United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

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off, the umbilicus is closed and there is no danger of the abdominal
organs protruding through it. This is what takes place when this
method has a favorable result, though if the umbilicus docs not become
adherent and the skin sloughs, the bowels will protrude through the

24697 1



In peritoneal hernia of the ox a loop or knuckle of intestine enters
from the abdomen into a rent in that part of the peritonenm which is
situated at the margin of the hip bone and passes under the remains of
the spermatic cord. After the tearing of the peritoneum the spermatic
cord is partially separated from its former points of attachment, so as
to form a loose band. The portion of intestine is pressed through the
peritoneal opening into the pelvis, and frequently curves or winds
behind the spermatic cord and is pressed forward in a direction oppo-
site to that it followed when entering- the peritoneal rent. The onward
pressure of the bowel, as well as the occasional turning of the latter
round the spermatic cord, is the cause of the cord exercising consider-
able pressure on the bowel, which occasions irritation, obstructs the
passage of excrement, and excites inflammation, which terminates in
gangrene and death.

The tearing of this fold of peritoneum generally occurs on the right side,
not on the left, as incorrectly stated by Touatt, and the reason of its occur-
ring generally on the right side is that the bowels are mostly situated on
that side of the abdomen, while the paunch occupies the left side and
extends to the entrance of the pelvis. (Plate i.) The rent in the
peritoneum is situated at the upper and front part of the pelvis, nearer
to the sacrum than the pubis. Besides the form of peritoneal hernia
already described there is a second form, which occurs as follows:
After castration the spermatic cord retracts into the abdomen on
account of its elasticity, and its freshly-cut end becomes adherent to
the peritoneum, leaving a free space between it and the peritoneum,
however through which a part of the intestine may enter, but can not
slip out again, on account of its subsequent increase in size. It also
happens that the free end of the spermatic cord may become adherent
in such a way that it forms a cord or band around the bowel, causing
strangulation. This last form seems to have led to the appellation of
gut-tie being applied to this accident. It may be mentioned that peri-
toneal hernia may occur on the left side, though this rarely happens.

Causes. Among the causes of peritoneal hernia considerable impor-
tance is attached to a method of castration which is practiced in cer-
tain districts, viz., the tearing or rupturing of the spermatic cord by
main force, instead of dividing it at a proper distance above the testi-
cle in a surgical manner. After this violent and rough method of oper-
ating, the cord retracts into the abdomen and its stump becomes adher-
ent to some part of the peritoneum, or it may wind around the bowel
and then the stump becomes adherent so that strangulation of the
bowel results. The rough dragging on the cord may also cause a tear
in the peritoneum, the result of which need not be described. The
severe exertion of ascending hills and mountains, drawing heavy loads,
or the straining which oxen undergo while fightiug each other, may also
give rise to peritoneal hernia.


Symptom*. The ox suddenly becomes very restle - . stumps with his
feet, moves back and forward, hurriedly lies down, rises, moves his tail
uneasily, and kicks at his belly with the foot of the affected side.
The pain evinced may diminish, but soon returns again. In the early
stage there are frequent passages of dung, but after the lapse of eight-
een to twenty-four hours this ceases, the bowel apparently being
emptied up to the point of strangulation, and the passages now consist
only of a little mucus mixed with blood. When injections are given at
this time the water passes out of the bowel without even being col-
ored. The animal always lies down on the side- where the hernia
e\i>t> and stretches out his hind feet in a backward direction. These
two particular symptoms serve to distinguish this affection from enter-
itis and iuvagination of the bowel. As time passes, the animal becomes
quieter, but this cessation of pain may indicate that gangrene of the
bowel has set in, and may, therefore, under certain circumstances, be
considered a precursor of death. Gangrene may take place in from
four to six days, when perforation of the bowel may occur and death
result in a short time.

