United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

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way lose condition, their coat is staring, gait slow, and small vesicles
containing yellow liquid form under the tongue ; the milk given by cows
is thin and watery. Such animals become restless and uneasy, as is
indicated by frequent bellowing. The disease may last for months, the
animal ultimately dying, worn out by fever. Depraved appetite fre-
quently precedes the condition in which the bones of cattle become brit-
tle and fracture easily, and which is known by the name of osteomalacia.

Causes. Bad food, especially food which has undergone changes
which lessen its digestibility and impair its nutritive value, is the com-
mon cause. It has been stated that the food of which animals partake
previous to becoming affected with this disease must be deficient in
some of the constituents required to supply the wear and growth of
the body, and especially that there is a deficiency of lime salts. Cattle
pastured on low, swampy land become predisposed to it. It occasion-
ally happens, however, that one individual in a herd suffers though all
arc fed alike; in such cases the disease must arise from the affected
animal not assimilating properly the nutritive elements of the food
which is supplied to it.

Treatment. The aim in Riich cases must be to improve the process
of digestion and to supply the animal with a sufficiency of sound and
wholesome food. The following should be given to the cow three times
a day, a heaped tablespoonful constituting a dose: Carbonate of iron,
4 ounces; powdered gentian, 4 ounces; common salt, 4 ounces; pow-
dered fenugreek, 4 ounces; mix. In addition to this three tublo-
Bpoonfuls of powdered charcoal should be mixed with the animal's
food at least three times a day, and a piece of rock salt should be
placed where the animal can lick it at will.
24C97 3



These concretions or hair-balls are produced by animals licking
themselves, or by their licking other animals. As a result of this habit
the hairs which are swallowed are carried round by the contractions of
the stomach and gradually assume the form of a small pellet or ball.
These increase in size as fresh quantities of hair are introduced into the
stomach, which become adherent to the surface of the hair-ball. These
hair-balls are found most frequently in the reticulum or second stom-
ach (Plate n), though sometimes in the rumen. In calves hair-balls
are generally found in the fourth stomach. There are no certain symp-
toms by which we can determine the presence of hair-balls in the
stomach, and therefore no treatment can be recommended for such
cases. In making post-mortem examinations of cattle we have some-
times found the walls of the reticulum transfixed with nails or pieces
of wire, and yet the animal during life had not shown any symptoms
of indigestion, but had died from maladies not involving the second


The various names which have been applied to this disease indicate
that those who have written concerning it arc by no means agreed as
to its nature and cause. Among systematic writers, however, there
seems to be a general agreement that the seat of the disease is in the
third stomach, as they have followed one another faithfully in describ-
ing that part as the sole seat of trouble. We think it more correct to
regard this as a general disorder of the tligestive organs, and that the
third stomach merely participates in the disordered functions of the
other stomachs.

Catties. Want of exercise predisposes to this disease, or food which
is coarse and indigestible may after a time produce this condition.
Food which possesses astringent properties and tends to check secre-
tion may also act as an exciting cause. Food in excessive quantity
may also lead to disorder of digestion and to this disease. It is very
likely to appear towards the end of protracted seasons of drought,
therefore a deficiency of water must be regarded as one of the condi-
tions which favor its development. However, we think it best to state
that the causation of this disease is not at present completely under-
stood, and that cases may sometimes occur in which the explanations
offered as to their cause are mere conjecture.

Symptoms. Diminished appetite, rumination irregular, tongue coated,
month slimy, dung passed apparently not well digested and smelling
badly, dullness and fullness of the flanks. It is also frequently stated
that on pressing the fist below the short ribs on the right side the
third stomach will be found as a hard sort of mass in that situation.


The disease may in some cases assume a chronic character, and in
addition to the foregoing symptoms slight bloating or tympanitis of the
left flank may be observed; the animal breathes with effort and each
respiration may be accompanied by a grunt, the ears and horns are
alternately hot and cold, rumination ceases, the usual rumbling sound
in the stomach is not audible, the passage of dung is almost entirely
suspended, and the animal passes only a little mucus occasionally.
The patient falls away in flesh and becomes weaker, as is shown by
one frequently finding it lying down. "When the animal falls into this
weak and exhausted condition the disease frequently terminates fatally.

