Veterinary Work With Horses
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
VETERINARY WORK—HORSE—None of the domesticated animals associated with man in the pursuit of sport is so liable to disease or so much exposed to injury as the horse. His speed and strength, and the manner in which he is employed, render him especially disposed to accidents, often of the most serious description ; while the very artificial life to which he is subjected in order that he maybe in the fittest condition to perform the functions imposed on him, predispose him to diseases of various kinds, which demand careful and generally immediate attention. We shall here refer briefly to some of these diseases and accidents with which the horseman may have to deal before he can obtain professional assistance, and show him how to render first aid to the suffering animal, whether in or out of the stable.
Accidents—Wounds—The horse is particularly exposed to wounds, from the simple cut to the wide lacerated tear. According to their character and mode of production, they are usually described as " incised," " punctured," " lacerated," and " contused." The incised, or clean-cut wound, is generally the simplest and that most readily dealt with, though much of the success attending its treatment will depend upon its situation and the textures which are divided. In the treatment of all wounds, cleanliness is of the utmost importance in order to secure rapid and favourable union of the cut surface. Therefore the first thing to be doneis to cleanse it from dirt and foreign matters, and if there is much bleeding this may be checked by the application of cold or hot water. If the wound is not large and the part can be bandaged, then the edges should be brought together as evenly as possible, and the bandage applied. It is well to place a piece of fine tow or lint (asepticised) over the wound before the bandage is put on. When the wound is extensive and the skin hangs in a flap, an attempt should be made to fix it by means of stitches of silk thread, or pins passed through the edges of the wound and across it, and thread twine or fine tow twisted round them, from heads to points, in figure of 8 fashion. In some cases, strips of cloth covered with glue may be applied across the wound to keep its sides together after the hair has been clipped or shaved off, and the wound itself covered with antiseptic lint.
In all cases, whenever possible, wounds should be treated with dry antiseptic dressings, and of these the best are probably chinosol and boric acid, each of which may be mixed, if need be, with a certain proportion of starch powder. The exclusion of the air from wounds is, when possible, always to be aimed at, and this can be effected most readily and the healing process best promoted by such dressings.
Rest of the parts is also essential to rapid healing of wounds, and this can be secured in various ways, but chiefly by means of bandaging, which also aids in maintaining apposition of the borders of the wound and the dressings applied to it ; but care must be taken that the bandage is evenly applied, and that it will not impede the circulation to an inconvenient extent. To wounds of the lower part of the limbs these remarks more particularly apply ; in this region, after obtaining apposition of the edges of the wound, dry dressing and careful bandaging are all important.
Punctured wounds, such as stabs from nails, sharp stakes, splinters of wood, pointed weapons, &c., are often the most dangerous to the animal, as they are also generally the most troublesome to deal with. Having ascertained that no portion of the substance which caused the wound remains therein, and having cleansed it as well as can be done, it should be dressed as in the case of a simple wound. Often, however, severe pain and great swelling occur soon 'after the punctured wound has been inflicted, and then it maybe necessary to poultice or foment the part with warm water, and, after washing out the opening by means of a syringe, to get rid of putrid matter, to inject a solution of chinosol to destroy putrefactive germs. But unless constitutional symptoms become manifest, and there are indications that the wound is not doing well, it is the best course to keep to the dry dressings and interfere as little as possible with the injury.
Punctured wounds of the horse's feet produced either in shoeing, picking up stray nails on the roads, &c., are often followed by very serious consequences if not immediately attended to. The lameness soon becomes very great, and the animal evidently experiences intense pain. Sometimes much care is necessary in discovering the cause of this suffering. Nails picked up on the road are usually inserted alongside the frog, where they may be buried so deeply as to injure the flexor tendon of the foot and open the sheath through which it plays over the navicular hone. When, therefore, a horse falls suddenly lame in travelling on the road, the first thing to do is to lift the foot, and, if a stone is not found wedged between the shoe and the sole, to examine carefully the spaces on each side and in the middle of the frog. If a nail or other sharp body is found there, it should he removed before the horse is allowed to go further, and as soon as convenient the foot should be immersed for half an hour, or even an hour, in a bucket of warm water. Then it may be necessary to remove the horn from around the wound and dress this with Stockholm tar smeared on a pledget of tow, the dressing being retained by one or two pieces of thin wood or hoop-iron placed over it, their ends being pushed beneath the shoe. The horse should be kept as quietly as possible in a stall for a few days until it is presumed the wound has perfectly healed, and there is no longer danger of complications. If, however, the lameness and distress, instead of gradually subsiding, increase, it will be advisable to resort to warm water fomentations several times a day, to feed the horse on a light, laxative diet, and, if there is great pain in movement and in getting the heels to the ground, a shoe considerably raised at the end of the branches should be put on, as this will considerably relieve the weight-strain on the injured parts. Should the serious symptoms continue, the services of an expert had better be obtained.
If nothing be discovered elsewhere to account for the lameness, then the shoeing may be suspected, and faulty driving of the nails most probably will be found acting as the cause. Fortunately there is no difficulty in putting this suspicion to the test. The horse will have been recently shod, or will have had fresh nails driven into the shoe of the lame foot, and this, if the nail or nails have been driven into or too close to the living parts, will be higher in temperature than the other feet. Lift the foot and squeeze firmly and steadily around it, between the wall and sole, by means of a pair of pincers ; when the injured part is compressed, the animal will demonstrate this by wincing considerably. The same manifestation will be made if the foot is placed on the ground and tapped around the neighbourhood of the nails with a hammer or the head of a hunting-crop, the opposite foot being held up meanwhile. The shoe must be taken off and the injury sought out by paring down towards the nail-holes, when, if matter has formed, this will escape on the puncture being opened ; if this stage has not yet arrived, the exalted sensitiveness shown in paring and the evident traces of puncture will testify to the cause of lameness, which should be much diminished by relieving the pressure on the part in this way. Immersing the foot in hot water for half an hour, or keeping it in a poultice of mixed bran and linseed for twelve hours, should tend to abolish the pain. Then the cavity made in searching for the injury may be filled up with Stockholm tar (melted by moderate heat) and a piece of tow, and the shoe replaced, omitting, however, to insert nails at or very near to the puncture. When the foot has been nail-bound and the nail or nails press too much on the sensitive parts, which is sometimes even more troublesome than puncture, the same treatment must be adopted. It should here be remarked that long continued fomenting or poulticing of the horse's foot is nearly, if not always, to be -avoided, as after the urgent pain has been relieved its employment is not only unnecessary, but, as a rule, detrimental. Antiseptics, and cleanliness and rest are the mainstays of a cure.
Thorns often inflict troublesome punctured wounds, especially when they are lodged in the joints or in the sheaths of tendons. Hunters are more particularly exposed to these punctures, which sometimes cause considerable lameness when the thorns remain in situ. The first business is, of course, to discover the thorns and remove them. Their presence is revealed by the sudden symptoms of pain which the horse exhibits when the hand is passed over them, and they not infrequently produce swelling of the part. The finger nails or a pair of forceps can be employed to remove them—in their entirety, if possible—but sometimes they are so deeply buried that a careful examination has to be made of the skin, and the hair clipped or shaved off before anything can be attempted for their removal. Softening the skin by means of warm fomentations or poultices will facilitate the operation and also lessen the pain and inflammation.
Contused and lacerated wounds are often more troublesome than, and quite as serious in results as, incised and punctured wounds, inasmuch as not only are tissues - cut, but they are also bruised and torn, and very often have foreign substances imbedded in them. Their gravity, as in the case of other wounds, depends very much upon their situation, extent, and the amount of bruising or laceration of tissues. A bruise is merely a form of con. tused wound in which the skin is intact, but the parts beneath it are more or less injured. This form frequentlyoccurs from forcible contact with a blunt object, such as a stake, or pole, or a kick from another horse on the fleshy parts. There may be considerable pain and swelling, the latter being usually soft and containing fluid. To relieve the pain and diminishthe swelling, the part should be bathed with hot water or with lotions that produce cold. It is not advisable to lance the swelling, so as to allow the contained fluid to escape, until it is seen whether the inflammation continues. If it does, then it may be surmised that matter has formed, and this must be drained away by making a very small, incision through the skin at the most dependent part of the swelling. Contused and lacerated wounds occur most frequently on the limbs, through horses falling or stumbling, and the fore-legs are most exposed to such injuries.
"Broken knees" is the term commonly applied to injuries of this kind occurring to the front of the carpal, or, as they are wrongly designated, "knee" joints. The damage may be nothing more than a slight graze, merely abrading and bruising the skin, or it may pass through varying grades of injury to the most extensive and serious laceration, the knee joint itself being opened. When the skin is merely grazed, little more requires to be done than carefully and gently to remove any dirt and grit from it and bathe with warm water, afterwards dressing with a little chinosol ointment. If there be swelling and stiffness of the joint, the fomentation must be continued until these disappear. When the skin is cut and bleeding, the same treatment is to be adopted ; but if the wound is clean it may be dressed with boric or chinosol powder and covered with a piece of lint and a bandage. If the wound is rather extensive and transverse, the horse should not be permitted to lie down until the healing process is well advanced. In some cases, after the wound has been well cleansed, it may be dressed with tincture of myrrh, and then a piece of lint on which Canada balsam has been spread laid over it, and over this a bandage may be placed. This dressing will often remain on the knees until the wound is healed.
When the wound is ragged and contused, and the tendons passing over it are probably lacerated, so that there is great danger of one or more of the joint capsules being opened, then all the skill and care of the expert will be required to repair the injury and preserve the horse's usefulness ; therefore he should he called in early. In the meantime something may be done by the amateur. After the wound has been freed from grit and all foreign matter by gentle washing with warm' water, it should be dried with lint ; then a wide piece of the same should he covered with a layer of the boric acid or chinosol and starch powder, and placed on the wound, this dressing being retained by a bandage. The leg should be made immovable by means of a starch bandage wrapped round it from above the knee down to the fetlock, and, as the horse must not be suffered to lie down until the wound is healed —which may occupy some weeks—he should be supported in the standing position by means of a sling. The wound will require to be dressed in the coarse of a few days, and to permit of this being done without taking off the starch bandage, a hole may be made in this by a pair of sharp-pointed scissors immediately over the seat of injury. When the knee has been dressed, the dressing can be kept in place by an ordinary bandage. The treatment of irritative fever and other unfavourable symptoms ought to be left to the veterinary attendant. It must be remembered that poulticing and fomenting such wounds is most injurious, and that the best results are derived from the dry antiseptic treatment. A tendency to fever must be combated by laxative diet in the shape of mashes, and by small quantities of nitrate of potass in the water given to drink. The temperature of the feet of the other limbs must be watched after a few days, and especially of the opposite foot, as congestion and inflammation sometimes attack them, owing to the strain imposed on them from the continued standing. This, however, is not so likely to occur when the horse is slung, as the legs are then relieved of much of the weight of the body.
