United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

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a thickness of an inch, become wrinkled and fissured. This disease is
confined to hot climates. The predisposing cause is unknown.


This is a dropsical condition of the skin and subcutaneous areolar
tissue, characterized by pitting under pressure, the fingers leaving a
dent which remains a short time.

Cause*. (Edema generally results from a weakened state of the sys-
tem, arising from previous disease. It may also be dependent upon a
functional derangement of the kidneys. Occasionally I have seen very
large o?dematous swellings beneath the lower jaw without being able
to discover the cause.

Symptom*. Sudden painless swelling of a limb, udder, lower surface
of abdomen, or lower jaw becomes apparent. This may increase in
dimensions for several days, or may attain its maximum in less than
twenty-four hours. Unless complicated with some acute disease of a
specific character, there is not ranch if any constitutional disturbance.
The deep layer of the skin is infiltfated with serum, which gives it the
characteristic condition of pitting under pressure.

Treatment. "When the cause can be ascertained and removed, we
will have a reasonable expectation of seeing the cudema disapjtear.
When no direct specific cause can bo discovered, and the animal is
debilitated, give general tonics. If, on the contrary, it is in good flesh,
give a purgative, followed by half an ounce of acetate of potash twice a
day. External applications are useless.

(Edema may be distinguished from erysipelas or anthrax by the
absence of jiain and fever.


A dermapikms cyst is formed by nn involution of the skin, with a
growth of hair on the inner wall of the sac. It may become imbedded
deeply in the tissue* mtlxmtancously, or may just ]>cnetrate the thick-


ness of the skin, where it is movable and painless. They are generally
found within the ear or at its base, although they may form on any
part of the body. Usually they have a small opening, from which a
thick, cheesy matter can be squeezed out. The rational treatment is
to dissect them out.

Sebaceous cysts appear not unlike the former. They are formed by a
dilatation of the hair follicle and sebaceous duct within the skin, and
contain a gray or yellowish sebaceous mass. The tumor may attain
the size of a cherry-stone or a walnut. Generally they are round,
movable, and painless, soft or doughy in consistency, and covered with
skin and hair. They develop slowly. The best treatment is to dissect
out the sac with contents entire.


Cattle are affected with two varieties of warts. One, the verruca
vulgaris, is composed of a cluster of enlarged papilla, covered with a
thickened epidermis, the number of papilla determining the breadth
and their length its height. They are generally circular in figure,
slightly roughened on the surface, and spring from the skin by a broad
base. Occasionally large numbers of very thin, long, pedunculated
warts grow from the skin of the ear, lips, about the eyes, and vulva.
Another variety, the verruca acuminata^ sometimes erroneously denomi-
nated epithelial cancers, are irregularly shaped elevations, tufted, or
club-shaped, occasionally existing as thick, short, fleshy excrescences,
giving the growth the appearance of granulation tissue. Their color
is red or purplish, and oftentimes by friction they become raw and
bleeding, emitting then a very offensive odor. They usually grow iu
clusters and their development is rapid. I once treated a two-year-old
steer in which the back part of both forelegs were covered with these
excrescences, some as large as a goose-egg. Many of them presented
a raw, "bleeding surface; others had a perfectly smooth surface, devoid
of hair. %

Causes. An abnormal nutrition of the skin, determined by increased
energy of growth operating upon a healthy skin; at other times upon
a weak or impoverished skin.

Treatment. When they are small and pedunculated they may be
snipped off with shears, and the stump touched with nitrate of silver.
When they are broad and flattened they can be dissected out, and the
wound cauterized, if necessary. If they are large and very vascular
they may be ligated, one by one, by taking a strong cord and tying it
as firmly around the base as possible. They will then shrivel, die, and
drop off. If there is a tendency to grow again apply a red-hot iron, or
nitric acid with a glass rod.


Kelis is an irregularly-shaped flat tumor of the skin, resulting from
hypertrophy increased growth of the fibrous tissue of the corium, pro-
ducing absorption of the papillary layer.


Cawea. It may arise spontaneously, or follow a scar after an injury.