On examining animals which have died of this disease a dry and

what hardened condition of the contents of the third stomach is

found. In other cases the stomachs and their contents present a natural

appearance, and we may remark in this connection that in the latter

class of cases the causation of the disease has yet to be explained.

In some cases the brain becomes disordered, no doubt from the de-
ranged condition of the stomach reaching the brain through what is
termed reflex action. There is weakness and an unsteady gait, the
animal does not appear to take notice of and will consequently run
against obstacles; after a time it falls down and gives up to violent
and disordered movements. This delirious condition is succeeded by
coma or stupor, and death ensues.

Treatment. Aromatic and demulcent draughts should be given to
produce a soothing effect on the mucous lining of the stomachs and to
promote digestion. Two ounces of charnomile flowers should be boiled
for twenty minutes in a quart of water and the infusion on cooling
shotild be given to the affected animal. This should be repeated about
three times a day. When constipation i s present the following purga-
tive may be administered: Sulphate of magnesia, 1 pound; Barbadoes
aloes, half an ounce; powdered ginger, 1 ounce; powdered -nux vomica,
1 dram; fluid extract of belladonna, half an ounce. The different pow-
ders contained in this prescription should bjp stirred up in 2 quarts of
lukewarm water, then the fluid extract of belladonna added and the
dose administered. After this purgative has acted, if there is a lack of
appetite and the animal does not ruminate regularly, the powder men-
tioned in remarks on the treatment of chronic tympanitis should be
given according to directions. The diet must be rather laxative and of
a digestible character after an attack of this form of indigestion. Food
should be given in moderate quantities, as any excess by overtasking
the digestive functions may bring on a relapse.


This disorder is produced by drinking copiously of cold water, which
arrests digestion and produces cramp of the fourth stomach, probably
of the other stomachs, and also of the bowels. Cruzc! states th:it it is
frequently observed in working oxen during hot weather.


Causes. It is not customary for the ox to drink much water at once.
In fact he usually drinks slowly, and as if he were merely tasting the
water, letting some fall out at the corners of his mouth at every mouth-
ful. He drinks much less in proportion to his size than the horse, and
when fed on green food or at pasture he may pass several days without
drinking. It would, therefore, seem to be contrary to the habits of the
ox to drink largely. But we find that during hot weather, when he has
been working and is consequently very thirsty, if he drinks a large
quantity of cold water he is immediately taken with a very severe colic.
Though Cruzel, a French writer on the diseases of the ox, is, of opinion
that these are the only conditions under which this form of colic arises,
I have known it to affect milch cows quite severely in winter, when they
are let out of a warm stable to be watered. Cows which are fed largely
on dry hay drink copiously, like the working ox, and become affected
in precisely the same manner. But the secretion of milk in the cow is
usually much diminished after such attacks. In such cases I have also
observed that they are seized with a chill or fit of trembling before the
cramps come on.

Symptoms. There is some distension of the abdomen, but no accumu-
lation of gas. As the distension and pain occur immediately after the
animal has drunk the water there can not be any doubt as to the excit-
ing cause. Cruzel, in speaking of the treatment of this disease, says it
is customary among French farmers to walk or even trot the ox up and
down, and that as a result of this treatment the water passes from the
fourth stomach into the bowel, from which it is soon passed off not much
changed, except that it is slightly colored by the substances with which
it has come in contact in passing through the bowel. Diarrhea then
appears to be a favorable termination of this affection.