Wounds of other joints, such as the hock and fetlock, are to be treated in a similar manner, as are also those of sheaths of tendons. Dry antiseptic dressings, moderately firm bandaging, immobility of the limb, and keeping the horse quiet until the injury has been quite repaired, are the chief points to be remembered.
A sometimes severe and troublesome form of contused wound is that known as " over-reach." This is usually produced in galloping, especially on heavy ground, and in jumping ; it occurs most frequently in the hunting field and on the steeplechase course. The parts injured are the back of the leg or heels of the fore feet, and the damage is inflicted by the toe of the shoes of the hind feet. The extent of damage varies from mere laceration of skin to exposure of the posterior surface of the back tendon, or even tearing of the tendon itself or of the lateral cartilages of the foot at the heels, and sometimes involves the coronary frog-band at this part. When an accident of this kind happens in the field, all dirt should be removed by washing, and a temporary bandage—such as that afforded by a handkerchief—applied until the injury can be properly attended to. Mention of a temporary bandage calls to mind the great benefit that is often derived from a linen bandage, a piece of lint, and a few pins wherewith to close skin wounds ; these can be easily carried by the horseman, as they are light and occupy little space, and may be of great service in an emergency, and even in the case of an accident to man. When the "over-reach" can be properly dressed, it should be again well cleansed, and it may be necessary to remove, by means of sharp scissors, any shreds of tissue hanging from the wound. This should then be dressed with chinosol or boracic acid powder, a piece of lint placed over it and a bandage evenly applied around the leg. When the heel is the seat of injury and there is evidence of much bruising, it is often advantageous to thin the hoof immediately below it, in order to relieve the tension from subsequent swelling of the bruised tissues. The wound should be dressed with the dry anti-septic powder every second or third day, and no washing, fomentation, or poulticing ought to be allowed. The horse should be rested and have light diet. With regard to the prevention of this accident, it is to be remarked that the injury is inflicted by the back lower edge of the toe of the hind shoe, and that the hind shoes of all horses that have to jump or gallop should be straight across at this part—" square-toed shoes," which should also be convex on the ground surface and have a clip at each side. The hoof may be allowed to project slightly beyond the shoe at the toe, but it ought to be well rounded.
Another kind of contused wound is that produced at the top of one foot by the opposite foot, or the foot of another horse, treading on it, and known as a "tread." The wound may be slight or severe, its character not being always ascertainable at first, so that it should not be neglected even when apparently trivial. If the wound is lacerated and there are loose shreds, these must be removed by sharp scissors. Then the part must be freed from dirt, washed clean, and dressed with antiseptic powder in .the manner already described, keeping the part always dry. If the portion of hoof immediately in contact with the wound becames detached, it should be cut away by the shoer's knife.
A very serious form of lacerated wound is that which is sometimes met with in the hunting field, when a horse becomes "staked," i.e., has the wall of the abdomen or chest or the muscles inside the thigh torn by a stake while jumping. It is usually the lower part of the belly which suffers from staking, and the tear is not infrequently so wide and deep that the abdominal cavity is opened, so that the intestines escape therefrom and may descend even to the ground. When the muscles only are wounded, all that can be done is to cleanse the wound and cover it up with handkerchiefs, bandages, or anything of the kind conveniently to hand, until it can be properly attended to. Wounds of the abdomen with protrusion of the intestines, though formidable looking, are notalways hopeless if the' bowel is not torn or severely bruised. As a temporary measure at the time of the accident, the intestine should be returned to the abdominal cavity if possible, the manipulation in effecting this being very carefully conducted ; then a long bandage should be made by tying several handkerchiefs together ; this is placed on the wound and tied over the back, being sup-ported with the thong of a whip. If the intestines cannot be returned without the risk of injuring them, they had better be let alone and kept suspended in the bandage until an operation can be conveniently undertaken. The horse can generally be walked for some distance after being bandaged. The operation consists in throwing down the horse gently, taking great care of the intestines, placing the animal on his back, after having administered chloroform to him, returning the bowel, and passing sutures, or, better, a steel pin or pins through the lips of the wound and passing tow round the ends of them in figure of 8 fashion. The wound should be treated antiseptically during and after the operation. A wide bandage encircling the body should include the wound. The diet ought to be light and laxative.
Haemorrhage—The most serious accompaniment of wounds of all kinds is haemorrhage, and this cannot always be easily checked or controlled, especially when the blood proceeds from arteries. This is known by the bright red hue of the blood and by its flowing in pulsating jets, whereas blood from the veins is of a purplish colour and comes away in an even flow. Pressure is the most ready means of stopping bleeding, though if this be mere oozing of the blood in small quantity, cold or somewhat hot water will answer the purpose. If the bleeding occurs in the limb, a handkerchief dipped in cold water and applied to the part, being kept there by another handkerchief tied over it and around the leg, may succeed in checking the flow, if it does not altogether suppress it. When the bleeding proceeds from a deep narrow wound, it may be checked for a short time, until other measures can be taken, by passing the finger down into the opening and making pressure on the injured blood vessel ; or a handkerchief may be thrust deeply and firmly into it, so as to stanch the flow. Should these measures prove unsuccessful, the garrot tourniquet can be adopted. This is readily made by folding a handkerchief in the longest direction, tying it quite loosely around the limb, between the wound and the body, and then tightening it to the required extent, i.e., until the bleeding stops, by means of a hunting-crop or a stick passed through this loop and twisted round. If the horse has to travel any distance, which should not be far, with this tourniquet in position, the hunting-crop or stick may be tied to the leg by means of another handkerchief round one end. If a pad, made by a handkerchief folded into a lump or by a round smooth stone, is placed over the large artery of the limb and included in the tourniquet, the latter need not be so severely twisted. At any rate the tourniquet is a very temporary arrangement, and must not be kept on the limb any longer than is necessary to obtain expert assistance in order to tie the bleeding vessel.
It is astonishing how in these emergencies a little know-ledge, self-possession and common sense will avert serious, if not fatal, consequences.
Contusions—Contusions are frequent in the horse, and are caused in a variety of ways. One kind has been alluded to. When the skin is not broken, applications of cold water or astringent lotions are the most convenient, and generally the most effective treatment. What is termed "sore back" is usually a contusion of the skin produced by severe and unequal pressure of the saddle in some particular part of the back. The saddle may have been badly constructed or fitted, the stuffing lumpy, the lining hard and dirty, the weight on the back long continued or unsteady, or the saddle removed too soon after a long journey, especially in hot weather. In some cases sore back is doubtless produced by the manner in which the saddle is put on—placing it back and then pulling it forward against the hair into its proper seat, instead of putting it on forwards and then moving it backwards in the direction of the hair. Prevention, it need scarcely he said, is most important, for a sore back may imply inability to carry the rider, or even the saddle for some days. When there is danger of sore back from long continued pressure, it is an excellent plan, when the rider dismounts, to leave the saddle on the back for some time, to allow the skin to become cool and the blood circulation in it to regain its normal condition ; if the weight has been great and the girths are somewhat loose, it is even advisable to tighten these to some degree after the rider has left the saddle. If unfortunately, the skin becomes tender and puffy, applications of cold water, lead lotion, or common salt dissolved in water must be resorted to at once. If the skin is abraded, then astringent lotion is needed ; and there is nothing more effective nor handier than dressing the part with ordinary writing ink, as the iron and gallic acid in it are eminently astringent. It is a good plan, when the weather is hot and the journeys long, to sponge over the back with a solution of alum, oak bark, or sulphate of iron, in order to render the skin hard and less sensitive and vascular. If the journey must be prolonged and the horse ridden, then the part of the saddle that impinges on the bruised place must be eased by removing the stuffing from it.
Fractures—Of all the domesticated animals the horse is the most exposed to fractures of the bones. This exceptional liability might be predicted when the nature of the services he is compelled to render is taken into account. And of all the bones of the body the most frequently broken are those of the limbs, especially those below the knee and hock.
Fractures are usually divided into five kinds:—(1) simple, (2) compound, (3) comminuted, (4) compound comminuted, (5) impacted.
The simple fracture is that in which the bone is broken into two pieces, but the skin remains whole in the compound fracture the bone is broken, and there is a wound in the soft tissues and the skin covering the fracture through which the ends of the bones may protrude. In the comminuted fracture the bone is broken up into a number of pieces ; and in the compound comminuted fracture, in addition to this break up of the bone, an external wound exists which leads to it or through which the splinters may project ; while in the impacted fracture one end of the broken bone is wedged into the other end. In the horse, fractured' bones are always serious, but especially when those of the limbs are concerned. This is not because broken bones are less ready to become united in the horse than in other animals, indeed, fractured bones are more rapidly repaired in favourable cases in this animal than they perhaps are in mankind ; but it is because of the difficulty in keeping the parts sufficiently at rest to ensure continued apposition of the fractured portions and no interruption of the healing process. This is particularly the case in the limb hones, which have to sustain weight ; a favourable position of the animal cannot he obtained, the only one usually secured being the standing one, with the weight of the body of the horse sustained more or less by a sling passed under it and suspended by ropes to beams or poles.
Fractures of the limb bones and the vertebrae are generally looked upon as incurable, and the animal is accordingly destroyed. Fractures of the vertebrae may unhesitatingly be pronounced as hopeless when they are diagnosed, and the horse should be mercifully slaughtered. The same conclusion unfortunately has to be arrived at in nearly all cases of compound, comminuted, and impacted fractures, especially of the leg bones ; for even under the most favourable conditions, when the broken pieces of bone can be brought into their proper place and kept there until firmly united and the wound healed, the horse may remain a cripple afterwards, and be of little or no use except for breeding purposes, if a stallion or a mare. The difficulty of maintaining the broken bones in place, the complications which are likely to occur during the treatment, and the expense incurred, no less than the great uncertainty of even an imperfect cure, all militate against keeping the animal alive. But every case offracture must not be condemned as hopeless, as is too often done in those of the leg bones, for simple, and even compound, fractures have been successfully treated, and the horses have subsequently performed good service. Much depends on the situation and nature of the fracture, as well as on the health and temper of the horse, and also on the skill of the expert and the patience and humanity of the 'owner.
