United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

. (page 40 of 56)
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Prevention. Smoke from fires built of wet wood, burning leather, tar,
rags, etc., has proved the most practical for the purpose of keeping them
at a distance. As soon as the gnats appear build a fire, make as much
smoke as you can, and drive the cattle close up to it, where they will
remain as long as the pest is about. Whenever it can be done, stabling
the cattle during the day and turning them out from late in the even-
ing until early morning will be a reasonably safe measure to adopt.
Cotton-seed, oil mixed with tar, fish oil, kerosene, or carbolic acid,
applied to the cattle twice a day will protect them to a very great


This is a small black fly, which first appeared in sufficient numbers
to attract attention in this country in the year 1887. In that year they
appeared in the counties adjoining Philadelphia, Pa. In the following
year they extended into Maryland, and a year later reached the Dis-
trict of Columbia and Virginia. They attack cattle in the fields by
piercing their skin and sucking the blood. When they are present in
large numbers they collect upon the roots of the horns, along the top
of the neck, or under the belly, thus proving a veritable pest among cat-
tle in the infested regions. From the fact that they congregate upon
the bases of the horns when they are at rest they have received the
popular name of " horn-fly ." They appear with the warm weather of
spring the early part of May and disappear after the first severe
frost in the fall. The flics are observed in the greatest numbers during
July. The characteristic habit of clustering about the base of the horn
seems to exist only when the flics are quite abundant. When they
average only a hundred or so to a single animal comparatively few will
be found on the horns. Moreover, as a general thing, the horn-cluster-
ing habit seems to be more predominant earlier in the season than later,
although the flies may seem to be nearly as numerous. The clustering
upon the horns, although it has excited considerable alarm, is not pro-
ductive of the slightest harm to the animal. The flies assume two char-
acteristic positions, one while feeding and the other while resting, h
is the resting position in which they are always found when upon the


horns. In this position the wings are held nearly flat down the back,
overlapping at base and diverging only moderately at tip; the beak is
held in a nearly horizontal position, and the legs are not widely spread.
In the active sucking position, however, the wings are slightly elevated
and are held out from the body, not at right angles, but approaching
it. The legs are spread out widely, and the beak, inserted in the skin
of the animal, is held in nearly a perpendicular position. The fly, before
inserting its beak, has worked its way through the hairs close to the
skin. While feeding, however, the hair, which can be seen over its
body, does not seem to interfere with its speedy flight when alarmed,
for a fling of the tail or an impatient turn of the head will cause the
flies to rise instantly in a cloud for a foot or two, returning as quickly
again and resuming their former positions. The horns are not the only
resting places, for with the horns covered by them for two inches above
their base, toward nightfall vast numbers will also settle upon the neck
where they can not be reached by the head or tail. When feeding they
are found over the back and flanks and on the legs. During a rain
storm they flock beneath the belly. When the animal is lying down a
favorite place of attack seems to be under the thigh, and belly around
the bag. With certain animals the dewlap becomes badly attacked,
while in others this portion of the body is about exempt. Certain cat-
tle, again, will be covered with flies and will lose condition rapidly,
w^hile others are but slightly affected.

The amount of injury done by this pest is not so very great; it is
stated that the flies alone will never cause the death of an animal. They
reduce the condition of stock considerably, and in the case of milch
cows the yield of milk is reduced from one-fourth to one-half. Their
bites seldom produce sores by themselves, but large sores have been
made by the cattle in rubbing themselves against trees, fences, etc., in an
endeavor to allay the irritation caused by the bites, or in spots where
they could not rub by licking constantly with the tongue, as about the
udder and on the inside of the thighs. These sores are usually difficult
to heal, as from the continued irritation by the flies and the repeated
licking by the animal, the sore is maintained.

