision sometimes being necessary. The cavity should be syr-
inged out with tepid water, which is better if mildly antiseptic. Care
should be taken not to allow the wound to close too rapidly, and to pre-
vent this a tent of lint or oakum should be introduced.


It is probably not going too far to say that as a general rule wounds
of the bovine species, unless sufficiently serious to endanger the ani-
mal's life, are left uncared for. The poor suffering creatures are too
often, even in fly-time, left to endure untold torture from wounds not
at first of much importance, but which, from the constant irritation
caused by flies, dirt, etc., often develop into hideous, unhealthy sores,
which can not fail, even when they do heal, to leave extensive and last-
ing blemishes as silent records of the owner's thriftlessuess and inhu-

The comparatively low market value of all but the full-blood and
pedigreed animal precludes an owner (save in a few exceptional cases,
inspired by a higher than ordinary sense of humanity) from entertain-
ing professional assistance. It is more than doubtful whether the suf-
fering creature does not go from bad to worse when its case is made
over to the tender mercies of the ignorant local cow-leech, to whom
"wolf in the tail" is a terrifying living presence, and "hollow horn" a
solid fact, and whose sole claim to erudition in such matters consists of
a generally conceited ability to manufacture on scientific prescriptions
an artificial substitute for the cud supposed to be " lost."

There is yet another class of owners who entertain an infinite and
Mind belief in liniments and patent nostrums, which are not only an
unnecessary expense, but sometimes by their very action retard rather
than expedite the process by which nature in her unerring wisdom
repairs the injured tissues, tendons, and bony structure.

It should always be borne in mind that although some applications
are stimulating, and therefore serve as a useful ally in the process of
restoration, it is after all to nature we must look to renovate the injured
parts, and all that the most skillful can do is to intelligently aid her by
combating those conditions which are calculated to interfere with her
beneficent endeavors. All that the most suitable applications can
accomplish in the case of wounds is in the first place to prevent the
access of those poisonous germs which exist in the surroundings of the
animal, such as the soil and the manure, and in the second when the
process of repair is for some reason temporarily inactive or altogether
arrested to incite that curative intlammntion which is the invariable
method by which the cure is effected.

Some owners may urge that it has always been their practice to use
some shotgun prescription that has earned for itsolf a reputation, because
it was supposed to have routed a rash on the youngest baby, and proved


equally efficacious on a wire-cut on the last dropped calf, without even
pausing to think that either case might have done equally well or even
better if confided unanointed to the healing hands of nature.

For the purposes of the present work wounds may be divided into
/three classes: (1) Incised ; (2) punctured; (3) lacerated or contused.

An incised wound is one with clean-cut edges, and may be either
superficial or deep. In wounds of all descriptions there is necessarily
more or less bleeding, and this is especially liable to be the case in
incised wounds, particularly when they penetrate to a considerable
depth, or when inflicted on a part where arteries of any size approach
the surface. To arrest the hemorrhage must, therefore, be the first con-
sideration. If slight, a generous use of cold water will be all that is
necessary, but if one or more vessels of any size have been wounded or
entirely severed they should be taken up and ligated. If the blood
flows continuously and is dark in color it proceeds from a vein, but if
bright colored and jerky in its flow it is arterial.

There is nothing very formidable or difficult in taking up an artery.
It simply means tying up the bleeding vessel, which should be accom-
plished as follows : To discover the bleeding artery take a sponge, dip
it in cold water, and by gentle pressure on the wound clear it of the
accumulated blood. The jet of fresh blood reveals the end of the
vessel, which is readily recognized by its whitish yellow or buff color.
It should be seized with a forceps or pincers and slightly drawn clear
of the surrounding tissues. Now take the thread and place the middle
of it under the artery, fetch up the ends, tie one simple knot tightly,
pressing down the thread with the forefinger so as not to include the
forceps, then a second one over it, cut off the ends, and the thing is
done. The bleeding being arrested, the operator can now carefully
clean and inspect the wound, taking care to remove all blood and for-
eign matters and clip the hair around the edges before proceeding to
stitch it up. If the wound is superficial the lips may be brought
together by a series of independent stitches (Plate xxviu, Fig. 6), about
three-fourths of an inch to an inch apart. The stitches should not be
drawn tightly; it is sufficient to bring the edges of the wound in

If the wound is deep the needle should be introduced perpendicularly
at as great a distance from the lip of the wound as the depth it is to
be inserted, so as to give the thread sufficient hold. All the stitches
should be as nearly as possible at equal distances from the border of
the wound to prevent unequal strain, and the knots should be made at
the side, not over the wound. (Plate xxviu, Fig. 6.) When the wound
is large and deep, care should be taken to have an opening in the
lowest part to allow for the escape of the discharges.

