United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

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which suddenly chills the surface of the body may operate as a cause.

Symptoms. Dryness of the muzzle, diminished appetite, partial or
total cessation of rumination (see Loss of Cud, p. 3ii), symptoms of colic
which are indicated by restlessness. The animal lies down and gets up
frequently, looks round at its flank, raises its tail, paws with its front
feet, and strikes with its feet at the abdomen. After a time the symp-
toms of acute pain subside, and the animal lies down, but does not
appear to be free from pain, turns its nose round on the flank and does
not cat or ruminate. When injections are given they are soon ejected
from the bowel, the passages are dry, glistening, and coated with mucus.
Gas is frequently passed, frequent attempts to urinate arc made, but
only a small quantity of urine is passed at a time. Hutcritis comes on
suddenly and usually runs a rapid course, death taking place in four or
five hours in fatal cases. When the animal lias not been Ion;,' exposed


to those conditions which produce the disease, recovery may take place
in a comparatively short time; in exceptional ease?, however, when the
acute stage of the disease has subsided it may assume a chronic and
lingering form.

Treatment. "When the animal is seen at an early stage of the disease
it should be bled to the extent of from 2 to 4 quarts. The age and
condition of the animal must of course be taken into consideration in
estimating the quantity of blood which should be abstracted. Half-
ounce doses of laudanum should be given several times a day, mixed
in a quart of linseed tea.


This disease is not of frequent occurrence, but comes on suddenly,
and is characterized by a hemorrhage or exudation of blood between
the mucous and muscular coats of the bowels. The symptoms resemble
those of the form of enteritis already described, only that they come
on more suddenly and are of a more violent character. This form of
enteritis chiefly occurs among working oxen during very hot weather.
It is a more dangerous form of enteritis than that already described.
When the acute symptoms subside the animal may show great weak-
ness, which is owing to the great extent to which subrnucous hemor-
rhage has taken place. At this stage of the disease bleeding is con-
tra-indicated ; the passages may be streaked with blood and may even
contain blood-clots. The treatment will be similar to that recommended
in the first form of enteritis, bearing in mind of course that bleeding
should only be practiced at an early stage. After death the affected
portion of the bowel is much thickened and increased in weight, owing
to the quantity of blood which has been effused between the mucous
and muscular coats.


This is an inflammation of the bowels which may be produced by
cattle licking off the mercurial ointment which is sometimes rubbed on
them when they are suffering from skin disease. (See Mercurial Poi-
sons, p. 69.)

Symptoms. The symptoms are similar to those of the forms of enter-
itis already described. In this form of the disease we also observe
grinding of the teeth and dribbling of saliva from the corners of the
mouth. Two or three days after the attack gas is frequently passed
from the bowels; the belly is tucked up and the flanks become hollow;
the passages are very thin and coated with mucus. About the fifth or
sixth day there is swelling of the tongue and mucous membrane of the
mouth, quivering of the muscles of the limbs, staggering gait, great
emaciation, and the animal dies about the twelfth day. Cruzel states
that he has several times observed these symptoms in oxen which, in


licking off the mercurial ointment with which they had been rubbed,
had not swallowed more than 3 ounces.

Post-mortem appc.uraiices. There are traces of intense inflammation
of the bowels and also of ulceration of their mucous surface. There
arc dropsical effusions in the chest and abdomen.

Treatment. Give drafts composed of the white of eggs and sweet
milk, purgatives, followed by the administration of chlorate of -potash.
The eggs and sweet milk should be given immediately after it is known
that the animal has swallowed the mercurial ointment, each quart of
milk mixed with the whites of two eggs. A quart of this mixture is
given three or four times at short intervals, say half an hour, and then
a pint of castor oil should be given so as to produce purgation. After
tin castor oil has produced the desired effect, give half an ounce of
chlorate of potash dissolved in a quart of warm water three times a day.
For debility and want of appetite resulting from such illness, half-dram
doses of nux vomica combined with 2 drams of powdered gentian should
be given three times a day. We need hardly say that from the fore-
going statement the conclusion may be drawn that mercurial ointment
can not be safely applied on cattle.