Treatment. Almost any greasy substance applied to the skin and
horns of the animal will keep the flies off for several days. For this
purpose common axle-grease, whale oil, carbolized oil, etc., may be

Prevention. The flies are propagated from eggs laid in the droppings
of cattle by the female flies. Thus a new generation of flies is pro-
duced about every two weeks. It is recommended by Prof. C. V. Eiley,
entomologist for the U. S. Department of Agriculture, that a spadeful of
lime should be placed upon each dropping of the cattle in the field, to
destroy the larva? after they leave the egg, and previous to their trans-
formation into the fly. By doing this twice a week the number of sub-
sequent flies could be materially lessened, possibly the pest altogether



There are several species of ticks that attach themselves to cattle.
The most coinmoii in this country is the Boopliilus bovis. (Plates XLIV.)
They are most numerous on uncultivated land, prairies, and woodland.
They attach themselves to cattle on the thighs, flank, and neck, where
they fill themselves with blood and then drop to the ground. They
bore into the skin and cause considerable irritation of the parts. They
may be destroyed by the application of oil or grease which kills them
by occluding their breathing pores. When they are carelessly pulled
oft' by hand the head sometimes bre aks off and remains in the skin,
causing a suppurating sore and possibly septic infection of the animal.


The Pulex irritanSj the common flea, penetrates the cuticle with a pair
of very fine sharp lancets attached to its head, and draws blood from the
animal. They become annoying to cattle when they are present in
great numbers, and cause a diminution of milk.

The Sarcopsylla penetranSj the chigre, met with in some of the west-
ern States, burrows beneath or within the skin, and deposits its eggs,
causing the animal to rub the parts. A small vesicle may form, suc-
ceeded occasionally by the formation of a small ulcer.

Treatment. When fleas or chigres cause much annoyance to cattle it
can be prevented by moistening their skin every morning with tobacco
juice or carbolic-acid water 1 ounce of the acid to 2 quarts of water.


These may become dangerous to cattle in sections where malignant
anthrax prevails, as they may be the carriers of poison from the diseased
or dead animal to the healthy one.

The tsetse fly (Qlosnina morsitansj of Africa is very destructive to
cattle, their sting causing death in many cases. Maggots hatched from
the eggs deposited by flics upon wounds frequently are very annoying
to the animal, and retard the healing process. The maggots from the
screw-worm fly (Lucillia maccllariaj burrow in wounds and cause
increased inflammation, and have been known to cause the death of
cattle. When maggots or screw worms appear on wounds of the skin,
be they deep or superficial, no time should be lost in getting rid of them.
The application of turpentine or earboli/.ed water 1 ounce to a pint
should \tc used to destroy the vermin, and the wound afterward cov-
ered with tar to keep the flies away.


Ringworm in an affection of the skin, due to a vegetable parasite.
Tinea tomtnrang is due to the presence of a minute or microscopic fun-
gus the Trichophyton t<>iixitrnnn. It affects the hair awl the epidermic


layer of the skin, and is highly contagious, being readily transmitted
from one animal to another. This fungus consists of spores and fila-
ments. The spores being the most numerous are round, nucleated, and
seldom vary much in size. They are very abundant in the hair follicle.
The filaments are articulated, waving, and contain granules. This dis-
ease is productive of changes in the root and shaft of the hair, render-
ing them brittle and easily broken off.

Symptoms. This disease becomes manifested by the formation of cir-
cular patches on the skin, which soon become denuded of hair. The
cuticular layer of the skin is slightly inflamed, and vesication with
exudation occurs, followed by the formation of scaly, brittle crusts
The patches appear silvery gray when incrusted, and are mostly con.
fined to the head and neck. It is a common disease among young cat-
tle in the winter and spring. Very early in the development of the
patches the hairs split, twist, and break off close to the skin. This
disease is attended with more or less itching. It is communicable to

Tinea favosa is due to another fungus, the Achorion Sckonleinii. This
enters the hair follicle and involves the cuticle surrounding it, small
crusts from which increase in diameter and thickness and then become
elevated at their margin, forming a cup-shaped scab, the favus cup,
which gives the disease its distinctive character. The number of these
cups varies from a few to many hundreds. The hairs involved become
' brittle and broken, fall off with the crusts, leaving small bald patches.
The crusts are of a pale or sulphur yellow color at first ; as they grow
older they turn darker, or to a brown color. This form of ringworm has
a peculiar odor, resembling that of mice or musty straw. It is occa
sionally communicated to cattle by man, mice, cats, etc., all being sub
ject to this disease.