Fractures generally occur out of doors, though they sometimes happen in the stable, and are produced by kicks from other horses, by falls in jumping, by pulling up short while galloping, by forcible impact of hard bodies against the bones, &c. A fracture may occur without any marked symptoms except, perhaps, the evidence of pain on manipulating the parts, and lameness if the limb bones are involved: Much will depend upon the situation and the character of the injury. When the bone is not concealed too deeply by thick masses of muscle, crepitation, or grating on each other of the broken pieces, may be felt, and even heard, on moving the limb ; when there is displacement, the limb may be shortened, more or less pendulous, and capable of being moved in directions which it could not be made to do were there no fracture. In other cases the existence of fracture is at once apparent without manipulation being necessary, as when the angle of the haunch is broken and displaced—an accident not very uncommon, and usually brought about by this part being struck against the side of a door in entering or leaving a stable or loose-box. Of course, if the fracture is compound or comminuted, or both combined, the, diagnosis is generally rendered easier. Sometimes, when the bone is only cracked, there may be lameness for a day or two and nothing serious suspected—the animal may even be exercised or worked, when all at once displacement occurs and then the leg is really broken. Such cases are far from unusual ; the fracture generally occurs in the hind limb, the leg bone (tibia), between the stifle and hock, often erroneously designated the thigh bone, being nearly always the one that offers this peculiarity. The cause of fracture here is nearly always a kick from another horse, the injury being inflicted inside the leg a short distance above the hock, where the bone is only covered by the skin. There may be great lameness immediately after the kick, but this soon passes off, and then there is nothing more evident than the wound in the skin until, a few days afterwards, the horse is found in the morning with a broken leg and has to be destroyed. The explanation for this somewhat extraordinary occurrence lies in the fact that the bone—which is one of great solidity and strength—is cracked or starred into perhaps a number of pieces, but there is no displacement of these ; this is prevented by the dense resisting membrane covering the bone (the periosteum), until the exudation that is thrown out preparatory to cementing the fractured surfaces separates these from each other and the containing membrane so far that the horse, in lying down or getting up, throws so much strain upon the leg that complete separation takes plack, and the animal is found with the limb dangling in so peculiar a manner that the experienced eye can at once perceive what has happened.
In troop stables this accident most frequently occurs, though it also happens in the field ; and so apprehensive was I of complete fracture ensuing that, for many years,, when a horse received a kick on this part, I immediately had him put in a sling and kept as quiet as possible until I could assure myself either that no fracture had taken place or that there had been one, and that union was so far accomplished that there was no reason to fear displacement ; though the horse was usually kept in the sling until he could be safely allowed to lie down. The evidence that there had been fracture was found in the great majority of cases, and consisted in the presence of a hard enlargement (callus) where the blow had been given.
As has been mentioned, and for the reasons adduced, many cases of fracture in the horse are not considered suitable for treatment ; among these there are often cases which would, if occurring in man, be undertaken with every prospect of a good recovery. Therefore it is that treatment for fracture in the horse is seldom attempted, and especially when the bones are those of the limbs, even when the fracture is of the simple kind. So that, in arriving at a decision as to whether the attempt should be made, several considerations must be kept in view, among which are the nature and situation of the fracture, the value of the animal, the conveniences for and the probable cost of treatment, whether he is likely to be quite free from lameness or other infirmity which will diminish his use-fulness afterwards, and whether if he, if a stallion (or she, if a mare) may not be useful at the stud should the cure not be complete.
Fracture of the vertebræ, whether of the neck, body, or loins, is, it may be said, always fatal. Death may be instantaneous, as when the neck vertebræ are fractured near the head, or death may not ensue for some days when the back is broken. There is generally no difficulty in diagnosing "broken back," an accident which occurs more frequently in the field than in the stable. The horse is down and cannot rise, for he has no power over his hind limbs, though this inability might also be due to a bad sprain of the muscles or ligaments of the loins. But in broken back, in addition to immobility of the hind extremities, there is also loss of sensation in them ; so that when they are pinched or pricked with a pin the horse does not show any sign of pain, which he would do if the back were merely sprained. As broken back is incurable, the animal should be killed to obviate needless suffering.
With regard to killing horses which have met with very serious accidents, the means are not always at hand for doing so, and it not infrequently happens that a consider-able time must elapse before a knacker, a gun, or a pistol can be procured when the mishap has occurred in the field ; and even when a firearm and ammunition have been obtained, it is not every one who knows how to shoot a horse dead instantaneously. The brain must be perforated if this is to be effected, and the best part of the head to aim at is the middle of the forehead, about three inches above the line of the eyes, where there is usually a curl in the hair. The firearm should be held close to the head, and the bullet or shot directed towards the top of the neck, so as to reach the base of the brain—death is then instantaneous. But shooting cannot always he carried out, and some other plan must be resorted to. If a black-smith's forge is near, a sledge hammer and a pointed punch may be borrowed, and the latter instrumen [driven deeply into the brain, at the Spot and in the direction indicated above, by a smart blow from the hammer. Death is then as prompt as by shooting, if the operation is properly performed. Or the carotid artery may be exposed by making an incision with a pocket knife in the side of the neck about midway between the head and chest, in the furrow immediately above the windpipe, and pushing the forefinger inwards until it meets the artery, which is distinguished by its strong pulsations; the vessel is then drawn to the surface by the finger being hooked round it, and a slit an inch or two long made in its wall. On allowing the vessel to go back the blood gushes out in a full stream, and death—almost painless—rapidly ensues. But this sanguinary business is not pleasant to witness, and I have on several occasions, when driven to my wit's end to find a ready way to kill a horse, when there was nothing with which to do it except a knife, thrown off my belt and tunic, rolled up my shirt sleeve, and introduced my hand, armed with an open pocketknife, well into the rectum, where, turning the point of the blade upwards and pushing it towards the loins, I made a strong cut across, and in this way divided the posterior aorta or one of its divergent branches. The horse was dead in a few seconds without a drop of blood escaping externally, and without anybody being cognisant as to how death was caused.
When fractures of the limbs occur on the road or in the field, and it is decided not to destroy the animals on the spot, but to give them a chance for their lives, great care must be taken, when moving them to some suitable habitation, that the injury is not made greater by themovement. To prevent a simple from becoming a compound fracture, the broken bone should be " set" as perfectly as may be possible under the circumstances—i.e., the broken portions brought into their natural position, and kept there by any simple means until better can be devised. A bandage or handkerchief may be tied round it, and, if thought necessary, splints of wood cut from a paling, or stout branches of trees or twigs sufficiently long to extend some distance above and below the fracture, may be employed ; hunting-crops sometimes answer very well in an emergency. Some soft material, such as reeds, grass, hay, or moss, should be laid around the limb on the bandage, so as to make the surface as level and even as possible; on this the splints are to be placed, inside and outside the limb, and their ends kept fixed by handkerchiefs tied around them.
When this has been done, an attempt most be made to get the horse to his stable or some other convenient shelter where he can remain until he is well. If a horse-ambulance cart can be procured, this difficulty is at once solved ; but such a useful conveyance is rarely available in the country, and not always even in towns. Therefore the animal must travel on his own legs, only three of which can be used for this purpose. If the dam-aged limb is a fore one, with time and patience a considerable distance maybe travelled, but frequent short halts are needed. When it is a hind limb that is disabled, progression is much more difficult, and a longer time and more frequent rests are required to travel the same distance. In these cases travelling is quicker and the crippled horse is much relieved if a portion of his weight can be borne on a narrow plank placed beneath his chest, each end of which is carried by one or two men ; or each end of a sack may be tied securely to a stout piece of wood, and on this the chest may rest, while men at the sides of the horse partly carry him by means of the sticks.
Arrived at his destination, the horse must be slung, and in default of the proper gear a very useful sling may he made by nailing, or strongly sewing, each end of an ordinary sack to a short pole five or six feet long. This sling is placed beneath the body, and secured at the ends of the poles by ropes passed over beams in the roof. The shafts of a cart or wagon, firmly propped up, have some-times been successfully employed to sling a horse. It must be remembered that the lame horse should not be lifted off his feet by the sling ; this should just be in contact with his chest when he is fully standing up, so that when he seeks to rest he simply bends his knees and hocks and allows his weight to fall on the sling. The greatest care should he taken that everything is sufficiently strong to sustain the weight, as great damage is often done when the sling suddenly gives way while the horse rests on it.
The proper bandaging of the fracture can now be carried out, and this demands some skill. The temporary bandage and splints having been removed, a more careful examination of the limb may be made, but the broken bone should be handled as little as possible, if the parts are in their proper place. If there is no external wound, a thick layer of cotton-wool may be placed around the damaged part of the limb, and over that a linen bandage, evenly wrapped and moderately tight. Then a starch bandage may be placed upon this, and, if need he, splints. of wood or iron, the object being completely to immobilise the limb. To allay the pain, lead lotion and laudanum may be poured between the skin and the upper part of the inner bandage, and if the inflammation runs high, cold water may be applied by a sponge or a hose frequently during the day.
This treatment is more particularly applicable to fractures of the leg bones, but it must be remarked that little can be done in the way of "setting" such bones as the arm bone, the humerus or bone between the shoulder-blade and bone of the fore-arm; nor yet the thigh hone or femur (that between the hip joint and stifle), as these are too much surrounded by masses of muscle. Even the bone of the fore-arm, the radius, is difficult to set and fix, especially when the fracture is oblique ; and the leg bone of the hind limb, the tibia (extending from the stifle to the hock), is still more troublesome, the broken ends of the bone being very rarely brought together and kept so, if they are displaced. The same may be said of fracture of the hones of the pelvis, one of which, the ilium, is much exposed to this accident, especially at its anterior part, the point of the quarter or hip. This part, as has already been mentioned, is very liable to fracture when horses are passing through doorways, and when a considerable piece has been knocked off and displaced the animals are said to be "down in the hip." For such cases scarcely anything more can be done than to apply warm water fomentations to the part, sling the horse, and keep him as quiet as possible. Fracture of the hip joint generally occurs through a fall in the stall or on a hard road, and is not always easily diagnosed. It may be regarded as incurable.
The bones of the face are sometimes fractured by kicks from other horses, and displacement is usually the result. If this displacement gives the horse an unsightly appearance or interferes with the breathing, the depressed bone or bones can be raised by an operative procedure that can best be carried out by the surgeon. In these cases there is often profuse haemorrhage from one or both nostrils, to check which plugging cannot be resorted to, as in man, because the horse breathes only through his nostrils ; so that little more can be done than apply cold water to the face and inject it up the nose.
The shank hones--large metacarpal or large metatarsal bones—if not much splintered, and provided the fractured ends can he brought together and kept so, may, in many cases, be successfully repaired, if properly set and bandaged. The pastern bones are often fractured, more particularly the smaller or lower one ; the accident generally occurs in jumping at a fast pace or in pulling up sharp when galloping ; it may also happen in slipping on ice or soft ground. The bone may he merely split vertically or obliquely, or it may be broken up into a number of pieces. Diagnosis is usually easy; there is great lameness and intense pain, especially when handling the damaged pastern, and, if the fracture is comminuted, the unusual mobility of the part, together with the crepitus, or grating of the fragments on each other, should leave no doubt as to what has happened. When the bone is merely split, the only evidence is the lameness, pain on handling the part, and probably some swelling. Recovery from split and fractured pasterns is not by any means rare, and if the horse is a valuable one, and the bone not much broken and displaced, an attempt at cure may be made with a reasonable hope of success. The treatment has already been suggested.