Treatment. The treatment above described should be adopted in a
modified form. It is obviously dangerous to trot an animal whose
stomach and bowels are largely distended with water, but it appears
rational to walk the animal about for ten minutes before administering
medicine, as this allows time for a portion of the contents of the stom-
ach to pass into the bowel, and renders it safer to give medicine. In
many cases the walking exercise and the diarrhea bring about a spon-
taneous cure of this disorder, but as in some instances the cramps and
pains of the stomachs persist, I have been accustomed to give 1
ounce of sulphuric ether and 1 ounce of tincture of opium, shaken up
with a pint of warm water, and to repeat the dose in half an hour if the
animal is not relieved. In an emergency when medicine is not to be
had, half a pint of whisky may be substituted for medicine, and should
be given mixed with a pint of warm water ; or a tablespoonful of pow-
dered ginger may be administered in the same way as the remedies
already mentioned. I have never seen a case of this kind terminate
fatally, but Cruzel mentions that he has witnessed tv/o fatal cases. In
both the fourth stomach was congested, and in one case there was a


rupture of a part of the small intestine. In both of those cases the ani-
mals were compelled to trot forward and back, and it seems reasonable
to infer that this treatment was the cause of their death.



Sucking calves are subject to a form of diarrhea to which the above
designations have been applied.

Causes. Calves which suck their dams are not frequently affected
with this disease, though it may be occasioned by their sucking at long
intervals and thus overloading the stomach and bringing on indigestion.
Calves which are separated from their dams and which receive consid-
erable quantities of cold milk at long intervals are liable to contract
this form of indigestion. Calves fed on artificial food, which is some-
times used as a substitute for milk, also frequently contract it.

Symptoms. The milk which passes into the fourth stomach becomes
curdled and acts as an irritant on the surface of the stomach and bow-
els, so that a catarrhal condition of their mucous surface is set up. The
passages have a thin, yellowish- white appearance and become very fre-
quent. The calf becomes dull, whisks its tail as if in pain whenever
there is a passage from the bowels, loses its appetite, becomes weak,
and unless the disease is checked dies in a few days from exhaustion.

Treatment. The calf should have from 1 to 2 ounces of castor oil
and a tablespoonful of laudanum. A mild dose of purgative medi-
cine is given to remove the curdled milk from the stomach and bowels.
The object of the subsequent treatment is to allay the irritation of the
stomach and bowels and to restore the digestive functions. We rec-
ommend the following to be compounded and divided into twelve pow-
ders: Powdered rhubarb, 1 ounces; carbonate of magnesia, 3 ounces.
One of these powders should be given four times a day; each powder
to be shaken up with two wineglassfuls of new milk, to which two tea-
spoonfuls of whisky should be added. A little fresh milk should be
given five or six times a day, or the calf allowed to suck about six times
a day, but the quantity should be limited. In applying treatment the
mother should always be examined as to the condition of her health,
diet, etc., as the disorder may sometime* bo traced to some disease or
mismanagement affecting the mother.


This consists of an inflammation of the mucous surface of the fourth
stomach and of the bowel. The inflammation is seldom limited to the
mucous surface of the fourth stomach, but almost always involves the
mucous surface of the bowel to a greater or less extent.

Causes. Long intervals between times of feeding; sudden chocking
of perspiration; putting working oxen to severe work immediately

21 S2S,*5 1


aftrr feeding, so that they do not have time to ruminate; sudden
changes of diet. In enumerating the causes of this disease we think it
well at the same time to indicate how the operation of those causes may
be prevented. In working oxen, for example, they may be allowed to
rest after feeding so that rumination is not interfered with. Grass
which has lain so long after cutting that it is wilted, musty hay, and
any kind of forage which contains a large amount of hard, fibrous
material, so that it resists the macerating and solvent action of the
stomachs may set up inflammation of the digestive mucous membrane.
Exposure of the body to the action of damp and cold winds is also dan-