Symptoms. Kelis generally appears below the knee or hock. It may
occur singly or in numbers. There are no constitutional symptoms.
Its growth is very slow, and seldom causes any inconvenience. It
appears as a flattened, irregular or spreading growth within the sub-
stance of the skin, is hard to the touch, and is especially characterized
by divergent branches or roots ; hence the name is derived from its
resemblance to a crab. Occasionally some part of it may soften and
result in an abscess. It may grow several inches in length, and encircle
the whole limb.

Treatment. So long as no inconvenience is manifested by the animal
it is best not to meddle with it; when it does, the animal ought to be
fattened for beef, the meat being perfectly harmless to the consumer.


Mange is a disease of a local nature, due to a mite, which induces
irritation and incrustation on the surface of the body generally. It is
always contagious, requiring for its development the transplantation
of the parasites or their eggs from the diseased to the healthy animal.
This disease is not very common among cattle in this country, while in
some countries it prevails as an epizootic. Poor hygiene appears to
favor the extension of the disease, and it is claimed that weakened cat-
tle are more predisposed to harbor the parasite than strong, healthy
ones. It is also more prevalent in winter than in summer, and in the
latter season sometimes entirely disappears.

Cattle are afflicted with two varieties of these parasites. They
belong to the class Arachnidw, genera, Fsoroptes (J)ermatodcctes) which
simply bite, and hold on to the skin; and Chorioptcn ( living
together in large families, and not piercing further than the cuticle in
search of food.

Psoroptcs commit nit var. 6ort* (Syn. Dermatodcctes communis, Der-
matocoptes coinmftnis). This is the most frequent one met in cattle.
It lives on the surface of the epidermis, and gives rise to much irrita-
tion by biting. It generally chooses the regions of the top of the shoul-
der and root of the tail for its habitation. From these localities it grad-
ually extends by increase in numbers, causing intense itching and
great digress in the affected animal. From the irritation of the skin
papular nodules appear, which develop into vesicles filled with fluid
and rupture. The drying of the exuding fluid forms crusts, and these
are liable to bo followed by ulccration. The hairs may project up
through the crust or fall out. In chronic cases the skin becomes thick-
ened and almost insensible, dry, and wrinkled. As it is easy to con-
found this disease with eczema, our sole dependence for a correct diag-
nosis rests upon the discovery of the parasite, or, at least, upon positive


evidence of contagion. The acari can be detected upon the hair and
surface of the epidermis by the aid of an ordinary magnifying glass, or
they may be' seen with the naked eye as minute white points moving
about Avhen the infested animal stands in the full glare of the sun on a
warm day.

Ghorioptes symbiotes var. bovis (Syinbiotes bovis). This variety of
the acari rarely affect cattle. They generally live at the base of the
tail; through neglect they may extend along the back or down upon
the thighs. This type of mange is not nearly so contagious as the
former variety, though in all other respects it produces similar effects.
This variety is best seen by picking off a scab and laying it on a piece
of white paper, which is then placed in the sun. The next day the
parasites may be found in clusters.

Treatment. It is of the utmost importance to cleanse the skin,
removing crusts, etc., before the parasites can be effectually eradicated.
For this purpose use soft soap and warm water, and give the animal a
thorough scrubbing, especially in regions where the skin has been
rubbed. If the crusts are not all removed by the first washing, apply
sweet oil to soften them. They may then be washed off the following
day. To kill the mites apply thoroughly, with a brush, the following
mixture: Creolin, 1 ounce; oil of tar, 1 ounce; soft soap, pint; sulphur,
pound; alcohol,! pint. Wash it off in two days with soap and water.
Three or four days later a second application should be made to destroy
all remaining acari. It is essential that the stable or stalls where
affected cattle have been should be cleansed and whitewashed, or satu-
rated with sulphuric acid 1 pint to 3 gallons of water.