Treatment. Remove all crusts by washing with soap and water, then
apply acetic acid, sulphur ointment, or nitrate of mercury ointment
once a day. Cleanse the stable and whitewash it to destroy the spores
scattered by the crusts.


Three varieties of snakes are poisonous in this country the Crotalm
or rattlesnake, Trigonoceplialus or cotton-mouth, and t\\e,Elapsfulvius,
a small snake of the South. Snake bites on cattle generally occur
about the head, feet, or limbs. A close inspection will reveal the marks
where the fangs of the reptile entered the skin. When the poison has
been freely ejected in the wound excessive pain is soon manifested,
quickly followed by swelling, which diffuses itself extensively over
the surrounding surface. The tumefaction is doughy to the touch
and of a purple color. Extreme prostration sets in and the animal may


soon become partly unconscious ; the body becomes cold, and the pulse-
l)t-;i us almost imperceptible; finally the heart fails completely and the
animal dies. Generally, however, the poison is not sufficiently active
to cause death, but the recovery from its effects will be slow. Large
abscesses and sloughs may form, wliich will require along time to heal,
or end in the exhaustion and death of the victim.

Treatment. Powerful diffusible stimulants are indicated to maintain
life until the first impression or shock of the poison has passed away.
For this purpose whisky is given in pint doses every fifteen or twenty
minutes, until it arouses the sinking vitality. Aqua ammonia in 1
ounce doses, diluted with 2 quarts of water, may be substituted for the
whisky. External treatment should consist in cauterization of the
wound by plunging a red-hot pointed iron into it as deeply as the situ-
ation of the wound will permit. Gashes an inch long should be cut
into the skin over the swollen part, for the purpose of draining the
blood away and lessening the danger of extensive subsequent slough-
ing. Afterwards keep the parts well painted with tincture of iodine.


These may be inflicted by scorpions, tarantulas, wasps, bees, hornets,
etc. Occasionally an animal may be stung by a wasp or bumble bee
and owing to some peculiar state of the blood of the animal the injured
skin will swell and form a painful enlargement. If stung by a swarm
of bees the animal may become very sick and prostrated. The external
application of sugar of lead water, 1 ounce to the pint, will usually
relieve the pain and swelling. When the animal suffers constitution-
ally, 2 drams of carbonate of ammonia or 4 ounces of whisky should
be administered every 2 hours until the animal rallies from the shock.


This is a rare accident among cattle, yet in cases of tire it may occur.
The application of heat, whether dry or moist, unless sufficient instantly
to destroy the life of a part, is always followed by the development of
vesicles or blisters, which contain a thin, watery thud. The blisters
may be isolated and not very large, or one blister may cover a very
large surface. When the burn is very severe the skin may be wholly
devitalized, or the injury may extend into the deeper structures beneath
the skin. Then sloughs will occur, followed by a contraction of the,
parts in healing; if on a limb this may render the animal stift. When
the burn or scald has been a severe one the resulting pain is great and
the constitutional disturbance very marked.

Treatment. For a superficial burn use a mixture of equal parts of
lirnewater and linseed oil, or common white paint white lead ground
in oil. This will exclude the atmosphere and protect the inflamed skin.
If it is not convenient to obtain this, chimney soot, flour, or starch may
be spread on the wound (dry), and covered with cotton hatting and


light bandage if possible. The blisters should be opened to let the con-
tained fluid escape, but do not pull off the thin cuticle which has been
raised by the blister. When the burn is extensive and deep sloughing
occurs, the parts should be treated like other deep wounds, by poultic-
ing, astringent washes, etc. When the system has sustained much
shock, stimulants may be required internally, such as 4 ounces of whisky
or 2 drains of carbonate of ammonia, every hour until the animal rallies.
When the pain is very great, hypodermic injections of 6 grains of mor-
phia may be administered every six hours.

Frostbite on any portion of the body may be treated as recommended
in the article on diseases of the ears.