Inflammation may arise from a knot forming on some part of the small

intestine, from the portion of the bowel becoming twisted on itself, or

from one part of the bowel slipping into another, which is termed in-

iiation. This form of enteritis occurs occasionally in animals of the

bovine species.

Cannes. The small intestine, which in the ox rests on the right sac
or division of the rumen, is from the position which it occupies predis-
posed to this accident. It has been ascertained that .animals which
have shown symptoms of this malady have trotted, galloped, or made
other violent exertions in coming from drinking, or that they have been
chased by dogs or by animals of their own species while at pasture.
The danger of jumping or running seems to be very slight to the ox if
hois fasting, as the rumen in that case not being distended with f>od
allows the Hmall intestine to fall to (lie lower part of the abdomen, but
when the rumen in distended the Jx>wel does not slip so easily to this

Nymptomx. This form of enteritis is manifested by severe colicky
pains, the ox scrubs and strikes the ground with hi.s front and him!
feet alternately ; keeps lying down and getting up again; ho keeps hi.s
tail constantly raised and turns his nose frequently to his right Hank;
he is frequently bloated or tympanitic on that side, lie refuses food,
and doc * not ruminate, and for some hours sutlers severe pains. At
first he frequently pusso-t thin dung, and also urinates frequently, but
passes only a little urine at a time. On tho second day I lie pains huvc


become less acute 5 the animal remains lying down; moans occasionally;
his pulse is small and quick; he refuses food and does not ruminate.
At this stage he does not pass any dung, though sometimes a small
quantity of bloody mucus may be passed. On pressing forcibly the
abdomen a gurgling sound is produced as if there was a quantity of
liquid in the stomachs. There must be slight absorption of liquid from
the digestive system, as the animal passes very little urine. This con-
dition may continue for a considerable time, as cattle so affected may
live for fifteen or even twenty days.

Post-mortem appearance. At death the bowels are found to be in-
flamed, the inflammation always originating at the point where the
intestine has been invaginated, twisted, or knotted. Sometimes the
part is gangrenous, the compression of the blood-vessels preventing
circulation and thus causing the death of the tissues.

Treatment. Purgatives, anodynes, and other remedies are of no
service in such cases, and bleeding also fails to produce any benefit.
Indeed, it may be said truly that in such cases treatment is useless.
Some cases are recorded in which an incision has been made in the
flank so as to enable the operator to remove the lesion causing the
enteritis by surgical means. Success has attended such efforts so
rarely that we can not recommend them.


Constipation is rather to be regarded as a symptom of disease than a
disease in itself. We frequently observe it in parturition fever, in that
form of indigestion which is termed impaction of the third stomach,
and as a result of gut-tie, invagination, twisting and knotting of the
bowels. In order to remove the constipation the treatment must be
applied to remove the causes w-hich give rise to it. Calves sometimes
suffer from constipation immediately after birth, and the nieconiuin
feces that accumulate in the bowels before birth is not passed, as is
usually the case in calves. The cause of the disorder is supposed to
be that the dams of such calves have been fed too exclusively on dry
food before the calf's birth In such cases give an ounce of castor oil
shaken up with an ounce of new milk. The mother's milk is the best
food to prevent a recurrence of the constipation, as it contains a large
amount of fatty matter which renders it laxative in its effects.


We may state that cattle are less infested with intestinal parasites
than any other species of domestic animal, and that it is rarely neces-
sary to apply treatment for the removal of those parasites. Two differ-
ent kinds of tapeworm and four species of roundworms have, however,
been found in the intestines of the bovine species. An examination of


the passages is the only certain method of determining the existence of
worms in the bowels.

Treatment. To remove tapeworms give an ounce of oil of male fern
three times a day in a pint of milk for three days in succession, and
then on the fourth day give a pint of castor oil. For roundworms give
2 drams of sulphate of iron three times a day, mixed in 'a little oats and
middlings, and after continuing treatment for three days give a pint of
castor oil as before described. Oil of turpentine may be given in doses
of 1 ounce with milk, or sautouine in dram doses in feed, to be followed
by an oily purgative a,s described. In treating calves, which are more
apt to be infested with worms than full-grown cattle, reduce the doses
to one-fourth or a third.