The foot bone—os pedis—is sometimes fractured, especially that of the fore-foot, and in a similar manner to the bones of the pasterns. Unfortunately, owing to its being completely buried within the hoof, the existence of this accident can only be inferred from the intense lameness and the great heat of the foot, and the absence of signs of fracture elsewhere in the limb. The treatment is simple enough, and consists chiefly in keeping the horse quiet in the sling, and resorting to continuous irrigation of the foot with cold water.
Dislocations.—The dislocation of bones which enter into the formation of joints is not a very common recurrence, though one may be surprised that, considering the great strain often imposed on many of the joints, especially those of the limbs and back, it is not more frequent. The most common form of dislocation is that of the stifle or patella, which usually happens in young or debilitated animals, and is due almost entirely to weakness or relaxation of the ligaments that attach the patella to the front of the thigh and leg bones. This dislocation is often only partial, and therefore not so serious, for it can generally be rectified without any manipulation. So persistent is it in some horses that at every few steps the animal takes when in motion the patella slips off to the outside of the joint, momentarily checking the extension of the leg, and slips on again as readily, this reduction being often accompanied by a dull clicking sound. Such partial dislocationmay occur with both patellae at the sanie time. Complete dislocation is usually witnessed in older horses, and is more serious, as the patella has not a tendency to return to its place without manual assistance.
"The signs of dislocation of the patella are very marked and, to the experienced horseman, unmistakable, but those who see a case for the first time are inclined to look upon it as a very grave condition—nothing less than a broken leg in one case which I was called upon to see. The limb is rigidly fixed and thrust backward, the fetlock being bent forward until, the front of the hoof nearly touches the ground, and no effort of the animal can bring it forward ; so that in walking the leg is dragged after the body in the same rigid fashion, none of its joints being moved. The animal does not give evidence of suffering from pain, unless compelled to walk quickly, which is very difficult and fatiguing.
In the simpler form of patellar dislocation, if the bone does not return to its place spontaneously, drawing the leg forward and at the same time pushing the bone from the outside forward and inward, will make it resume its normal position with a smart jerking noise. To cure this relaxed condition of the stifle ligaments (which usually disappears with age), the animal should be kept tied up in a stall for a week or so, and the stifle blistered in front and on each side.
When the dislocation is more complete, reduction is not so easy. In order to draw the hind leg sufficiently forward, a rope must be passed round the pastern and brought towards the shoulder or placed around the neck; this rope on being drawn steadily, will carry the leg in advance, until the stifle joint is sufficiently straightened to allow of the patella being restored to its natural position by pushing it from behind forwards. This manoeuvre rarely fails, at least it has always been 'successful with me; but if the attempt does not succeed, which is just possible with horses that have large muscular development, then, in order to induce muscular relaxation, the animal should be thrown down and chloroform administered. When reduction has been effected—and this ought not to be delayed if the joint is inflamed and painful—cooling lotions should be applied, after which it may be advisable to resort to blistering, and allow two or three weeks' rest.
Dislocations of the shoulder-joint, fetlock, and pastern joints, have been recorded, but these are too serious for the amateur to deal with unless he can reduce them easily without doing any damage. The smaller joints he may be able to put right by getting the dislocated bones in place and keeping the limb bandaged until the expert arrives. Some of these dislocations have made a good recovery. The vertebrae of the neck are sometimes partially dislocated through falls in the hunting field, but more particularly from being "cast" in the stable. The dislocation is outward, to the right or left side, and several of the bones may be involved. The neck is curved to one side, and this gives the horse a curious appearance. To straighten the neck again is nearly always a serious task, and takes a considerable time, if some days have elapsed before treatment is adopted. A splint apparatus or cradle has to be placed on the neck, and pressure applied on the convex side. This pressure must be exercised continuously, and gradually increased until the neck is straight ; but the cradle must be worn some time afterwards until the ligaments have gained their normal condition.
The Detection of Lameness in Horses.—Among the many things which the intelligent horseman ought to know is, not only when a horse is in good health and condition or when it is sick or unfit for work, but also when it is lame and, if possible, where it is lame, as well as the cause of the lameness. This is indeed expecting a great deal from him, and in truth there are not many amateur horsemen who are privileged to possess this knowledge to such an extent as to meet every requirement ; but the more he knows the more likely is he to keep his horses in health, to avoid being imposed upon or misleading others, and to be in a position to apply the stitch in time when anything is amiss and expert assistance not immediately available. These remarks are more particularly applicable to cases of lameness, as the ability to distinguish unrhythmical from rhythmical movement of the limbs is often of great moment to those who employ horses, and, in only a less degree, is the faculty of being able to fix upon the ailing leg or legs, and to detect the seat and cause of imperfect movement.
It is more important for the rider to know when a horse is lame than to be absolutely certain as to the part affected or the cause, for an expert can generally be trusted to discover this ; whereas, If an animal suddenly becomes cripple and continues to be worked without this being perceived, great, and sometimes even irreparable, mischief may be the result.
Lameness has been defined as the manifestation, in the act of progression, and by one or more of the limbs, of pain or weakness, inability or impediment in' movement. Though pain is usually a cause of lameness, yet a horse may manifest irregular or halting movement of the limbs during motion without experiencing pain. There may be stiffness of a joint or malformation of a limb impeding movement, and yet no evidence present of any pain being suffered. For instance, the nervous affection of the limbs popularly known as " stringhalt " is a kind of lameness, and yet there is no sign that it is in any way productive of pain. It is most important to remember this, as very often people who are not acquainted with horses or their diseases, imagine that an animal must be suffering if they see it limp or move unevenly, and very often unfortunate drivers or owners of horses are unjustly punished for cruelty to them because of this mistake—some deformity of a limb preventing its being used as freely as the other legs, but causing no more pain than a club-foot or a stiff knee does in man.
Lameness may be only temporary, and be due to local causes, without disease being present. A wound, or bruise of the leg or foot, or even a stone lodged between the shoe and sole or about the frog, may induce limping; or lameness may be permanent from chronic disease, or the effect of such disease. Even weakness of muscle may cause lameness in one or more limbs, and the opposite of this condition, such as cramp of the muscles, wilt produce the same result, as will also partial or complete dislocation of a joint—that of the stifle, for example—in which there is complete inability to draw the hind leg forward.
In some cases lameness is so marked that the veriest tiro can scarcely fail to notice it, especially if only one limb is involved, and to determine in which leg it is. In other instances, however, it is so slight that it may escape casual observation, and even among experts it may chance to be of such a peculiar or trifling character that there will not only he a diversity of opinion as to the limb affected, but whether the horse is at all lame. Therefore it is that a horse will be passed as sound by some experts, and pronounced lame by others, though these again may differ not only as to the seat of lameness, but even as to the lame leg.
Skill in the detection of lameness would almost appear to be a special faculty in some people. Doubtless long experience and close observation among lame horses will tend to render this detection easier and more certain, but there are people whom no amount of practice will thoroughly teach, and whose eyesight and hearing do not enable them to detect if a horse is lame or on which leg it limps. Many even of those who have successfully passed through the veterinary schools have had their professional reputation seriously marred in the early days of their career through failing to detect lameness, or mistaking the limb, the location of the ailment, or the cause. Other men, again, are quick at detecting lameness, and not only in deciding on the lame leg, but in fixing upon the part where the cause of the lameness exists ; some of these men can do this in certain cases before the horse has moved many yards.
Of course nothing but practice and careful observation can ensure the acquirement of this knowledge, but a few simple directions may render it easier of attainment.
Lameness is generally detected when the horse is in movement, this being either walking or trotting, or both, though it is generally necessary to make the animal trot in every case, unless the lameness is so marked, or progression causes so much pain, that the faster pace can be dispensed with.
But even when the horse is at rest the existence of lameness may in some cases be suspected from the attitude of the animal and the position of the limb or limbs. One or more of these, if pain is present in them, may be placed forward, backward or outward, and they may be extended or flexed. Indeed, to those who understand the anatomy of the limbs and the physiology of movement, the attitude of the horse and the position of the legs when at rest are in many cases of great diagnostic value. For it is to be observed that a limb in which there is pain is "rested"—that is, relieved from the animal's weight—as much as possible, and the manner in which this relief is effected is an indication not only as to the limb involved, but also, in numerous instances, of the seat of pain or infirmity.
For example, when a horse is experiencing pain in a fore or hind foot, the limb is usually extended forward. If it is in the back part of the fore foot, this " pointing," as it is termed, will be accompanied by raising of the heels from the ground, the symptom so characteristic in cases of corn and navicular diseases ; but if the pain is in the front part of the foot, then the heels are placed on the ground more firmly than usual and the toe is relieved as much as possible, this attitude being very characteristic of laminitis. Lameness from injury or disease in the knee or its vicinity is generally marked by the horse standing with that joint bent forward, but when the elbow is the cause of lameness the knees will also be bent in the same direction, but the fore arm is carried forward and the foot backward. When the shoulder is the seat of pain the knee and foot are generally in the same position as in elbow lameness, but the entire limb droops in a very significant manner.
When the pain in a limb is severe, there is frequent, it not incessant movement of it ; it is continually being raised from and gently placed on the ground, and if it be a fore limb the litter may be pawed back by it, while the animal's countenance and other signs will betray the agony experienced. Should the lameness be in a hind limb, there are similar indications of great value, and here "knuckling over" of the fetlock is more marked in many of the lamenesses of the hind than of the fore leg. In the majority of these cases the lame leg is advanced, and especially if the pain is below the hock; if the foot is rested on the toe, it generally indicates pain in the back part of the limb, tendons, ligaments or heels, while a bent hock is usually seen in disease or injury of that joint. Pain in the hip is manifested by an apparent shortening and resting of the entire limb ; stifle trouble is indicated by a peculiar straightening of the leg, which can be drawn backward, but cannot so readily be carried forward. When the pain is in both hind feet, the attitude is very noteworthy; these are brought forward under the body, and they are lifted alternately in an evidently uncomfortable manner, the movement being often accompanied by groaning, hurried breathing, perspiration, and other signs of suffering, while the fore legs are carried back in order to sustain a greater share of weight-bearing. In some cases of this description it has been observed that the pain in the hind feet prevents urination being properly performed. The animal cannot extend itself as it must do in that act, though it may raise the tail and make efforts to carry the hind legs back, but the horse quickly resumes its former attitude with a groan, and agonisingly raises the feet in a spasmodic manner. This inability to extend has not infrequently led the attendants to imagine that the urinary organs were at fault.
The position the lame horse assumes when stationary is that in which the infirm or injured parts find most relief, and this indication is of the greatest service in arriving at a knowledge of the cause when the cripple limb has been detected. Sometimes it is necessary slightly to move, or attempt to move, the horse in order to accentuate the evidence as to the degree and nature of the ailment. In laminitis, for instance, though the attitude is very striking and characteristic when the animal is not disturbed, it is more particularly significant when an attempt is made to make him move a step backward or forward. If the inflammation is at all severe, it is almost impossible to compel the horse to lift the feet from the ground ; the body may sway to and fro, but the feet remain fixed as if rooted in the earth, the weight being thrown altogether on the heels, where the inflammation is not so severe.