Symptoms. Dullness; drooping of the ears; dryness of the muzzle;
dry skin; staring coat; loins morbidly sensitive to pressure; fullness of
the left flank, which is owing to the distension of the fourth stomach
by gas. The pulse is small, the gait is feeble and staggering, each
step the animal makes is accompanied by a grunt, and this symptom is
espeeialty marked if the animal happens to walk in a downward direc-
tion; there is loss of appetite, and rumination is suspended. On the
second day of sickness the passages are few in number, hard, and are
sometimes coated with mucus. If treatment does not bring relief the
symptoms become aggravated, the pulse weaker, complications may set
in, such as inflammation of the lungs, or there may be symptoms of
brain disorder. The bowels may act very irregularly, sometimes being
constipated, and at other times the passages are soft, tarry looking, and
streaked with blood. The passages at the last stage of the disease
exhale a putrid odor which may even occasion sickness in other ani-
mals, and this suggests the idea that in treating this disease it is
advisable to keep sick animals apart from healthy ones. When the sick
animal assumes a recumbent position there is a continual grunt or
moan which appears to accompany each expiration; the animal usually
dies in convulsions, and in some cases at this time a bloody liquid issues
from the mouth and anus.

Post-mortem appearances. The contents of the rumen are dry, those
of the manyplies or third stomach have a similar appearance and are
also dark in color, and on removing some portions of the mucous mem-
brane of the third stomach the subjacent tissue is reddened. The
mucous membrane of the fourth stomach has a well-marked red color
and sometimes presents ulcerations. The inflammation generally ex-
tends to the mucous surface of the small intestine, which shows large
brownish spots on its surface and also ulcerated surfaces.

Treatment. Owing to the fact that this malady frequently is caused
by some imperfectly digested food setting up infl animation of the mu-
cous surface of the stomach and bowels, it is advisable when disease is
supposed to originate from such cause to give a pint of castor oil, and
then ta give three or four times a day a quart of linseed tea in which
an ounce of carbonate of magnesia has been dissolved, and along with


each dose ton drops of tincture of aconite should be combined. The
food should be soft and easily digested, such as small quantities of
bran mash and oatmeal gruel. It is also advisable as early as the
second day of the animal's sickness to give small quantities of hay or
grass, so as to encourage the animal to ruminate, which it will not do if
kept entirely on very soft and liquid food. Care must be exercised not
to give too much of such food as grass and hay, but to gradually in-
crease the proportion of such diet as the animal's digestive organs seem
to be returning to their natural function. Purgative medicine must be
administered only when absolutely necessary, as a restoration of the
digestive organs to their natural functions is desired, rather than to
produce purgation.


Diarrhea results either from increased action of the muscular coat of
the intestines, an unusually liquid state of their contents, or, generally,
from both of those conditions combined.

Causes. The exciting causes of diarrhea maybe thus arranged: Irri-
tation of the intestines by food taken in excess, or of improper quality,
and this especially applies to soft, watery, green food; excessive secre-
tions, especially bile; impure water and water drunk in excess; mechan-
ical congestion of the intestinal vessels; acute or chronic inflammation
of the bowels. It may be a symptom of other diseases which depend
on the presence of an animal poison in the blood, as may be observed
in Texas fever and contagious pleuro-pneumonia. Causes of a more
general character, viz., exposure to changes of temperature, either
excessive cold or heat may produce it.

Symptoms. The animal is dull, places its feet well under the body,
arches its back, and shows thirst. Passages from the bowels arc fre-
quent, at first consisting of thin dung, but as the disease continues they
become watery and offensive smelling, and may even be streaked with
blood. Frequently this malady is accompanied by fever, great depres-
sion, loss of strength, rapid loss of flesh, and it may terminate in death.

Treatment. When the disease depends on irritating proj)erl ie.s of the
food which has been supplied to the animal it is advisable to give a mild
purgative, such as a pint of castor or linseed oil. When the secretions
of the bowels are irritating iui ounce of carbonate of magnesia and half
an ounce of tincture of opium should be shaken up in a quart of lin-
seed tea and given to the animal three times a day until the passages
present a natural appearance. When there is debility, want of uppetilt',
no fever, but a continuance of the watery discharges from the bowels,
then an astringent may be given. For such cases we have found the
following serviceable: Powdered galls, G ounces; powdered gentian, 2
ounces. Mix and divide into twelve powders. One powder to IK- given


three times a day until the passages present a natural appearance.
Each powder should be mixed with a half pint of whisky and a pint
of water. When diarrhea is a symptom of a malady characterized by
the presence of a blood poison, the treatment appropriate to such dis-
ease must be applied.