Ventral hernia or rupture is aii escape of some one of the abdominal
organs through a rupture in the abdominal muscles, the skin remaining
intact. The rumen, the small intestine, or part of the large intestine,
and the fourth stomach are the parts which usually form a ventral her-
nia in bovine animals.

Gaiises. Hernia is frequently produced by blows of the horns, kicks,
and falls. In old cows hernia may sometimes occur without any direct
injury. The occurrence of this form of hernia is explained by the
increase in the size of the abdomen, which takes place in an advanced
stage of pregnancy, causing a thinning and stretching of the muscular
fibers, which at last may rupture or give way.


Hernia of the rumen is generally situated on the left side of the abdo-
men, on account of the situation of the rumen. In exceptional cases it
may take place on the right side, and in such cases it also generally
happens that some folds of the intestine pass into the hernial sac. Her-
nias have been classified into simple or complicated, recent or old, trau-
matic (from mechanical injury) or spontaneous.

In recent traumatic hernia there is swelling on the left side of the
lower part of the abdomen. . The swelling is greatest in the cases of
hernia which arc situated on the lower part of the abdomen. The skin
covering the hernia will frequently present marks from which one may
infer the direction from which the injury has proceeded. Unless an
examination is made immediately after the injury has been inflicted it
is difficult and .sometimes impossible to ascertain the exact extent of
the rupture, owing to the amount of swelling which takes place. Fre-
quently there is no loss of appetite, fever, or other general symptons
attending the injury. From the twelfth to the fifteenth day the swell
ing has generally subsided to such an extent that it is possible by an
examination to determine the extent of the rupture. It is of impor-
tance to ascertain whether the si/e of the. hernia increases after feeding.


In old cows what is termed spontaneous hernia n;ay sometimes take
place without any direct injury. The occurrence of this form of hernia
is explained by the increase in the size of the abdomen, which takes
place in an advanced stage of pregnancy, causing a thinning and
stretching of the muscular fibres, which at last may rupture or give
way. Such hernia frequently occurs about the end of the period of ges-
tation, and in some instances have contained the right sac of the rumen ?
the omentum, the small and large intestines, a portion of the liver, and
the pregnant uterus.

In old hernia the swelling is soft and elastic, and if they have not
contracted adhesions to the sides of the laceration they can be made to
disappear on pressure beiiig carefully applied. Sometimes this acci-
dent is complicated by a rupture of the rumen, constituting a compli-
cated hernia. If a portion of the contents of the rumen escape into the
abdomen the case will be aggravated by the occurrence of peritonitis.
The occurrence of such a complication is best ascertained by examining
the animal immediately after the accident, when nothing intervenes
between the surface of the rumen and the hand but the skin.

HERNIA OF THE BOWEL. (See Plate III, Fig. 6.)

When the intestines form the contents of the hernia it will be situ-
ated at the right side of the abdomen. In an intestinal hernia the
swelling is usually not painful, of a doughy consistence or elastic,
according as the intestine does or does not contain alimentary matter.
This swelling can generally be made to disappear by pressure, and
when it has been reduced one can easily recognize the direction and
extent of the hernial opening. Herniao of the bowel which are situated
at the upper and right side of the abdomen are usually formed by the
small intestine. They are less easily reduced than hernia in a lower
situation, but when reduction has been effected they are less readily
reproduced than those occurring lower. In hernia of the small intes-
tine adhesion of the protruding parts to the walls of the opening, or
strangulation, are complications w^hich sometimes take place. If adhe-
sion has taken place the hernia can not be reduced by pressure, and
when strangulation has occurred the animal shows symptoms of pain.
In such, a case the edges of the opening through which the bowel has
passed press on the bowel so as at first to excite pain, then inflamma-
tion, which if unrelieved usually terminates in gangrene. The animal
is restless, turns its nose to the painful part, and shows those symp-
toms which, are usually collectively designated under the term colic.
When the swelling or hernia contains a portion of peritoneum the
swelling is soft and doughy, and does not produce the sensation on
handling it that it does when it contains gas or alimentary matter.