Treatment. The ox should in the first place be examined by oiling
the hand and arm and passing it into the rectum j the hand should be
passed along the margin of the pelvis, beginning at the sacrum and con-
tinuing downward towards the inguinal ring, when a soft painful swell-
ing will be felt, which may vary from the size of an apple to that of
two fists. This swelling will be felt to be tightly compressed by the
spermatic cord. It very rarely happens that there is any similar swell-
ing on the left side, though it is best in such cases to make a thorough
examination. The bowel has sometimes been released from its position
by driving the ox down a hill, by causing him to jump from a height of
2 feet to the ground, and the expedient of trotting him lias been resorted
to with the hope that the jolting movement might bring about a release
of the bowel. If the simple expedients mentioned have been tried and
t'aileil. then the hand being passed into the rectum should be pressed
gently on the swelling in an upward and forward direction so as to
endeavor to push the imprisoned portion of the bowel back into the
altdouien. While this is being done the ox's hind feet should stand on
higher ground than the front, so as to favor the slipping out of the
bowel by its own weight, and at the same time an assistant should
xpioeze the animal's loins so as to cause it to bend downward and so
relax the band formed by the spermatic cord. If the imprisoned por-
tion of gut is freed, which may be ascertained by the disappearance of
the swelling, the n^ual sounds produced by the bowels moving in the
abdomen will bo heard, and in a few hours the t'eees and urine will be
piwwied as UNiiul. If the means mentioned fail in releasing the impris
oned portion of the gut, then an incision about 4 inches long must be
made in the right flank in a downward direction, the hand introduced
into tin-!. tin- -Muatioii and condition of swelling exactly ascer-


tained, and then a probe-pointed knife inserted between the imprisoned
bowel and b and compressing it, and turned outward against the band,
the latter being then cautiously divided and the imprisoned gut allowed
to escape, or, if necessary, the bowel should be drawn gently from its
position into the abdomen. The wound in the flank must be brought
together in the same way as in the case of the wound made in operat-
ing for inipaction of the rumen.


A wound of the abdomen may merely penetrate the skin, but as such
cases are not attended with much danger, nor their treatment with
much difficulty, we propose to consider here merely those wounds
which penetrate the entire thickness of the abdominal walls and expose
to a greater, or less extent the organs contained in that cavity.

Causes. Such accidents may be occasioned by animals falling on
fragments of broken glass or other sharp objects. A blow from the
horn of another animal may produce a wound which penetrates the
abdomen. Exposure and protrusion of some of the abdominal organs
may also be occasioned by the incautious use of caustics in the treat-
ment of umbilical or ventral hernia. The parts which generally escape
through an abdominal wound are the small intestine and floating colon.

Symptoms. When the abdominal wound is small, the bowel exposed
presents the appearance of a small round tumor, but in a few moments
a loop of intestine may emerge from the opening. The animal then
shows symptoms of severe pain by pawing with his feet, which has the
effect of accelerating the passage of new loops of intestine through the
wound, so that the mass which they form may even touch the ground.
The pain becomes so great that the ox now not only paws but lies down
and rolls, thus tearing and crushing his bowels. In such cases it is
best to slaughter the animal at once; but in the case of a valuable
animal in which tearing and crushing of the bowels has not taken
place, the bowels should be returned and the wounds in the muscle and
skin brought together in a manner somewhat similar to that which was
described in speaking of ventral hernia.



[Plate iv.]

When jaundice exists there is a yellow appearance of the white of
the eyes, and of the mucous membrane of the mouth. A similar aspect
of the skin may also be observed in animals which are either partly or
altogether covered with white hair. Jaundice is then merely a symp-
tom of disease and ought to direct attention to ascertaining if possible
the cause or causes which have given rise to it. A swollen condition
of the mucous membrane of that part of the bowel called the duodenum
may produce jaundice, as that mechanically closes the orifice of thebil-