The lice of cattle are of two kinds, the suctorial lice, belonging to
the family Pediculidra of the order Hemiptera (sub-order Parasita),
which are found only upon mammals. The other variety biting lice
belong to the family Philopteridre of the order Pseudoneuroptera (sub-
order Mallophaga), which attack mammals and fowls. Those belong-
ing to the first variety are the short-nosed ox-louse Hcematopinus
eurysternus and the long-nosed ox-louse Hccmatopinus vituli (Syn. H.
tennirostris). The short-nosed ox-louse is the larger and the harder
to exterminate. It infests almost exclusively the neck and shoulders,
and those parts are frequently worn bare by the animal in its efforts
to rid itself of these tormentors. The full-grown females of the short-
nosed ox-louse are from one-eighth to one-fifth of an inch long, and fully
half that in width, while the males are slightly smaller. The males
have a broad, black stripe running forward from the end of the body
to near the middle of the abdomen ; the females have no indication
of this stripe. The true pumping organ, as in all the Pedieulidse, con-
sists of a slender piercing tube which may be greatly extended in order
to reach the blood of the infested animal.


The females deposit tlieir eggs on the hair, attaching them very near
the skin by means of an adhesive substance. The long-nosed ox louse
is the most familiar to cattlemen. The body is about an eighth of an
inch long, and not more than one-third of that in width. The head is
very long and slender, and no eyes are visible. In color there is little
difference in the two species.

There is but one species of biting lice known to occur on cattle, the
Trtchodectes scalaritt. This is very common on cattle. It is very dis-
tinct from the suctorial species in appearance, and this is readily recog-
nized by all observers, for it is generally called "the little red louse,"
in contrast with the blue louse. They are also less injurious than the

The biting louse possesses a inandibnlate mouth, or a mouth provided
with cutting and biting jaws. They attack the animal along the spine,
hips, rump, and sometimes the neck and head.

Symptoms. Lousiness generally becomes manifest in winter and
toward spring, when the animal is found to rub the infested portions
of the body, occasionally^ to such an extent as to produce excoriations
of the skin. It becomes thin in flesh and debilitated. A close exami-
nation will reveal the true state, and prompt attention is advisable.

Treatment. The treatment does not vary for the three species,
although the short-nosed louse is the most difficult to destroy. I have
been most successful with a decoction of Cocculus Indicus fish ber-
ries. Take a half pound for each animal, pound fine, then add two
quarts of vinegar, and set it on the stove to simmer for an hour. Apply
this thoroughly by rubbing it well into the hair over the infested
region. This will not injure the skin or sicken the animal, and it
remains effective long enough to kill all the young lice as they are
hatched from the nits. Prof. Riley's kerosene emulsion is also very
effective, and is made as follows : Kerosene, 2 gallons; common or whale
oil soap, one-quarter pound; water, 1 gallon. Heat the solution of soap
and add it boiling hot to the kerosene; churn the mixture for live or ten
minutes. Dilute the emulsion with eight parts of water, and apply it to
the animal by a thorough rubbing. Fifty animals ran be treated with
10 gallons of the, liquid.


Warbles are characterized by tumors in the skin along the back and
loins of cattle, which contain a grub deposited by the ffypodcrma boris,
or gadily. When the cattle are attacked by this tly it is easily known
by the terror and agitation of the whole herd. The unfortunate object
of the attack runs bellowing from among the, herd to some distant part
of the field or the nearest water. The tail, from the seventy of the
pain, is held with a tremulous motion straight from the Imdy, and the
head and neck are stretched out to the utmost. The remainder, from


fear generally, follow to the water or run off to different parts of the

The larva of this fly, when young, is smooth, white, and transparent;
as it enlarges it becomes browner, and about the time it is full grown
it is of a deep brown color. The larva, having attained its full growth
and size, effects its escape from the abscess in the back of the affected
animal, and falls to the ground; it then seeks a retreat in which
to pupate. The puparium is of a dark brown color, narrower at one
end than at the other, flat on one side, and very round and convex on
the other. They may remain in this state for about six weeks, when
the fly appears. The grubs usually escape during the months of May
and June; occasionally as late as September. Sometimes these warbles
are very numerous, and cause a great deal of pain and uneasiness in
the animal, which becomes thin in flesh, hidebound, and feverish;
more frequently, however, they do no harm, except to the hides. I am
under the impression that the so-called heel-fly of our southwestern
States and the gadfly are identical. I have never had an opportunity
of learning the true history of the former, therefore I can not be

Treatment. Whenever cattle have these tumors along the back- in
the winter, it is advisable to enlarge the opening which already exists
and press out the grub, or it may be caught with the point of a shoe-
maker's awl and extracted.