This disease occasionally occurs in calves and is usually caused by a
blow from a cow's horn on the right flank of the calf, and this may hap-


pen when the calf is trying to suck a strange cow. After such an acci-
dent a swelling forms on the right flank near the last rib. This swelling
may be neither hot nor painful, even at first, and is soft to the touch.
It can be made to disappear by careful pressure when the sides of the
aperture through which it has passed can be felt. The application of
pressure so as to cause the disappearance of the hernia is best made
immediately after the occurrence of the accident, or when the oedema
which accompanies the swelling has disappeared.

Treatment. "When a hernia is reducible that is, can be pushed back
into the abdomen then it is advisable to maintain it in its natural situ-
ation, and to allow the walls of the laceration to grow or adhere together.
In treating of this subject in a previous work I translated the directions
given by the late Henry Bouley, in a;i article on this subject contained
in the " Nouvean Dictionnairc de Me"decine et de Chirurgie Ye"t6rinaire, w
and as his directions are both concise and practical, I here reproduce
them :

First prepare a bandage (must be of strong material) about 10 yards long and
between 3 and 4 inches broad, and a flexible and solid piece of pasteboard adapted
in size to the surface of the hernia. The protruding organ must then be replaced
iu the abdomen, and maintained in that position during the application of the
bandage. This being done, a layer of melted pitch and turpentine is quickly spread
on the skin covering the seat of the hernia, so as to extend somewhat beyond that
space. This adhesive layer is then covered with a layer of fine tow, then anew
layer of pitch and turpentine is spread on the tow, and the piece of pasteboard is
applied on the layer of pitch, its outer surface being covered with the same prep-
aration. Lastly, the bandage adhering to the piece of pasteboard, to the skin, and
to the different turns which it makes around the body, is carefully applied so as to
form an immovable, rigid, and solid bandage, which will retain tho hernia long
enough for tho wonnd iu the abdominal walls to heal permanently.

In considering the point whether it is advisable to operate on a rup-
ture or not, we may here notice some of those conditions which will
have an unfavorable effect on the success of the operation. When the
opening through which the protruding organs have passed is very large,
the edges irregularly torn, and when the hernia has existed for a long
time, the size of the abdomen will be found to have diminished, and the
replacing and retention of the protruded parts will be attended with
difficulty. The stitches which bring the edges of the rupture together
in such cooes are apt to tear out, so such an operation is not advisable.
Small ruptures with smooth, regular edges heal with less difficulty,
llenihp situated on the under surface of the abdomen are more apt to
recur when they have been returned, and the wounds made in operating
on them are more difficult to heal than when the hernia is situated on
tho side.

When the symptoms indicate that a hernia is strangulated, it is advis-
able to incise the sac and return tho hernia, enlarging the opening in
the abdominal muscles to the size necessary to return the protruding
organs, after which the wound in the abdominal muscles should bo
brought together by metallic or cat gut stitehes, and tlie v/oiunlin the skin


afterwards brought together by stitches of silk ^thread. Then a com-
press composed of ten or twelve folds of cloth must be placed smoothly
over the seat of injury and a bandage applied round the body, the two
ends being fastened at the back. In the smaller kinds of hernia nitric
acid may sometimes be applied with success. This treatment should
not be applied until the swelling and inflammation attending the appear-
ance of the hernia have subsided, then the contents of the hernia hav-
ing been returned, the surface of skin corresponding to it is sponged
over with a solution composed of one part of nitric acid to two parts of
water. This treatment acts by exciting considerable inflammation,
which has the effect of causing swelling and thus frequently closing
the hernia! opening and preventing the contents of the sac from return-
ing. A second application should not be made until the inflammation
excited by the first has subsided. In what is termed spontaneous her-
nia it is useless to apply any kind of treatment.