iary duct. In constipation there is an inactive or torpid condition of
the bowel, and the bile which passes into the intestine may be absorbed
and cause the yellow staining of jaundice. Jaundice is one of the
symptoms of Texas fever and depends on the congested condition of the
liver existing in that disease. It may also arise from the presence of
parasites or gallstones in the ducts, forming a mechanical obstruction
to the onward flow of bile. It may also arise from injury to the nerv-
ous system impeding the functions of the nerves supplied to the liver
and checking or diminishing the secretion of bile. This form of jaun-
dice is, so far as we know, unknown in cattle. The conditions under
which jaundice most commonly calls for treatment are when cattle have
been highly fed and kept in a state of inactivity. At such a time there
is an excess of nutritive elements carried into the blood, which is asso-
ciated with increased fullness of the portal vein and hepatic artery.
When continued high feeding has produced this congested state of the
liver the functions of that organ become disordered, so that a consider-
able portion of the bile instead of being excreted and passing into the
intestine is absorbed by the hepatic veins.

Symptoms. This disease occurs most frequently among stall-fed cattle.
Pressure along the margin of the short ribs on the right side produces
pain ; the appetite is poor and the animal shows hardly any inclination
to drink; the mucous membranes of the eye and mouth are yellow, the
urine has a yellow or brown appearance, the animal lies down much
and moves with reluctance, moans occasionally and has a tottering gait.
The ears and horns are alternately hot and cold; in cows the secretion
of milk is much diminished, and that which is secreted has a bitter
taste ; sometimes the animal has a dry, painful cough and presents a dull,
stupefied appearance.

Treatment. In such cases it is advisable to produce a free action of
the bowels, so as to remove the usually congested condition of the portal
vein and liver. For this purpose we recommend the administration of
the following dose: Sulphate of soda, 1C ounces; fluid extract of tar-
axacum half an ounce. The sulphate of soda is dissolved by stirring
it up in 2 quarts of tepid water. The extract of taraxacum is mixed
in with it, and the mixture should be administered at one dose. When
a purgative effect has been produced, a dram of sulphate of ciiichonidia,
half an ounce of fluid extract of taraxacum and an ounce of spirits of
nitrous ether may be shaken up in a pint of water, and given night and
morning for several days in succession. This treatment may be assisted
by giving occasional injections of warm water and soap. The diet
should be laxative and moderate in quantity, and may consist of coarse
bran mash, pulped roots, grass in the season and hay in moderate quan-


This is a more advanced stage of the disease already described. I lep-
atitis is frequently restricted to a special part of the liver, and the


rest of the organ outside the area of inflammation may continue com-
paratively healthy.

The gland cells are the seat of inflammation, and the formation of an
abscess or abscesses is a usual result.

Symptoms. The symptoms are sometimes obscure, and their real
significance is frequently overlooked. This may be accounted for by
the fact that only a part of the liver is affected and that by the continu-
ance of congestion in that organ the affected parts gradually undergo
those clianges which are characteristic of inflammation. The most
prominent symptoms are yellowness of the white of the eye ? and of the
membrane lining the mouth ; the appetite is poor j the body presents an
emaciated appearance, but there is frequently fullness at the lower
part of the abdomen. The gait is weak, and the animal lies down more
than usual, and while doing so frequently has its head turned round
resting on the side of its chest.

Post-mortem appearances. There is frequently a quantity of serum in
the abdomen. The liver is usually enlarged. Instead of having the
dark-red appearance of congestion it has a brownish or grayish red
tint in some parts, with yellowish red or pale yellow in others. Its
tissue is loosened and easily torn, which is owing to its having lost its
natural cohesion. Abscesses or deposits of purulent matter are found
in its substance. The liver sometimes becomes adherent to the dia-
phragm or other adjacent parts through inflammation of its capsule.
As a result of another form of inflammation a considerable part of the
tissue of the liver becomes hardened or indurated, when its surface pre-
sents a nodulated appearance, and sometimes in cows that have died
after calving the liver has been found smaller than usual, so soft that
it is easily torn, and of a uniform yellow color.