Emphysema of the skin is not a true disease of the skin, but we will
mention it as a pathological condition. It is characterized by a disten-
sion of the skin with air contained in the subcutaneous areolar tissue.
It may depend upon a septic condition of the blood, as in anthrax or
blackleg; or air may be forced under the skin about the head, neck,
and shoulders, as a result of rupture of the windpipe. It occurs in the
region of the chest and shoulders from penetrating wounds of the chest
and lung, and occasionally follows puncture of the rumen, when the
escaping gas becomes retained under the skin.

Symptoms. The skin is enormously distended over a greater or less
portion of the body; thus any region of the body may lose its natural
contour and appear like a monstrosity. There is a peculiar crackling
beneath the skin when the hand is passed over it, and on tapping it
with the fingers a resonant drum-like sound is elicited.

Treatment. Puncture the distended skin with a broad-bladed pocket
knife and press out the contained air. Further treatment must be
directed with a view to the removal of the cause.


By M. R. TRUMBOWER, D. V. S., Sterling, 111.


La mi nit i > denotes an active inflammation of the sensitive structures
within the wall of the hoof, which may in severe cases result in sup-
puration, and the loss of one or more claws. Owing to the simplicity
of the structure of the foot of the ox, compared with that of the horse,
this disease is rarely seen in an acute form, but a mild form, commonly
called soreness, is not of infrequent occurrence.

Causes. Lauiinitis in cattle may be caused by overfeeding, overheat-
ing, or by driving long distances over rough or stony soil.

Symptoms. An unwillingness to maintain the standing position; the
animal persists in lying down. The feet will be found unnaturally hot,
and frequently some swelling may be noticed above the hoof; the gen-
eral body temperature is increased, and the breathing accelerated.
Ordinarily the animal eats and drinks. When it is made to move ex-
cessive tenderness of the feet becomes manifest; it affects the hind as
well as the fore feet, usually all four.

Treatment. Cold packs to the feet, or if the animal can be made to
stand in a running stream of water, having a soft bottom, this will often
relieve the inflammation without the necessity of any additional treat-
ment. It may bo well, however, to give a full dose of Epsom salts, 1
to 1J pounds, followed by half-ounce doses of saltpeter two or three
times a day.


Cattle that are driven over stony roads, especially such as have boon
stabled or pastured on soft ground, soon wear down the solos of their
feet and become lame from foot-soreness. Draft oxen, for this reason,
require to be shod. When the soreness is excessive it may develop into
an active inflammation of all the sensitive structures of the foot lami

Treatment. Rest, poultieing the feet with moistened Hay, followed
by astringent washes strong white-oak bark or alum water.




Cattle sometimes become fastened between planks or otherwise, and
pull off the wall of one or both claws in the effort to extricate themselves.
The claws of one or more feet may be shed as the result of acute lami-

Treatment Apply a thick coating of pine tar over the bleeding sur-
face, then cover with a layer of oakuin or absorbent cotton; apply
another coat of tar over this, and then bandage closely and firmly.
This may remain without disturbance until the new growing Avail
becomes sufficiently strong to sustain the pressure and weight of the
animal. If, however, at any time it becomes manifest that pus is form-
ing under this dressing, by oozing or bad smell, the bandage should
be removed and as much of the suppurating surface freshly dressed as
may indicate any unhealthy condition. Before applying tar to this
second dressing the foot should be soaked in a solution of chloride of
zinc, 1 dram to a pint of water. This may have to be repeated every
few days, and should be continued so long as there is any pus formation.
If the loss of hoof is due to suppurative laminitis, the parts denuded
of the horny covering must be thoroughly cleansed and disinfected with
the zinc solution. Then apply a moderately thick layer of absorbent
cotton, and apply the tar and bandage over this. After this the zinc
solution may be poured in at the top of the dressing daily. It will thus
soak in and saturate the dressing and inflamed tissue. It may become
necessary to remove the whole of the dressing once a week to give the
parts a fresh cleansing, and then to reapply it. In all cases where it
can be avoided, the first dressing should never be removed entirely, but
holes may be made through it for the escape of pus.