It is the same with some other forms of lameness, the attitude in the stable often furnishing a valuable guide in ascertaining the leg that is at fault, and even the nature of the damage. It is therefore very necessary to see the horse when at rest in the stable, and the attitude should be observed for a few minutes, and the horse then moved backward and forward, as well as sideways in the stall. For it is to be remarked that horses affected with certain infirmities of the limbs will exhibit symptoms of lameness in the stable which they quickly lose when exercised out of doors ; but when they return and stand still again for a short time, they limp even more than before. Of course the converse is also true of other kinds of lameness, which may appear to be absent when the horse is in the stable, but become very apparent during movement.
An examination of the limb by eye and hand after movement will in all probability confirm and complete the information acquired by observing the horse during progression. It must be stated, however, that a know-ledge of the anatomy of the limbs is of great value in the diagnosis of lameness. It is always advisable to have slight cases of lameness, about which there is any doubt, tested at a trot upon hard ground ; a horse which will then show inequality in movement may go apparently sound on a soft surface.
A lame horse in walking or trotting always endeavours to avoid increasing the pain by throwing as little weight as possible on the affected limb. Therefore, if a fore leg is amiss, when the foot comes to the ground the head is thrown upwards ; if it be a hind leg, the quarter of that side is raised when the weight falls on it. It is wrong to say that a horse " drops " on the lame leg. Lamenesses are hest detected when standing behind or before the animals' in motion ; in front of them if the fore limbs are to be observed, behind them if the hind ones are to be scrutinised. Then, having ascertained the lame leg, careful observation of the manner in which the leg is moved, the observer standing on that side, will give an idea as to the region where the cause of lameness is located, and a manual examination will generally complete the diagnosis.
We will now briefly take notice of the accidents and diseases which occasion lameness, in addition to those already mentioned incidentally when dealing with wounds and fractures.
Splints are sometimes a cause of lameness, though not so often as is supposed. They are usually looked for on the front limbs (they are very rarely seen on the hind), between the knee and the fetlock and on the inner side of the leg, so that in standing in front of a horse, if a splint is present and of a considerable size, it is at once evident. In exceptional cases, chiefly those in which there is malposition of the limb—the elbow inclining inwards and the toe of the hoof outwards—the splint is observed on the outside of the leg. Splint is really a bony tumour, nearly always formed between the shank bone and the small bone attached to it on the outside and inside—the so-called "splint bone "—which generally unites them immovably together, whereas in early life these bones are only held together by a kind of ligamentous substance. When the horse is worked on hard ground and shod with iron shoes, and especially if he carries weight on his back, the splint bone, from its position on the inner side of the leg and closer relation.ship to the knee bones, has to bear a larger share of the weight and concussion than the outer one. The ligamentous connection with the shank bone is strained, inflammation is set up in this, and in the end bony matter is thrown out between the two bones, and often to a considerable amount on the shank bone in addition, constituting the tumour. People possessed of the evolution craze have attempted to explain this pathological process as a natural tendency towards unification of the three bones —quite a normal transition. But it is forgotten that splint usually appears only on one side of the limb—that which is most under the body, and therefore has to sustain most weight; that it occurs, it might be said, always on the fore limbs—those which sustain most weight—and is indeed exceedingly rare on the hind limbs; and that every horse does not have splints, those which are unshod and employed on soft ground rarely having them.
When the inflammation is only slight it causes little lameness, but in proportion to its severity the movement of the limb is impaired and the lameness increased. At first there may be no perceptible enlargement to account for the great lameness, but generally, in a short time, a gradually increasing and rather hard swelling is perceived, and this is hot and painful on manipulation. These signs, and the fact that young horses are most liable to splints, as well as the knowledge that the lameness is least noticeable at a walking pace and most marked in trotting, especially on hard ground, and that it increases in intensity as movement is continued, are distinctive. The severity of the lameness nearly always depends upon the situation, not so much on the size of the tumour, and upon the extent of hone implicated. When once fully formed, if the tumour does not interfere with the move-ment of the knee or with ligaments or tendons, the lameness disappears and there is no further trouble. But in exceptional cases splints are a source of inconvenience, even if they do not cause pain and interfere with the horse's action.
The treatment for splint must largely depend upon whether it causes lameness, and also whether, from its size, it is likely to prove an eyesore. If it is small and does not make the horse lame, there is little need to meddle with it ; and if it is recent, all that requires to be done is to take off the shoes and allow exercise on soft ground, keeping the animal standing while in the stable on soft bedding, such as moss litter. If the lameness is very marked and it is desired to check the inflammation, thereby preventing the tumour from growing, acetate of lead lotion applied to the part by means of two or three folds of lint tied round it and kept constantly moist, will prepare the inflamed part for the application of a blister. After a few days of the lead lotion, a small portion of biniodide of mercury ointment should be rubbed into the skin of the affected part ; the blister may be repeated two or three times, at intervals of about a week. This is as much as the amateur can venture to do, for though in extreme cases it maybe advisable to cut into the swelling and so divide the dense membrane covering it, thereby relieving the tension, yet the operation is almost too delicate for an unskilled person.
An inflammation of the shank or cannon bones of the fore legs, rarely the hind ones, similar to that of splints, and also occurring in young horses, especially those in hard training for racing, has not unfrequently to be combated energetically if chronic lameness and deformity are to be avoided. This condition, commonly known as "sore shins," is usually ascribed to the concussion and strain to which the immature tissues of the limbs are subjected. It is generally witnessed in two or three year old race horses, mostly the former, and, unlike splints, the inflammation occurs on the front of the bones, nearly always towards the middle or the lower end of the shank. The symptoms are at first slight lameness and hesitation in extending the limbs when moving on hard ground; then the action becomes that of a cripple, and walking even induces pain. If galloping is continued when this stage has been reached, serious consequences will ensue. A very perceptible swelling appears on the front of the leg, as if the animal had received a blow there, and this is hot and very painful on pressure, while the attitude betrays uneasiness and suffering ; this is still more indicated by constitutional disturbance, such as diminished appetite, fever, dejected countenance, &c. In extreme cases, when treatment has not been undertaken in time, these symptoms increase in intensity, the swelling will increase and, if not relieved by lancing, the bone involved may perish, the soft textures slough, and the patient eventually die. In many of those animals which recover, the bone remains enlarged where it was inflamed, and gives- the limb a more or less deformed appearance.
In the early stage a speedy cure can generally be effected by appropriate treatment. The training should be suspended for a few days, and the animal allowed rest. The leg should be enveloped in lint covered by a calico bandage, and this must be kept constantly wet by lead lotion, with which has been mixed a little laudanum to lessen the pain. After two days, when the inflammation has been somewhat subdued, the part may be painted over with compound tincture of iodine, repeated every second or third day until the skin is slightly blistered ; or, if the swelling is more considerable, the application of biniodide of mercury ointment instead will act more promptly and effectively as a blister. The diet should be soft food. If the case has been neglected and the swelling is great, deep scarification or incision will be necessary to relieve the pain and preserving the bone from serious alteration, but this had better be done by an expert. Such cases require a long rest and exercising gently on soft ground before training can be recommenced, and this should only he gradual.
Ringbone is an analogous condition to splint and sore shins, though it is, with regard to its consequences, a more serious cause of lameness than these. It is due to inflammation on the surface of the large or small pastern bones, and though it may appear on either hind or front pasterns, the former are probably most frequently the seat of it ; exceedingly rarely the foot bone is affected, the membrane covering it—periosteum—being mainly involved. There is swelling, considerable lameness, and pain on pressure of the enlargement, which may be on any part of the bones, but is generally on the front or sides. The lameness is likely to remain permanently after the inflammation subsides, as the deposit of bone that almost inevitably results is immediately beneath the expansion of tendons and ligaments, and interferes with them. Sometimes the enlargement is so considerable as to catch the eye at once, while in other cases it requires a nice sense of touch to detect it. The horse has a tendency to travel more on the heels of the affected limb than is customary, and there is not much difference in the degree of lameness on soft or hard ground. In the treatment, the animal must be rested as much as possible, cold applications being continuously made to the inflamed part, after which there should be repeated blistering with biniodide of mercury ointment; in bad cases it may be necessary to have recourse to the actual cautery.
Spavin, the name commonly given to a diseased condition of the hock, is frequent in horses, and is generally marked by the presence of a bony tumour on the inner side of the front of that joint. It is due to much the same cause as splint and ringbone, the predisposition to it being a hock defective in shape. There is nearly always lameness, but the degree of this will depend not only upon the size of the tumour, but also upon the manner in which the implicated bones are affected ; the lameness is nearly always permanent, and the horse usually travels more on the toe of the affected limb than when there is no spavin. When the disease is commencing, in order to ensure a rapid and satisfactory cure the joint should be relieved from weight and movement as much as may be possible, and this is best obtained by placing the animal in a sling and blistering the inside of the hock repeatedly, the stall being laid with moss litter. A long rest must be allowed, and, when the horse is putto work, this should at first be light. When spavin is very pronounced, so that the horse goes lame and treatment is of no avail, he can be much relieved in travelling by raising the heels of the shoe.
Lameness from navicular disease is less frequent, perhaps, than it was half a century ago, thanks to a better knowledge of the horse's foot and how it should be managed, especially in the matter of shoeing. The causes of this troublesome malady are somewhat numerous. It may appear suddenly or gradually—suddenly when it is the effect of an accident, such as sprain of the perforans tendon where it passes over the navicular' bone; or gradually when due to mismanagement of the fore feet, in which alone it is seen. The symptoms are resting the affected foot when the horse is at rest, which is done by advancing the foot and raising the heel, and "pointing," as in this way the tendon is relieved from strain. The step is short and the toe comes sooner to the ground than the heel, hence the toe of the shoe is most worn ; the temperature of the affected foot is increased, and in the stable the litter is often pawed away from before and raised behind the foot to give it a better resting place. Little can be done to cure the disease, though certain measures may palliate it and keep the horse serviceable. The foot should be kept cool, the toe of the hoof shortened as much as can be done with safety, and the frog allowed to come into con-tact with the ground, or, if this cannot be contrived, an artificial frog of india-rubber may he placed over it.
Lameness from congestion of the lamina of the feet is not infrequently a result of over-exertion in travelling, especially on hard ground in warm weather ; it may also come from long continued standing in the stable or on board ship, and in some cases it may be a sequel of disease. There is intense lameness, and the horse can scarcely move the fore feet, which usually suffer most. The tendency is to rest on the heels. The temperature of the feet is increased and there may be fever present, with impaired appetite. Gentle exercise and cold applications to the hoofs will frequently dispel the symptoms in a short time. It is judicious treatment, after a long or a fast journey in the saddle during hot weather, to walk the horse about for some time after the rider has dismounted, so as to allow the circulation in the lamina to acquire its normal condition.