In deep wounds which run crosswise of a limb or muscle it will often
be advisable to use what is technically known as the " quilled suture,"
which is most readily described by Fig. 7, Plate xxviu. To accoin-


plish-this method a curved needle with an eye in the point and a strong
xlouble thread should be used. The needle thus threaded is introduced
perpendicularly at least an inch from the wound on one side, carried
across below and brought out the same distance from the border of the
cut on the opposite side, the thread being seized and held in position
while the needle is withdrawn, leaving a loop of thread protruding on
one side and two loose ends on the other of each stitch. When a suffi-
cient number of stitches have been made, take a light piece of wood
about the size of a lead pencil, corresponding in length to the size of
the wound or slightly longer, and insert it through each of the loops,
drawing up the free ends of the threads, which should in turn be tied
securely on a similar piece of wood on that side.

Punctured icounfo. Owing to the uncertainty of their depth and the
structures they may involve, punctured wounds are by far the most
dangerous and difficult to treat. Not only is the extent of the damage
hidden from view, but the very character of the injury, as can be readily
understood, implies at least the possibility of deep-seated inflammation
and consequent discharge of pus (matter), which, when formed, is kept
pent up until it has accumulated to such an extent that it burrows by
simple gravity, as no other exit is possible. In this way foreign mat-
ters, such as a broken piece of the stake or snag, or whatever caused
the wound, may be carried to an indefinite depth, or the cavity of a
joint may be invaded and very serious, if not fatal, consequences

The danger is especially marked when the injury is inflicted on parts
liable to frequent and extensive motion, but all cases of punctured
wounds should receive unusual care, as no judgment can be accurately
formed from the external appearance of the wound. While a probe
can ascertain the depth, it throws but little light on the extent or exact
nature of the internal injury. For this reason all punctured wounds
should invariably be carefully searched by means of a probe or some
substitute devised for the occasion, such as a piece of wire with a
smooth blunt Hid, or a piece of hard wood shaped for the purpose.
Stitching is not admissible in the case of punctured wounds.

In the event of a punctured wound not being very deep, when the
bruising and laceration are slight, it is possible for healing to take
place by adhesion, and this should always be encouraged, as the proc-
ess of repair by this method is far superior to that by granulation,
which will be referred to later. With this object in view the animal
should IK- kept as quiet as possible. A dose of physic, sueh as a pound
of Glauber or Kpsom salts, should U- administered, and warm fomenta-
tions or poultices, when this is practicable, applied, the surface of the
wound being dressed twice a day with the ordinary white lotion, which
is made as follows:

Acctato of l?a<l 1 ounce.

Sulphate of r.iuf f <lrainn.

Water 1 i|iiart.


The lead and zinc should be put in a quart bottle with a pint of rain
water and well shaken, when the balance of the water may be added.

In wounds of this description the process of repair may be complicated
by the appearance of exuberant granulations, popularly known as
" proud " or " dead flesh," but these should not be interfered with unless
they should continue after the acute stage of inflammation has been sub-
dued. If, after this, they persist, they may be treated with a solution
of sulphate of copper (bluestone) or nitrate of silver (lunar caustic) and
water. Irritation, caused by an overinterference with the process of
repair, and injudicious bandaging are potent factors in bringing about
this condition, and the discontinuance of either or both, will often leave
no necessity for special treatment.

Contused or lacerated wounds. These are usually caused by a blow
with some blunt instrument, the breaking of the flooring, or an animal
getting one of its limbs through or over the partition between the stalls.
The seriousness depends largely on the depth of the injury, and treat-
ment should be directed to allaying the inflammation and preventing
the consequent tendency to sloughing. To this end soothing applica-
tions, such as fomentations and poultices, are plainly indicated.