A variety of causes may produce inflammation of the foot between
the claws or toes; sometimes the inflammation Avill extend entirely
around the bulb of the heels. It may be due to an overgrowth of the
claws and inward pressure, as in ingrowing nail of man, or it may be
caused by the irritation of stable filth, to impaction and hardening of
soil between the claws, or to other foreign substances becoming wedged
in and causing inflammation and softening or ulceration of the skin in
the interdigital space. Tuberculous cattle are subject to foul feet.
This disease is most frerpieutly seen in the hind feet, though all four
feet may become affected. It is never contagious among cattle like the
foot-rot among sheep.

Symptoms. The animal is observed to limp in walking. On examina-
tion ot the foot we discover fever, swelling above the hoof, and of the
soft parts between the claws, which frequently spreads the foot apart
to a considerable extent, or the inflammation may have advanced to
softening and sloughing of the interdigital membrane. If the disease
is neglected at this stage deep abscesses may form and the pus burrow


under the horny wall, or the joint within the hoof may become inflamed
and the articular attachments destroyed, in which case the treatment
will become difficult and recovery very tedious.

Treatment. In the earlier stages of the disease, before pus burrows
beneath the horn, a thorough cleansing and an application of a car-
bolic acid solution 1 ounce to a pint of water clean stabling, and
laxative food will soon remedy the evil. If deep sloughing has taken
place the carbolic solution should be used, and a wad of oakum or cot-
ton smeared with pine tar should be secured firmly in the cleft. This
can be done by taking a strip of strong cloth, two inches wide, passing
the middle between the claws, then tying the ends after winding them
in opposite directions above the hoof. Sometimes warm poulticing,
with oil-cake meal, boiled carrots, or boiled mashed potatoes, becomes
necessary to relieve excessive fever and pain. If the pus burrows under
the horn its channel must be followed by paring away the horn until
the bottom is reached. The after treatment will be the same as that
already recommended. If the joint becomes diseased an amputation
of that toe will be the quickest and surest method to relieve the suffer-
ing of the animal, and offers the best chance for an early recovery.


Occasionally we find ulcers at the junction of the hair with the hoof
at the heel, which present an elevated, raw, or ragged surface, and
cause considerable lameness. This is generally due to a bruise of the
fibrous cushion of the back part of the foot. Subsequent sloughing
or necrosis may occur, or pus may form deep down within the wall and
gain an exit at the margin of the heel.

Treatment. If there is a deep opening inject the carbolic solution
once a day until it closes. If the ulcer is only superficial apply, twice
a week, a mixture of equal parts of blue vitriol and alum in dry powder.


This is rarely seen among cattle. It may occur in weak walls, in
heavy-bodied cattle, by stepping on an uneven surface, especially when
the point of the toe is grown out long. 1 have seen the point of the toe
broken and the wall split almost up to the hair.

Treatment. The divided sections may be brought into approximation
and held in place by drilling a small hole from one side into and through
the other, commencing half an inch buck of the fissure on each side,
then drive a light horseshoe nail through the hole and clinch it. Pare
the injured claw as short as it will bear.


Hard, nodular, fibrous tumors sometimes grow in the cleft of the foot,
and cause inconvenience, lameness, absorption, or ulceration of the con-
tiguous parts.


Treatment. They should be dissected out, and the wound dressed
with carbolized cosnioliue once a day until healing is completed.


Deformities in the feet of cattle usually consist in overgrowth of horn,
generally due to want of wear in animals which are stabled. The hoof
may turn inward, outward, or upward, and may give rise to lameness,
inability to walk, foul foot, etc. Bulls which are continually stabled,
dairy cows also, very frequently have misshapen feet for want of an
occasional trimming, which may eventually lead to permanent injury.

Treatment. Cut the superabundant growth of horn down with saw,
knife, or rasp, until the foot assumes its natural form.


If an animal suffers with a penetrating wound from prick of fork or
nail, the orifice of the wound should be enlarged to permit a free dis-
charge of pus; then apply a flaxseed poultice, changing it three times
a day until the fever has abated. Keep the animal on a clean floor
until all lameness has disappeared.

If an animal is cut in the foot with barbed wire, piece of glass, or any
other substance, dress the wound, after proper cleansing, with carbolic

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 40 of 56)