Laminitis is the stage beyond congestion of the lamina, and is much more serious, for here we have inflammation of these delicate and highly sensitive structures. The pain is much more intense, and movement is more distressing ; there is fever and loss of appetite ; the pastern arteries throb, and the agony is so intense that the body is often covered with perspiration. If the horse is standing, he will not attempt to lie down, and if recumbent he makes no effort to get up, but lies and groans, with the fore limbs thrust out in front of him. If the horse is standing, he must be put in a sling or compelled to lie down, so that the feet may be relieved by taking the weight off them ; then cold water swabs must be wrapped round them, or cold bran poultices applied. Morphia should be injected under the skin to diminish the pain, and the diet most be laxative and sparingly given until the inflammation subsides. Then gentle exercise in a loose-box or on soft ground may be permitted for a short time, and gradually increased until all danger of a relapse has disappeared.
It should he noted that in all cases of disease or accident in which the animal is compelled to lie for some days on the hard ground, or on hard litter such as wheat straw, there is danger of severe bruises to the prominent parts of the body, and these "bed-sores" have some-times worse results than the disease or accident itself. To prevent or retard their appearance, the horse should rest on a thick bed of some soft material, such as dried moss, moss litter, or old but dry oat straw which has already served as bedding.
Corns are often a cause of lameness, especially when shoeing is not carefully attended to. What is termed a " corn " in a horse's foot is really a bruise of the sensitive sole, this bruise being the result of undue pressure, usually made by the shoe. The ordinary situation of the bruise is the angle formed by the wall and bar of the inside heel of the fore foot ; corns may be said to be unknown in the hind feet. In some cases the lameness is considerable, and the bruise may run on to suppuration if neglected. The signs are those which are induced by pain in the back part of the foot, and tapping with a hammer upon the wall of the hoof in that situation will at once reveal the cause. Removal of the shoe is necessary, and paring away some of the horn at the bruised part—which will be bloodstained—is also required in order to discover the extent of the injury. If this is slight, nothing more may be necessary than lowering the wall at the heel so that it will not touch the shoe when this is nailed on, and, still further to ensure this, it is advisable to leave out the nail nearest the damaged heel. When the bruise is more severe, the pain and inflammation will be lessened by immersing the foot in a bucket of warm water for an hour, or in a poultice for twelve hours. After this the shoe is to be put on and the bruised part smeared with Stockholm tar, care being taken that the shoe does not touch the heel when the horse's weight is on it.
In some cases of chronic corn much benefit is derived from the horse wearing a shoe with the part chopped off that would rest on the bruised heel.
Thrush is an unhealthy condition of the horny frog, brought about by the shoer paring it, by standing on foul litter, or by the frog not coming into contact with the ground, and sometimes it is an accompaniment of navicular disease. The horn is softened and ragged, and usually there is a very offensive discharge from the cleft in the middle of the frog. The treatment is simple. Clean out the frog well, remove all shreds of horn, dress the cleft and other parts with calomel, covering this by pledgets of fine tow pushed firmly into the recesses, and keep the horse on dry clean litter. In a day or two remove the tow and insert other pledgets smeared with Stockholm tar. After a few of these dressings the morbid condition disappears.
Sandcrack is not very common among light horses, but it is occasionally met with, and when it is suddenly produced generally causes severe lameness. It is a vertical split in the wall of the hoof extending, when it causes lameness, to the sensitive tissue within, from which blood sometimes escapes. In the fore foot the split is generally on the inside, rarely at the toe or outside ; in the hind foot it is nearly always in front. It is usually produced during severe exertion, as when jumping, and commences at the top of the wall of the hoof. When the lameness is considerable, the foot should he kept in a bucket of warm water to soften the horn and reduce the pain. This may have to be frequently repeated. When the lameness has gone, and if the horn is sufficiently thick, a fine horse-shoe nail may be driven through the edge of the crack and the ends brought together by pliers so as to form a clamp to hold the sides of the fissure together ; or the hoof may be firmly bound round with many strands of fine tar twine. A little Stockholm tar may be rubbed into the coronet, above the crack, in order to stimulate the growth of sound strong horn. The shoe should not be allowed to rest on the part of the hoof corresponding to the crack. " Seedy-toe," another disease of the foot, is sometimes accompanied by lameness. It is a separation between the wall of the hoof and the horny laminae on its inner surface, and this separation may be only to a very limited extent, or it may involve a large portion of the wall, and extend from the lower border to near the coronet. There is little or nothing to denote its existence until the shoe is taken off, when the cavity is readily seen. This contains some loose crumbling horn, to which the disease probably owes its name. The cause is usually severe pressure on the wall of the hoof, produced by the shoer driving the clip of the shoe too close against it, and, as the clip is in front of the fore shoe, so we find the separation there. The hind feet are largely exempt from this defect. To make a radical cure, it is the best course to take away all the separated wall as far as the soundhoof, carefully removing all the discoloured horn beneath and cutting out all cracks and fissures in it. The gap left in the hoof can be filled up with gutta percha or covered with pitch. The shoe must not have a clip at the toe, but one on each side if necessary ; the coronet should he stimulated to increased secretion by rubbing a little Stockholm tar into it at intervals of a few days.
The secretion of hoof horn is sometimes so very defective in quantity and quality that the shoer has great difficulty in -attaching the shoes. This may arise from mismanagement of the feet, and especially to the mutilation the hoofs undergo when being shod, such as over paring the sole and frog and rasping the front of the wall, or rubbing oil and certain compositions on this part ; or it may be due to natural weakness. The face of the wall should not he rasped, and the sole and frog never ought to have more than the loose portions removed from them, while nothing but water should be applied to the wall by means of a sponge. To promote a healthy secretion of hoof wall, the coronet should have an application of Stockholm tar at intervals of a few days.
Sprains—Muscles, tendons, and ligaments are all liable to sprain, those of the limbs of the horse—especially the fore ones—being particularly exposed to damage done by sudden and severe extension. In fast galloping and in jumping such accidents are most common, and in many cases the results are extremely serious, so far as the future soundness and usefulness of the horse are concerned. Sprain of tendons and ligaments is more frequent than that of muscles ; the position of some of these, their function, and their texture, predispose to this accident, as do faulty conformation and weakness of structure, owing to lack of tone. The injury maybe merely over-extension of the fibres, or these may be ruptured ; the number involved may be very many, or only a comparatively small number. Sprain of muscle is indicated by lameness or stiffness, with pain on pressure, and sometimes swelling. The muscles of the limbs, especially those of the shoulder and hip, suffer most frequently from this injury. Fomentations with warm water and rest will be found the best treatment. It may be necessary in some cases to put the horse in a sling in order to secure rest.
It must be remarked that in the case of sprains of all kinds, as indeed in the matter of lameness generally, rest is an indispensable requisite in treatment, and nothing can be more injurious than to compel horses to take exercise until lameness has disappeared ; as not only does this, in the majority of instances, cause, a relapse, but it often converts a curable case into an incurable one, or an acute case into a chronic one. It is not at all unusual to hear of lame horses being turned out to exercise or to graze in order that they may become sound. Of course, when the limbs are injured it is most difficult, if not impossible, to secure that absolute rest which can so readily be obtained in man, hut everything should he done to make it as perfect as circumstances will permit.
Sprains of the shoulder and hip-joints, as well as of the muscles and ligaments in their vicinity, are not so frequent as of the tendons and ligaments below these, and are indicated by inability to extend the limb, and pain on manipulation. Fomentations with warm water, rest; and the application of a blister over the part if the lameness does not subside in the course of a few weeks, are the measures to be adopted.
Sprain of the loins occurs in jumping, backing, pulling up suddenly in a fast pace, over-exertion in draught, getting cast in the stall, &c. If the horse can move, there is generally much difficulty in bringing the hind legs forward, with stiffness in the back—and especially in turning round—a straddling gait, in which the hind quarters sway more or less from side to side. If the horse lies down, he is often unable to rise without assistance, and not unfrequently he cannot extend himself to micturate; there is nearly always pain on pressure over the loins. In severe cases, the horse is clown and cannot get up, though the hind legs are warm and can be moved about, and sensation in them is perfect. This will differentiate sprain of the loins from broken hack. Warm water fomentations to this part for several hours a day, with rubbing in of stimulating liniment in the intervals, sloppy diet, and slinging are about all that can be done by the amateur.
Sprains of the knee and hock are to be treated by fomentations with warm water, succeeded after a few days by lead lotion or tincture of arnica, applied by means of swabs round the joint. A frequent cause of lameness, especially in light horses, is a sprain of an important ligament at the back of the hock, producing a convex swelling more or less marked, and known as "curb." Sudden severe exertion, such as jumping, bucking, the hind legs slipping forwards, &c., are the immediate exciting causes, but in very many instances the defective shape of the hock predisposes to the sprain. At first, in many cases, there may be considerable lameness with swelling of the part ; in other cases the lameness is not very perceptible, though the curb may be distinctly observed. Even when the lameness does pass off, it is rare indeed for the swelling to subside. The treatment is limited to wrapping round the part fine tow or lint, and applying a bandage firmly over this, pouring in at the top, and frequently, tincture of arnica lotion, or one composed of sal ammoniac and nitre in the proportion of two ounces of each to a pint of water. The horse should be kept tied up in a stall. When the inflammation and lameness have subsided, the swelling should be frequently painted over with tincture of iodine or, better, a small portion of biniodide of mercury ointment may be rubbed in at intervals of a week. This may be continued when the horse is at work.
In speaking of curb, mention may here be made of what is called "capped hock," which is usually due to contusion, but may in some instances arise from sprain ; in the latter the swelling is on each side of the joint of the hock, in the former it is immediately on this part, and projecting backward. Unless the injury or sprain is very severe, the lameness at first is but slightly, if at all, noticeable, though there may be swelling, heat, and pain. If this is the case, a cooling lotion should be applied—such as an ounce each of arnica and Goulard's extract in a pint of water, and by means of lint maintained by a bandage ; if the lameness is marked, a high-heeled shoe will relieve it. In the course of a few days a stimulant may be used on the part, such as the tincture of iodine or the biniodide of mercury ointment. If the enlargement becomes chronic it is most difficult to reduce it. It has been recommended to plaster it over, while the horse is in the stable, with pipeclay or whiting mixed into a paste with vinegar, and this is to be rubbed off when the animal goes out to work.