The umbilicus, or navel, is the aperture through which the blood-ves-
sels pass from the mother to the fetus, and naturally the sides of this
aperture ought to adhere or unite after birth. In very young animals,
and sometimes in new-born calves, this aperture in the abdominal mus-
cles remains open and a part of the bowel or a portion of the mesentery
may slip through the opening, constituting what is called umbilical
hernia. The wall of the sac is formed by the skin which is covered on
the inner surface by a layer of cellular tissue, and within this there is
sometimes, but not always, a layer of peritoneum. The contents of
the hernia may be formed by a part of the bowel, by a portion of the
peritoneum, or may contain portions of both peritoneum and bowel.
When the sac contains only peritoneum it has a doughy feel, but when
it is formed by a portion of the bowel it will be more elastic on apply-
ing pressure.

Causes. In the new-born animal the opening of the navel is gener-
ally too large, and this opening may sometimes give way to the pres-
sure of the bowel on account of the weak and relaxed condition of the
abdominal muscles. This defective and abnormal condition of the
umbilicus is frequently hereditary. It may be occasioned by roughly
pulling away the umbilical cord 5 through kicks or blows on the belly;
through any severe strainingby which the sides of the navel are stretched
apart. We may mention in this connection that it is best in new-born
calves to tie the umbilical cord tightly about two inches from the navel,
and then to leave it alone, when it will drop off in a few days in most
cases, leaving the navel in a closed condition.

Treatment. It is well to bear in mind that many, and especially the
smaller, umbilical hernias will heal spontaneously, that is, nature effects
a cure, As the animal gets older the abdominal muscles get stronger
and possess more power of resistance to pressure, the bowels become


larger and do not pass so readily through a small opening, so that from
a combination of causes there is a gradual growing together or adhesion
of the sides of the navel. In cases of umbilical hernia where there are
no indications that a spontaneous cure will take place, the calf should
be laid on its back, and immediately on this being done the hernia will
often disappear into the abdomen. If it does not its reduction may be
brought about by gentle handling, endeavoring, if need be, to empty
the organs forming the hernia before returning them into the abdomen.
After the hernia has been returned the hair should be clipped from the
skin covering it and a compress composed of ten or twelve folds of
linen or cotton should be applied, first smearing the skin with pitch
and then a bandage of about 3 inches wide should be passed round the
body so as to retain the compress in position. The lower part of the
compress should be smeared with pitch, and also those portions of the
bandage which pass over it, so as to keep it solid and prevent it from
shifting. In some cases it will be found that the contents of the sac
can not be returned into the abdomen, and this generally arises from
the fact that some part of the contents of the sac has grown to or
become adherent to the edges of the umbilical opening. In such a case
the skin must be carefully laid open in the long direction, the adhesions
of the protruding organs carefully separated from the umbilicus, and
after the protruding parts have been returned into the abdomen the
Bides of the umbilicus must be freshened if necessary by paring, and
then the edges of the opening brought together by catgut stitches ; the
wound in the skin must then also be brought together by stitches. The
wounl must be carefully dressed every day and a bandage passed
round the body so as to cover and protect the part operated on.

In small hernia nitric acid has been used successfully in the same
manner as has been described in speaking of the treatment of ventral
hernia. Sulphuric acid has also been used for a similar purpose, dilut-
ing it to the extent of one part of acid to three or five of water. In
thin-skinned animals the weaker preparations ought to be preferred,
and caution must be exercised in using such preparations so as not to
destroy the tissues on which they are applied.

Another method of treatment is, after the contents of the sac have
been returned into the abdomen, to tie a piece of strong waxed cord
round the pendulous portion which formed the outer covering of the
hernia. The string is apt to slacken after two or three days, when a
new piece of cord should be applied above the first one. The constric-
tion of the skin seta up Inflammation, which generally extends to the
umbilicus and causes the edges to adhere together, and by the time
the portion of skin below the ligature has lost its vitality and dropped

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 5 of 56)