Methods of healing. These may technically be divided into a num.*
ber of distinct processes, but practically we may speak of them as two
only, viz., by primary union or adhesion, and by granulation. As sup-
puration is not so liable to occur in the ox as in the horse, healing by
the former and more speedy process is much more common in the first
named species, more particularly in clean cut or incised wounds, pro-
vided they have been stitched within twelve hours from the time the
injury which caused them was inflicted ; that they have been kept clean
and that the patient has by some means been kept fairly still. This
latter stipulation is probably hardest to comply with. Quiet is an
important factor in the process of repair among the lower animals as
well as their masters, and the rule is none the less good because unfor-
tunately it is more frequently honored in the breach than in the observ-
ance. Healing by this method is in some cases extraordinarily quick,
union between the divided parts having been known to take place as
soon as twenty-four hours after their adjustment by the surgeon.

The second method of healing, namely, by granulation, which is,
however, the manner in which most wounds in animals heal, takes much
longer time. In punctured wounds of any depth healing necessarily
takes place in this way only, and the treatment should be directed
largely to alleviating pain and moderating inflammation. The former
can be accomplished by opium applied locally in the form of the diluted
tincture, or given internally in repeated small doses, and the latter by
aconite or fluid extract of gelsemium. Twenty-five to thirty drops of
either are given at intervals depending on the severity of the fever in
the drinking water or dropped on the tongue,

After treatment and dressing of wounds. The dressing of wounds,
whether they have been attended to by a veterinarian or not, is a mat-


ter which, in case of animals of the ox tribe, invariably devolves upon
the owner or his employes. It must not, however, be inferred from this
that the matter is of secondary importance. The dressing of wounds
is one of the most important branches of veterinary surgery, and one
of the most constant difficulties that the practicing veterinarian has to
< niit!'iid with lies in the want of appreciation on the part of owners in
the absolute importance of care and attention in the after treatment of
wounds. It is for this reason that the writer is averse to closing this
portion of his task without pointedly calling attention to the fact that
it is very largely to skillful, patient, and careful dressing that satisfac-
tory recovery from most serious accidents is due, and this unswerving
vigilance and solicitude I would bespeak not only for the injured parts,
but for the general care of the animal and its surroundings.

The first and foremost consideration in the dressing of a wound is
the observance of scrupulous cleanliness. The most subtle medica-
ments are worse than wasted if dirt claims a 50 per cent interest in
the business, as is too often the case upon the farm where the care ot
an animal is relegated to the ignorant and thoughtless hired help.
Unless an animal is in slings, straw and other foreign bodies as well as
blood and necessary discharges usually adhere to a wound when it
comes to be dressed. These should be carefully freed from the wound
by means of a sponge dipped in a 2 per cent solution of carbolic acid.
The sponge should not be brought into actual contact, but should be
wrung out just above it, the water being allowed to trickle over the
injured part. When the wound and the parts surrounding it have
been thoroughly cleansed it may be dressed either with the " white
lotion," the formula for which has already been given, or with a solu-
tion of chloride of zinc, one ounce to a quart of pure cold water. In
cold weather the parts may be dressed with the following: Oxide of
zinc ointment, 4 ounces; compound tincture of benzoin, 2 drams; mix,
and keep the box covered.

A single fold of ordinary cotton batting, gently pressed over the oint-
ment, will cause it to remain adherent to the wounded part. In super-
ficial excoriate! wounds in cattle a very excellent first dressing (after
thoroughly cleansing the wound) consists of iodoform (a compound of
iodine and chloroform) blown on to the wound through a quill or a folded
piece of stiff' paper. This should be followed by a second dressing of
pulverized aloes applied in the same way, which not only forms an arti-
ficial scab, but possesses the additional advantage of keeping ofl' Hies.

There are many other applications equally simple and eflieaeious,
such as perchloride of morcury, one part to eight hundred of water;
boracic acid, one part to twenty parts of water; carbolie acid one part
to water thirty parts, but the foregoing will be found as good as any.

No good purpose can be served by applying to healthy wounds irri-
tating mixtures of oils and acids, and an owner may safely make up
his mind to the fact that whatever mixture he may use. no matter how
successful it may have been, he is pretty sure to luwc a neighbor who


will want to know the reason why he did not use something else.
Whatever antiseptic is used always recollect that cleanliness, rest, and
attention constitute 50 per cent of the contest, and that the other half
may safely be left to the restoring touch of nature.

Barbcd-wlrc cuts. I have specified these simply because there exists
in some sections of the country a fixed idea that there is a specific
poison in barbed wire, causing injuries which require treatment differ-

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 36 of 56)