Sprain of the back tendons occurs in either the fore or hind limbs, and is due to a sudden and severe effort. These tendons are below and behind the knee and hock, and are two in number, one in front of the other—the posterior is the flexor of the pastern, the other, in front of it, is the flexor of the foot. It is rare that both are sprained, the one in front being most frequently involved in the accident, when the swelling is most marked at the inside and outside. If the posterior one is sprained, the swelling is noticeable immediately behind, and forms a convexity. There is swelling, heat, and pain on handling the part, and lameness commensurate with the degree of injury. The limb at the seat of sprain should be thickly enveloped in tow, cotton wool, or lint, and bandaged firmly, then the arnica and Goulard's extract is poured in between the padding and the skin, which is to be kept continually moist with it. Or, if the weather is not cold, water may be applied by means of a hose from the water tap. A high-heeled shoe should be put on the foot if the horse is afraid to place his weight on the limb; indeed, in all cases this kind of shoe expedites recovery, but it should not be kept on longer than a fortnight. Instead of employing the lotion or cold water, it has been recommended to pad the sprained part firmly by first wrapping a moderately tight bandage round it, then on top of this at each side, a thick pledget of cotton wool evenly laid on, and another long bandage tightly wound over all. The bandages must be removed morning and evening andre-applied, the leg being gently rubbed each time they are taken off, and bent up and down. When the pain and lameness have disappeared, and thickening of the tendon remains, it will be advisable to blister it, perhaps repeatedly, with biniodide of mercury or cantharides ointment. Sprain of the check ligament below the knee, or of the suspensory ligament, is indicated by similar symptoms to sprain of the back tendon, the horse manifesting signs of pain on pressure of these parts. The treatment must be the same as first indicated, though it has usually to be longer continued.
Diseases—Only a few of the many diseases the horse is liable to can 'be noticed here, and these must be those which the amateur can deal with, or at any rate palliate, until the arrival of the veterinary surgeon.
Congestion of the Lungs—None of the domesticated animals is more liable to congestion of the lungs than the horse. This is doubtless due in some degree to his anatomical structure, but more to the nature of his work and the management to which he is subjected, and also in many cases to the nature of his surroundings. Congestion of the lungs may be an accompaniment or sequel of other diseases, or occur by itself, when it usually appears in the acute form, or "pulmonary apoplexy," as it is termed. This may be induced by sudden severe exertion when the horse is not in condition, or it may be brought on by long continued severe work when not in good training--as in the hunting field; it may also be caused by exposure to cold, and especially to cold winds and wet. The symptoms are very marked ; the breathing is extremely hurried and laboured, the nostrils are widely dilated, the head is carried low, and the countenance is anxious and haggard; the body is often covered with cold perspiration, the legs are stretched out and are cold—the flanks heave tumultuously, there is tremor of the muscles, and, if the congestion has been induced by over-exertion, the heart can be heard beating violently. When the congestion is extreme, in many cases blood flows from the nostrils, and if this is foamy it is an indication that the blood is effused into the lungs. If not speedily relieved the horse will succumb to suffocation ; so that treatment must be prompt. The horse should not be moved or disturbed, if possible, and, if he is wearing harness, this ought to he removed. An abundance of fresh air must be allowed ; if the horse is in the field his face must be turned to the wind, and if in the stable his head ought to be brought to the door ; the legs and body are to be well rubbed and clothed; before the limbs are bandaged they may be rubbed with stimulating liniment. Brandy or whiskey should be given in large doses (four to six ounces) and frequently at first—say every two hours for two or three doses, in a pint or two of water, warm if possible, or in oatmeal gruel. Tincture of arnica in doses of one or two ounces has been recommended. If there is thirst, tepid water or warm oatmeal gruel can be given. In very urgent cases the horse's life may be saved by abstracting a quantity of blood—from four to six quarts—from the jugular vein, but this operation requires some skill. When the animal is able to eat, the diet for some days should be restricted and of a kind that is readily digested; quietness is necessary, and the body and legs must be kept warm.
Inflammation of the Lungs—This is often a sequel of congestion of the lungs, though it may also follow catarrh, bronchitis, &c., or occur spontaneously. It differs to symptoms from congestion by the presence of fever—otherwise the symptoms, if perhaps less urgent at first, are somewhat similar. The horse is dull and prostrate, though he may wander about the loose box, but seldom lies down. The surface of the body and the legs are often cold, though the mouth is hot and dry, and the lining membrane of the eyes and nostrils is of a dark red colour ; a short painful cough is emitted from time to time, and when the disease is advanced there is not unfrequently a rusty coloured discharge from the nostrils. In some cases the inflammation is complicated with pleurisy.
With regard to treatment, this is somewhat the same as for congestion, so far as keeping the body warm, fresh air, and diet are concerned. Every four hours there should be given, in a quart of thin gruel or tepid water, tincture of aconite six minims, nitric ether one ounce, solution of acetate of ammonia four ounces. But, if there is much weakness, for this draught may be substituted six ounces of brandy or whiskey three or four times a day. The food is often refused, so it should be made as enticing as possible ; it may consist of sloppy mashes of bran or boiled linseed, with oatmeal gruel, a small quantity of picked hay, green forage, and sliced carrots, &c. Cold or tepid water is to be given to drink, with an ounce of nitrate of potass dissolved in a bucket of it. Litter should be thinly spread on the floor of the stall or box, so that it may not get entangled among the feet, and great attention should be paid to the admission of fresh air without draughts. 'When recovery has begun and only debility remains, a more generous diet can safely' be allowed, and with it a tonic—such as finely powdered sulphate of iron in one or two drachm doses daily, mixed up in a little mash, morning and evening.
Bronchitis—This is an inflammation of the membrane lining the air-passages entering the lungs, and is usually due to colds. It nearly always begins with shivering and dulness, and some degree of fever, as well as loud, hard, and very frequent cough, accompanied by quicker breathing than in health. A discharge from the nostrils is generally present. The cough increases in frequency and severity, and causes exhaustion and loss of appetite ; consequently debility soon sets in, and death not infrequently ensues from the air cells of the lungs becoming filled up with effusion. When the fever gradually subsides and the cough, becomes softer and less frequent, the discharge from the nostrils ceasing and the appetite returning, amendment is taking place. When bronchitis occurs in cold weather, which is usually the case, the horse should be kept in a well-ventilated loose box, the body well clothed, and the legs enveloped in woollen bandages after being firmly hand rubbed. The throat should be well rubbed with stimulating liniment—such as compound camphor liniment, which may also be applied to the sides of the chest ; or a woollen blanket may be wrapped round the chest, and hot water poured on the outside of it for an hour or two at a time, after which the blanket is to be taken off, the skin well dried, and the liniment rubbed into it. The horse should also be made to inhale the vapour of hot water from a bucket on which some hay has been spread; into this water a quantity of oil of turpentine or carbolic acid may be poured. A draught composed of camphor one drachm, solution of acetate of ammonia two ounces, and nitric ether one ounce, all mixed up in a pint of tepid water, should be given two or three times a day. The diet to be as for inflammation of the lungs.
Colds—Catarrh is very common among horses kept in hot, badly-ventilated stables, or exposed to variable weather, especially cold and wet. An attack usually begins with sneezing and slight fever, perhaps shivering ; the legs are also cold, and the horse is dull and listless. Then cough becomes frequent, there is discharge from the eyes and nostrils, and soreness of throat is shown by more or less difficulty in swallowing, and swelling of the glands about the jaws. The breathing is but little disturbed, and the horse gets up and lies down. With judicious treatment of a simple kind the symptoms subside in a week or ten days, and complete restoration to health is generally the result. Good nursing is nearly all that is required in the way of treatment. A comfortable, well aired stable, clothing for the body and legs, sloppy mashes, with carrots, a little good hay, and water into which small quantities of nitre have been introduced, are about all that is needed until convalescence sets in. If the cough is troublesome, the upper part of the throat may be rubbed with camphor liniment, and the head held over the vapour of hot water in a bucket, to which oil of turpentine has been added.
Exhaustion—When this is due to over-exertion of any kind—as in the hunting field—the symptoms are not unlike those of acute congestion of the lungs. While going, the horse becomes unsteady in his pace and soon begins tostagger ; the breathing is hurried and distressed and often accompanied by sighing, the eyes show extreme anxiety, the ears and tail are drooping, the body is covered with cold perspiration, and the head is carried low and heavily. If the pace is continued, the horse will quickly fall and lie in a semi-comatose state until he slowly rallies, if he does not speedily die. No horseman would knowingly or willingly push his horse to this dangerous stage of exhaustion, and there must be few indeed who could not perceive when it was being approached and take action accordingly. The horse must be relieved from saddle, bridle or other harness, and allowed to stand at liberty with his face to the wind. If brandy or other spirit is at hand, six ounces in water should be carefully poured down his throat, if he can swallow it all at once ; If not, then it must be given by one or two mouthfuls at a time. When he has somewhat rallied, a little cold water or some tepid gruel may be offered him, and then his legs and body can be well rubbed.
Fits and Fainting—Horses are sometimes attacked with epilepsy, usually while at work, and as the attack is sudden and generally without warning, it is not without its inconveniences and dangers if the animal is being ridden or driven. Harness horses appear to be most liable to these attacks, though they are sometimes witnessed in riding horses. In some cases the attack is begun by a few rapid shakes of the head, then the horse staggers, may give a slight scream, and, running forward, falls unconscious. The limbs and lips are moved convulsively, the jaws are champed, and the eyes rotate in their sockets. After lying for a short time, consciousness is regained, though the horse may be unable to rise immediately. He looks stupefied, bewildered, depressed, and is an hour or two before he resumes his normal condition. But little can be done in such cases in the way of treatment with any prospect of cure. When the premonitory symptoms —such as shaking of the head—are observed, the horse ought to be pulled up and held by the head to prevent his falling, and this timely succour may avert the more severe phases of the attack. Should he fall, efforts must be made to prevent him doing damage to himself- by keeping his head down and throwing a rope or rein round his legs. Two or three ounces of alcohol in water will be beneficial when the attack has passed off.
Horses sometimes, though rarely, faint. They fall to the ground suddenly and are unconscious, but they lie perfectly still and do not struggle as in epilepsy. The girths and throat strap should be loosened, and, if the horse is wearing a collar, this ought to be shifted up the neck. Cold water maybe applied to the head and passed into the mouth by means of a sponge or handkerchief; when the horse can drink, water should be offered, and a dose of alcohol—four to six ounces—administered in a quart of water or gruel.
Sunstroke or Heat Apoplexy—Horses soon experience exhaustion when undergoing exertion in a high, moist temperature, and especially in the direct rays of the sun. Even when away from the sun's rays and standing quiet, great exhaustion, and even death, may occur in a very hot climate.