Treatment. Half a ponnd of sulphate of soda and half an ounce of
fluid extract of taraxacum should be mixed with 2 quarts of tepid
water, and this should be given night and morning until a relaxed con-
dition of the bowels is produced, as the object is not to cause a strong
purgation, but a laxative effect which should be continued for some
days. The diet should be similar to that which has been recommended
in speaking of congestion of the liver. After the treatment with laxa-
tives has been continued for several days a dram of sulphate of cin-
chonidia and a dram of nitro-muriatic acid should be shaken up in a quart
of cold water, and this dose should be given three times a day until the
animal has regained its strength. Oil of turpentine should be rubbed
in well once a day over the region of the liver. The skin on which it
should be applied extends from the false ribs on the right side to 6
inches in front of the last one, and from the backbone to 12 inches on
the right side of it. Extreme heat and pasturing animals on low lying
ground are conditions favorable to the production of this disease.



The fluke, or Fasciola hepatica, is a parasite which infests the biliary
ducts of the liver. It varies iu size from an inch to a little over an inch
in length and has a brownish flattened body. It belongs to the group
of trematoda, or sucking worms. The fluke passes through several dif-
ferent stages of development before it reaches the livers of the animals
which it infests, and it is not only found in cattle, but in sheep and
several species of wild animals. Parasites which have attained their
full development usually after a time pass out of the animals which
harbor them and die, when they have attained the limit of their exist-
ence. It has been estimated that after the death and decomposition of
a full-grown fluke upwards of 40,000 eggs will be liberated from its
uterus. The agency of winds, rains, insects, the feet of cattle and
other animals, disperse and carry these ova to considerable distances,
so that a large proportion of tbem find their way to pools, ditches, and
streams, where the conditions exist necessary to their future develop-
ment. After a time they reach that stage in which they are transferred
with the fodder or drink to the digestive organs of their host. From
the foregoing statement it will readily be understood that this disease
prevails on low swampy laud, and especially on land which is subject
to inundation. During a wet, rainy season the area over which it
extends becomes much wider, and the losses which the disease occa-
sions are consequently greater.

Symptoms. The presence of these parasites in the biliary ducts does
not at first appear to impair the animal's health; indeed, it has been
stated that for a short time the animals appear to thrive better. This
is accounted for by the statement that the presence of the flukes in
the biliary ducts stimulates the secretion of bile, that this occasions a
more complete digestion of the fatty elements of the food, and a con-
sequent improvement in the animal's condition in the early stage of the
disease. When the flukes attain their full size, however, and are pres-
ent in large numbers, they set up inflammation in the walls of the bil-
iary ducts. As a result of the presence of those parasites the liver
becomes indurated and its secreting structure becomes atrophied or
wasted. The affected animals become dull and weak; swellings of a
dropsical nature form between the jaws and along the throat. There
are fever, great emaciation, and dropsical accumulations in the chest
and belly, which are soon followed by death.

Treatment i of no avail. Affected animals should be killed at an
early stage of the disease.


With few exceptions veterinarians agreo that the recognition of dis-
6>n affecting the spleen is rarely made during life, unless in the case
of certain febrile and contagious diseases, in which the spleen is known


to be involved to a greater or less extent. The writer agrees with the
general opinion on this point, as in those cases in which he has seen
the spleen show traces of disease, and in which the disease was of a
primary and not of a secondary character, the symptoms have been so
obscure as to render it impossible to draw any certain conclusion as to
their significance. Cruzel, a French writer on the diseases of cattle,
stated, however, that he had frequently met with cases of inflammation
of the spleen in cattle, and that he had no difficulty in recognizing
them. We give here the substance of CruzeFs account of inflammation
of the spleen, though we think that to judge from his description of the
post-mortem appearances it might more properly be termed congestion
of the spleen and liver than inflammation of the spleen. Splenitismay
occur as an acute affection, as very acute or intense, or as a chronic
form of disorder.

Causes. Oxen of a sanguine temperament which are worked hard,
and which, owing to the nature of their work, are frequently interrupted
while ruminating, are from these conditions exposed to sudden attacks
of congestion of the spleen. Cold and wet, the long-continued use of
very nutritive forage, and severe exertion, by increasing the circulation
and bringing on disorder of the digestive functions, may ultimately
give rise to this malady. The custom of working oxen immediately
after they have been fed, their stomachs filled with food, and there-
fore incapable of severe exertion, is regarded as a frequent cause of
this malady.