Since writing the foregoing history of the development of the grub,
I have seen an article written by Dr. Cooper Curtice, published in the
Journal of Comparative Medicine and Veterinary Archives, Vol. xii,
No. 6, in which he details quite a different history concerning the ox-
warble, viz : He discovered that the Hypoderma bovis is not the common
species of gadfly that we have in this country, but that it is the Hypo-
derma Uneata Villers, which is common with us. He says:

The adult fly lays its eggs somewhere oil cattle, presumably the back, by attach-
ing them to the hairs. This attachment is admirably outlined by the structure of
the egg, which is similar to that of the horse botfly, Gastrophilus equi, and by the
structure of the ovipositor, which is not adapted for boring. While some authors
have contended that the egg is laid in the skin others have conclusively shown that
this is not the case. * * * Development takes place within the egg while yet
attached to the hair. * * * From this point on my version of the life history
varies from that of others until the larva has arrived at its destination in the cysts,
under the skin, which open to the air through the hide. * * * It has been stated
by various authorities that the young grub emerging from the shell bored its way
through the skin until it reached the subcutaneous tissue, and thus made its chan-
nel. From circumstantial evidence I believe that the embryos are licked by the cattle
and swallowed, or lodged in the back of the mouth or oesophagus. This theory is
based on the appearance of the cattle grubs in the walls of the oesophagus in No-
vember, long before they are found iu the backs of cattle in this locality. Later,
about Christmas time, the grubs appear suddenly, and in full force under the skin
of the back. At their first appearance under the skin they are as large as those
found in the oesophagus at that time, and differ in nowise from them. By the latter
part of January or early in February all have disappeared from the oesophagus, to-


gether with all traces of inflammatory action in that organ so observable in January.
The earliest grub holes that I have been able to find are very uniform in size, corre-
sponding -with the caliber of the grubs contained in them, and had no appearance of
the sac which forms later. The walls were rough as if gnawed, and the hole was
cylindrical to near the epidermis, when it suddenly contracted. Now the freshness
of the wound and the absence of inflammatory action is a very good index of the
recent date of the wound, for when the wound is exposed to the air germs are sure
to enter, a sac grows and secretes pus. Were the wound of a more remote date it
would be of quite another character, as every pathologist will admit. Just preced-
ing the time when one is able to find the young warbles in the skin, that condition
known to butchers as "lick" appears. The "lick" is nothing more than an effusion
of serum into the connective tissue membrane, and is produced by the inflammation
set up by the wanderings of the young grubs. This effusion can also be found in
the walls of the oesophagus, just prior to the final disappearance of the grubs. The
disappearance of the " licks " from the tissues underlying that portion of the hide
most infested, the saddle, is followed by finding the grubs iu sacs in the first and
second cutaneous stages. When the sacs are well formed the " licks " have disap-
peared. These "licks" are said by farmers and butchers to be caused by cattle
licking themselves. It is easy to understand, however, that the cattle lick them-
selves at this time on account of the irritation produced by the grubs in piercing
through the sensitive skin. The appearance of "lick" in those parts where the
force of the tongue could not reach, as in the oesophagus, an appearance which has
been my guide to the grub and its vicinity, is quite good proof that the grubs cause