The animal suddenly becomes distressed, breathes heavily and quickly, ceases to travel or to notice surroundings, and, if not urged on, lies down, when he may become more or less unconscious, struggle with his fore limbs and make attempts to rise, or he may remain quite tranquil. In a severe case, the temperature of the body is increased and the breathing more rapid, and the muscles are in a state of tremor, with perspiration covering the skin. In these cases death often ensues in a few hours. Treatment, to be of any avail, must be prompt. If the horse is out of doors and there is any shade procurable, he ought to be moved to it, and all equipment removed from him ; cold water should be dashed over his head and body, and the air agitated above him by means of a waving blanket, board, or sheet ; hand-rub the legs. If there is struggling, the leg should be tied, and when the horse is able to swallow, a dose of alcohol and water may be given. Careful dieting must be observed for a few days after recovery, and the horse should not be exposed to a high temperature until he is well and strong. Colic—Colic is not an infrequent disease where stable management, and especially feeding and watering, are not properly attended to. Bad or. improper food, giving water immediately after grain, exposure to cold draughts of air, particularly on the legs, drinking a large quantity of water during cold weather, or at any time if the horse is exhausted, are the chief causes of colic. The symptoms are well marked. The horse is very restless and violent in his movements; he strikes at his belly with the hind feet, stamps and paws, often throws himself down and rolls and looks back at his flank. There are lulls in these manifestations, during which the horse appears to be nothing amiss and may commence to eat, until another attack comes on. If the pain is due to spasm of the bowels, the abdomen is not altered in dimensions, but if flatulence is the cause—and this is generally the case in crib-biters and wind-suckers—then it will be much distended. As spasmodic colic is the most painful form, the horse is more violent during the paroxysms, but these are longer continued in flatulent colic, and the horse lies down more carefully. Colic is usually readily and speedily amenable to treatment. The horse most be pre-vented from throwing himself down, and four to six ounces of whiskey or brandy administered in a quart of warm water, or, better still, if at hand, two or three ounces of laudanum ; much benefit is also conferred by rubbing the surface of the abdomen firmly with wisps of hay or straw, or fomenting it with hot water. It is generally advisable to give a dose of purgative medicine—such as from four to six drachms of aloes dissolved in a pint of warm water ; and an enema of warm water will aid in relieving the intestines. In flatulent colic, the addition of an ounce each of ammonia and oil of turpentine to the laudanum will be most useful.
Inflammation of the Bowels—This most painful and rapidly fatal disease may be ascribed to several causes, among them being colic, poisonous substances, exposure to cold, exhaustion, drinking much cold water when fatigued, &c. The earlier symptoms are those of colic, though to the expert there appear others which differentiate it from that disease ; the horse lies down with greater care, the pain is continuous, and its severity is indicated by the animal's expression; the pulse and respiration are hurried, groaning is frequent, and the skin is wet with perspiration. All these symptoms become aggravated, and if not soon relieved the horse dies. To assuage the pain, large doses of opium powder mixed in tepid water—beginning with one drachm and followed at short intervals by half-drachm doses—should be ad-ministered ; blankets steeped in hot water most be applied to the abdomen for an hour at a time, stimulating liniment being used in the intervals. Enemas of warm water may be administered twice for thrice, but in small quantity. For this disease the veterinary surgeon should be sent for as soon as possible.
Rheumatism—Some horses are very subject to attacks of rheumatism about the joints, sheaths of tendons, muscles, &c., and they may be acute or chronic. Exposure to cold winds and wet weather will induce them, and they sometimes accompany such diseases as influenza. In the acute cases there is often a considerable degree of fever, and the disease localises itself in one or more parts of the body, e.g, in the stifle, hock, knee, sheaths of tendons ; there is generally swelling and great lameness, with pain on handling the parts, and sometimes the disease will suddenly leave one situation to appear in another. With regard to treatment, the horse must be kept warm and comfortable, fed on sloppy food, and given oat-meal gruel in which bicarbonate of potass in ounce doses has been dissolved. If the fever runs high, salicylate of sodium in two-drachm doses should be given in a pint of water or gruel three times a day. The inflamed parts may be fomented with warm water and bathed with tincture of arnica or laudanum ; when the inflammation is subsiding, they should be frequently rubbed with soap liniment, or one composed of Coutt's acetic acid, whiskey, and oil ofturpentine, two ounces of each, with the white of one egg beaten up in them. The skin should be well brushed, and the liniment then firmly rubbed in.
Surfeit--This term is popularly applied to several affections of the skin, but more especially to one which appears as an eruption of small, hard lumps in different parts of the body, accompanied by itching and symptoms of indigestion. It is usually transient, and disappears in a few days. Care should be taken with regard to the diet, and a mild laxative may be given—such as an ounce of sulphur in a small mash, or a pint of linseed oil ; an ounce of nitrate or carbonate of potass should be given in the drinking water once a day.
Eczema is a term also sometimes applied to surfeit and to some other diseases of the skin, but it is usually employed to describe a condition in which there is an eruption on one or more parts—back, sides, shoulders, neck and root of tail—of minute vesicles or blisters that burst, when scabs or scales form in their place, and the hair falls off. There is considerable itching, which causes the horse to rub or gnaw the affected part. It generally appears in summer, and in some horses recurs year after year. It is not contagious, and is very troublesome to get rid of, as it must be ascribed in the majority of cases to constitutional causes. In treating the affection, attention must be paid to the diet, which ought to be of a laxative kind. Arsenic has been given in three-grain doses in a little mash every morning and continued for some months with advantage, with a mild dose of physic once a week, and the following lotion has been applied to the skin: bicarbonate of soda one ounce, oxide of zinc two ounces, and lime-water eight ounces ; to be thoroughly mixed. For chronic cases, boracic acid ointment, to every ounce of which a few drops of creosote have been added, may be well rubbed into the part night and morning.
Mud Fever—This odd designation has been given to an inflammation of the skin which is usually seen in winter among horses whose limbs or bodies are liable to be spattered with very cold mud or that of an acrid kind. It is most frequently seen in hunters whose stable management is not carefully attended to, and is easily prevented by abstaining from clipping the hair off the legs, and not washing them when the horse returns to his stable, unless they can be thoroughly dried and kept warm. As much as possible of the mud should be removed by a wisp, and when the skin is dry the remainder must be brushed out. If the legs must be washed to free them from dirt, this should be done with cold water in a place sheltered from the wind ; then they ought to be dried, well hand-rubbed, and covered with flannel bandages. When the skin is inflamed and painful, it should be dressed with Goulard's extract of lead, one ounce to the pint of water or to four ounces of olive oil ; oxide of zinc ointment answers the same purpose--as does also a liniment composed of Goulard's extract five ounces, eucalyptus oil and laudanum of each one ounce, and olive oil five ounces ; or another liniment made up of acetate of lead one ounce, olive oil one pint, water one pint, to be well rubbed up together. Either of these may be applied once or twice a day, and continued for some time after the inflammation has gone, if the horse has to go out in cold wet weather. If fever is present, a mild laxative will prove beneficial, as will also half an ounce of bicarbonate of potass in a small mash morning and evening.
Cracked Heels—The skin behind the pasterns is very liable to become inflamed from the sanie causes as produce mud fever, the inflammation in both being erythema ; but in the heels it often runs on to ulceration in the form of cracks or fissures ; consequently there is great pain and lameness, the horse walking on his toes in a very cramped manner. Not only will mud and dirt cause cracked heels in cold weather, but fine, peaty sand will do the same, especially if there is wet. Even washing the heels and not drying them well will often excite inflammation of the skin. Clipping the hair off, no doubt, predisposes to it. To cure the ailment, the skin should be well cleansed, and if there are cracks it will be advantageous to apply a linseed meal or bran poultice to free them from dirt and allay the pain. Afterwards use either of the applications prescribed for mud fever. If the skin is not cracked, the zinc ointment answers well, and if there is a discharge from it, powdered oxide of zinc rubbed gently into it will be beneficial. When cured, it is advisable to smear over the skin with an ointment composed of equal parts of lard and beeswax to protect it from the weather and dirt, for some time.
Warts—These are sometimes, from their situation, troublesome, and often cause inconvenience when they are in the way of the harness. They grow only from the skin, but their mode of growth varies, and this influences the measures to be adopted for their extirpation. Those with a narrow pedicle may be removed by tying a silk thread tightly round that part, or snipping them off by knife or scissors ; others can be pulled off by the thumb and first finger nails, while those with a wide base have to be dealt with by the very careful application of arsenic, after making the surface slightly raw ; sometimes the application of strong acetic acid or a solution of chromic acid will destroy them.
Itching Tail—Some horses are disposed to rub their tail on every opportunity, and to such an extent as to break the hair and even make the skin raw. In some cases this is due to eczema at the root of the tail ; in other cases there may be some irritation underneath, or when nothing can be discovered there may exist a morbid sensation in the skin of the tail which impels the horse to rub it so continuously and energetically.
The cause should be ascertained, and a remedy then applied. If the itching is due to irritation of the skin, one of the dressings recommended for eczema may be tried; if it is owing to small worms about the anus or the rectum, these can be removed by injections of a solution of common salt or an infusion of quassia chips. When the rubbing is persistent, the root of the tail should be covered by a leather or cloth guard fastened to a crupper, and beneath the tail by tapes.
Ringworm—This is an unusual disease among well-kept horses, and is always due to contagion, the spores of the fungus which occasion it being derived directly from affected horses, or through the medium of clothing, brushes, harness, &c., which have been in contact with them. At first there are minute elevations on the skin which can be felt with the finger, and soon the hairs at these spots break, leaving a bare place that extends more or less rapidly, and generally in a circular manner. In this way the whole of the skin will be soon invaded by the parasite, and the horse then presents an unpleasant appearance. There is slight inflammation in some parts of the denuded patches, with a raw surface, but the horses do not seem to suffer much, if any, inconvenience. Pre-cautions must be taken with a view to prevent the disease extending to other horses, and all brushes, combs, &c., should be well washed in a strong solution of chinosol ; blankets should also be steeped in this solution. The horse must be dressed with an effective parasiticide--the best I have found to be chinosol ointment ; it is not only a potent destroyer of the fungus, but, being non-poisonous to the horse, it can be freely applied over the entire body if need be ; it should be well rubbed in, and left on the skin for two or three days before it is washed off.
Mange—This is caused by a minute insect of which there are three kinds, but the most common, and certainly the most troublesome, is the one that infests the whole surface of the body and burrows into the skin. It causes an intense itching from which there is no respite ; consequently the infected horse has not a minute's rest, but rubs and gnaws himself day and night. The hair is shed where the insects burrow, and there are minute raw places that are sometimes covered with crusts. In the course of time, from the incessant irritation, the horse suffers in health and becomes emaciated, while the skin is gathered up in wrinkles and is raw and scaly. As the disease is very contagious and can he communicated even to men, efforts should be made to prevent its extension and to cure it as soon as possible. All implements and clothingmust be thoroughly cleansed, as well as the stall or stable and fittings ; the litter used by the infected horse or horses ought to be put in the manure pit. The horses should be dressed over the entire body with chinosol ointment after they have been well washed with soft soap and warm water and dried ; if the coat is long, it should be clipped off. If the ointment cannot be procured, or is deemed too expensive, the following makes a good and a cheap dressing : powdered sulphur eight ounces, oil of tar one ounce, common oil one quart. These should be well mixed, allowed to simmer at a gentle heat, and frequently stirred. When being applied to the skin, the dressing should again be kept stirred. After two or three days another application should be made, and two days more a complete cure may be relied on and the dressing washed off.