Symptoms of a general character may be observed, such as dryness
of the muzzle, loss of appetite, absence of rumination, gait slow and
stiff, 'and sensibility when pressure is applied on the loins. But the
symptoms which are specially characteristic of splenitis areas follows:
Shivering, tension of the left flank, and difficult breathing; the ox walks
with difficulty, as if the bending of the left fore and hind legs caused
pain. Fullness of the left flank, but differing from the fullness of tym-
panitis or hoven, as it is produced by displacement of the spleen in a
backward direction, so that when the flank is percussed or lightly struck
with the tips of the fingers a dull sound is produced like that occa-
sioned by the resistance offered by a soft body. The congested condi-
tion of the spleen brings about its displacement. The following case
illustrates how the disease arises: An 8-year-old ox had been fed
heavily on dry lucern, and was immediately afterwards put to work
drawing gravel; he continued working for two hours without showing
sickness, but did not ruminate. All at once, however, his flank swelled
up and he showed considerable pain when pressed strongly on the left
flank. This case is referred to in order to show the practical importance
of the symptom last described.

Congestion of the spleen occurs suddenly as the consequence of inter-
rupted rumination and hard work. Its duration is short if treatment
is applied without delay, but longer if the action of the cause is inter-
. mittent. In the first case there is a rapid recovery owing to the speedy


subsidence of the congestion. When the congestion is of long dura-
tion the malady becomes chronic, and the result may be fatal if the
cause continues to act violently and without cessation. The account
of the following case illustrates the foregoing statement:

A C-y ear-old ox was fed a large quantity of green corn about mid-
night ; he was afterwards driven so fast that he -could not ruminate,
and then compelled to draw a heavy load. At 10 o'clock in the morn-
ing he fell down, when it was noticed that his abdomen was swollen ;
he was forced up and had hardly been unyoked when he fell dead.

Lesions. On opening this ox a large quantity of green corn was found
in the rumen which had only been masticated once. There were sev-
eral quarts of blood in the abdomen, the spleen was much enlarged,
and had several ruptures at different points along its posterior border.

Treatment. Bleeding is the first means to be employed in treating
congestion of the spleen. The bleeding should be copious, and the first
abstraction of blood should not be less than five quarts. In making
this estimate the author is supposed to take as the type a working ox
which was in good condition at the time of his becoming affected with
congestion of the spleen. If there is not a marked improvement in the
animal's state two hours after he is bled he should be bled again. In
cases of this kind, which are not of a very aute character, bathing of
the left flank with cold water is recommended.

In addition to the above measures mild, soothing, acidulated drafts
should be given, low diet, rest, and occasional injections of a small
quantity of lukewarm water.


Peritonitis may be divided into certain varieties, according to its
mode of causation; (1) Traumatic, when the disease arises from wounds
penetrating the abdomen; (2) Idiopathic, when the disease arises from
exposure to cold and wet. The second variety of peritonitis occurs
chiefly among working oxen, and it may here be mentioned that in those
animals the membrane which lines the abdomen and covers the outer
surface of the bowels is apt to become congested by sudden chilling of
the skin, which empties its rich network of small blood-vessels to a
large extent, so that the blood must accumulate in some part of the
interior of the body.

Gawie*. When a working ox has been warmed up and is sweating
during hard work he may have to stand for some tim^ exposed to cold
wind or to a cold ruin, which soon chills the surface of his body. When
cattle are driven through rivers or into ponds, so that their bodies
become wet, and they afterward lie on the ground when the air is cold,
such exposure may produce peritonitis. Wounds penetrating the abdo-
men may also cause it.

Symptom*. A continuous or occasional shivering; the animal lies


down, but appears uneasy; it frequently turns its head towards its belly
and lows plaintively ; pressure on the flanks produces pain; has no

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 6 of 56)