This is a small fly inhabiting the lower Mississippi Valley, and proves
a great scourge to cattle in that region. The term buffalo gnat is derived
from their supposed resemblance to that animal. It has a large hump-
backed thorax, with a head supplied with two antennae-like small horns.
It belongs to the order diptera, family nimulida:. The perfect fly varies
in length from 3 mui to 4.5 mm , the females being usually the larger. They
are characterized by their peculiar short and thick shape; the head is
bent under, and is nearly as wide as the very large and humped thorax.
The thick antenna; are composed of twelve stout joints; the four-jointed
palpi terminate in long and fine joints; the posterior shanks ami the
first joint of the hind tarsi are somewhat dilated. The free labrum is
as sharp as a dagger, and the very prominent proboscis is well adapted
for drawing blood. The insects possess no ocelli, but their eyes are
large. In the male they join at the forehead, but in the female they
are farther apart. The mouth organs of the male are not BO well devel-
oped as in the female, being soft and unable to draw blood. The bodies
of these gnats are quite hard and can resist considerable pressure.
The color of the southern buffalo gnat is black, but covered with grayish-
brown, short, and silken hairs, which are arranged upon the thorax in
such a manner as to show three parallel longitudinal black stripes.
The abdomen is more densely covered with similar hairs, and shows,
furthermore, a dorsal broad, whitish stripe, which widens towards the
posterior end. The legs are more reddish, but also covered with hairs
of the same color as elsewhere. The balancers arc yellowish-white and


the wings ample. These pests are migratory, or are driven in swarms
by the wind, hence they appear in localities remote from their breeding
place. They have been seen as far north as Jackson County, 111., and
Daviess County, Ind. As a rule, however, they are restricted to the
counties bordering on the Mississippi Eiver, from St. Louis, Mo., to Eed
River in Louisiana. Arkansas appears to be their great breeding place,
and nearly the whole State is more or less afflicted with them, especially
along the streams and valleys. Occasionally they extend their flight
into southeastern Kansas. Overflows of the Mississippi, occurring in
March, April and May, are generally soon followed by dense swarms.
This pest has been known as far back as the earliest settlements of
Kentucky and Tennessee. The appearance of the buffalo gnats occurs
each year with the continuous warm weather of spring, when they may
be seen to gather in swarms on the vegetation along the confluent
streams of the Mississippi, and from thence are drifted about by the
winds, and carried sometimes for long distances. At first the members
of a swarm are very blood-thirsty, but they soon begin to die off until
all have disappeared. The duration of an invasion of the infested region
varies from a few days to five or six weeks. Cold weather renders them
dormant, until the warmth of the sun revivifies them again, while very
hot weather kills them. When these gnats have filled themselves with
blood from an animal they soon die. The females alone leave their
breeding place, the males always remain. In their migration they select
certain places, generally low and wet ground; exposed sunny spots are
shunned. Some years they prove very disastrous to the stockowners in
the infested regions, and as they do not appear each year in the same
place they often swarm in upon a wooded pasture, or attack cattle pass-
ing along the road, which become worn out from the attack before
they can be brought to a safe place. They are most active in the early
morning and evening, exceedingly quick in their movements, and almost
noiseless. When they are very numerous they cover the whole animal
without regard to position; thus when cattle are weakened from ex-
posure during winter, and by scarcity of feed, they succumb easily.
When cattle are attacked they attempt to run away from them, and
generally aim to reach brushwood or thickets in order to rub off their
tormentors. If near water they plunge into that, and remain in it until
the gnats leave the place, or the animal becomes pinched with hunger.
Animals which have a smooth, short coat are not so badly punished as
those with long hair. The bites of a few gnats will not affect the animal
seriously, but when attacked by swarms they rapidly weaken from loss
of blood and shock, and may die subsequently from exhaustion or blood
poisoning. The fatality is much greater among mules than cattle.
Their mode of attack is to follow the hair to the skin, plunge their stout
beaks into it, and fill themselves with blood; they then drop off, and
die within twenty-four hours. The place of puncture on the animal is
marked by a drop of blood which oozes from the wound. Their breed-


ing places are the tributaries to large rivers or streams; they select
places where the water runs slowly. The eggs are deposited \>y the
females just above the water's edge, upon any object projecting above
the water; they are mostly deposited in the forenoon, hatched out in a
few hours and the larvae fall into the stream. These larva? congregate
in swift water, where they live for nearly a year. Then they spin a
tough brown cocoon, with the upper end open, within which they become
transformed into pupa?, and in about ten days emerge as adult gnats.

Treatment. When an animal has been weakened by an attack of
these gnats, give from 1 to 2 drams of carbonate of ammonia in 4
ounces of whisky every four hours. Keep the animal in a cool, dark
place. Occasional immersion in cold water has been beneficial.

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 39 of 56)