Dysentery begins with inflammation of the mucous membrane of the
colon, though the disease may extend to the caecum and sometimes to
the rectum. It is also popularly known in this country by the names
of bloody flux and red murrain.

Causes, Feeding cattle on hay which has been made during a wet
season, musty oats, or any forage which is largely infested with para-
sitic growths. Hay or coarse grass containing a large proportion of
woody fiber, pastures which have been inundated, and the vegetation
growing on low, marshy localities may set up irritation of the mucous
membrane which terminates in dysentery. Water containing a large
proportion of organic matter may also occasion this disease. Tho pas-
sages or excreta of animals suffering from the disease are to be regarded
as containing an infective element, and should be disinfected, burned
or buried.

Symptoms. The animal eats slowly, ruminates less frequently than
when in good health, and walks slowly. Sometimes there are indica-
tions of colicky pains. As the disease advances the animal ceases to
eat and ruminate, the muzzle is dry, the eyes sunken, the coat rough,
the skin dry and adherent or hidebound. The bowels act irregularly,
and the passages are thin, black colored or grayish; the passages then
become frequent, fetid, and are streaked with blood. This disease does
not run a rapid course, and when it proves fatal the mucous membrane
of the bowels will be found thickened and reddened at some parts,
showing ulceration at some other points, and on some portions of its
surface covered with a layer of mucus.

Treatment. When symptoms of dysentery are first observed, a pound
of sulphate of magnesia should be mixed with 4 quarts of tepid water,
and then 2 drams of sulphuric acid should be gradually added to this
mixture. This should be given at one dose, and it is important that it
should be administered at an early stage of the disease, as it not only
serves to remove irritating materials from the bowels, but it has an
astringent and sedative effect on the mucous surfaces and lessens the
congestion. The food should be soft and easy of digestion, and may
consist of grass, boiled or pulped roots, and nutritive drinks, such as
linseed tea, hay tea, etc. When the purgative before mentioned has
unloaded the bowels and stomachs to some extent, the following powder
should be given three times a day, mixed in a quart of linseed tea:
Powdered ipecacuanha, one ounce and a half; powdered opium, half
an ounce; mix and divide into twelve powders. When the foregoing


preparation is not found effectual, oil of turpentine may be given in
half-ounce doses three times a day in a quart of new sweet milk, and
among other remedies which maybe employed we may mention sulphate
of copper, which should be given in dram doses, combined with 20 grains
of opium and mixed with at least a quart of linseed tea. Nitrate of
silver may also be given in 10-grain doses mixed or dissolved in a pint
of distilled water. These latter remedies are especially efficacious in
their effect on the ulceratious on the surface of the intestine, but it is
not advisable to use them in an early stage. Whatever remedy is
employed in treating dysentery, it should be given mixed in a consid-
erable quantity of liquid, as in this way it brings the medicinal agent
in contact with a large portion of the mucous surface of the diseased
bowel. In addition to the treatment recommended, the diseased animal
must be kept warm and comfortable, and great attention must be paid
to its general comfort.


Inflammation of the bowels must be held to signify in a general way
inflammation of all parts of the mucous membrane of the bowels, though
in some forms of what may properly be termed enteritis we find that
the mucous, muscular, and serous coats of the bowels are involved,
while in other cases only a limited portion of the mucous membrane of
the bowel is affected. The different forms of this malady will all be
described under the heading of enteritis.

Gauges. This disease occurs at all seasons of the year, but most fre-
quently at times when there are great variations of temperature. Hard
and long-continued work may operate as a cause in the case of oxen.
Eating such food as musty hay and oats, forage containing acid plants,
the leaves of trees infested with caterpillars, grass which has commenced
to ferment after cutting, dusty hay, and grass covered with hoar frost
may also give rise to enteritis. Drinking copiously of ice-cold water
may also produce it. Exposure to a cold, damp wind or any influence

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 4 of 56)