Chapter 34 - Veterinary Medicine
Introduction to Veterinary Medicine
The Pulse
Respiratory Organs
General Diseases Common to all Animals
General Plethora
Blood Poisoning
Expressions Peculiar to Animals
Rabies Hydrophobia
Pox Variola
Lump jaw
Horse Ail
Texan Cattle Fever
Foot and Mouth Disease
General Inflammation
Sore Throat
Lung Fever, Pneumonia
Catarrhal, Bronchial, or Lobular Pneumonia
Diseases of the Heart and Blood Vessels
Disorders of Organs of Digestion
Paralysis of the Muscles of Swallowing
Crib Biting and Wind Sucking in Horses
Disorders of the Stomach
Dieases of the Intestines
Inflammation of the Bowels
Diseases of Urinary Organs
Diseases of the Nervous System
Diseases of the Spinal Cord
Diseases of the Skin
Diseased Conditions of the Joints
Diseases of the Foot
Parasitic Diseases

34.13 Glanders

Glanders and Farcy. This is another of the diseases which depends upon the introduction of a special germ into the blood of a susceptible animal. Horses, mules, asses, and men are the most susceptible to its influence; other animals in their order of susceptibility are cats, dogs, goats, rabbits, and sheep. Cattle are entirely exempt. It has been well described by various authors since the year 330 A.D.; but it was not until 1664 that any suggestion was made of its being contagious. This suggestion was not well accepted and gave rise to a very considerable controversy which was continued until in 1882, when it was forever set aside by the undoubted discovery of the germ giving rise to it. Its geographical distribution is very wide, but its greatest ravages occur in the temperate zones, while it does not flourish in very hot or very cold climates. Nature. Glanders and farcy are one and the same disease; contagion from one form may produce the other form, or both forms may exist together in the same animal at the same time. The term glanders is used when the expression of the disorder takes place in the nose and lungs; farcy, when its poisonous effects are on the more external parts of the body, appearing to be just under the skin. Causes. At the present day the one accepted cause is contagion, but as the germ has been absolutely proved to be able to survive outside the living body, infection may come from other objects than a sick animal; it will therefore, not infrequently show itself in animals which it seems impossible to believe have come into contact with the germ. Still, so well established is the fact, that all such incidents must be looked upon as having the usual origin, however impossible it may be for us to trace it. But while the presence of the germ is the essential cause of glanders there must be, as in other similar disorders, an individual receptive condition; the condition of the animal must be such that the germ will grow after it has gained access to the body. This natural immunity is fairly large, as, for instance, out of 138 horses equally exposed by cohabitation with glandered horses, no more than 21 became infected; about 15 per cent. Direct experimental inoculation with the poisonous material, the most certain of all ways of introducing the germ, has produced the disease in but 32 percent of the inoculated animals. The causes which predispose the system to the growth of glanders poison, the germ having been received, are impure and rebreathed air, seen especially among horses and mules which are taking long sea voyages, especially if the weather is so bad that hatches have to be kept closed for a considerable part of the time; in badly ventilated mines and stables, especially cellar stables in which there is no sunlight. Damp, cold, and drafty stables greatly favor the spread of the disease, as do new brick or stone stables, until the mortar becomes perfectly dry. Debility from continued ill health, low feeding, or overwork, lessens the power to resist the effects of specific poisons, because in such instances there is always an excess of waste material in the blood which furnishes an abundance of food for the germ to live and grow upon. So notorious is this fact that in the old days, when over thrifty animals were kept at work much more freely than they are now, this disease was looked upon as being the natural winding up of pretty much all of the debilitating diseases in the horse. Modem practice shows that, if the germ is excluded, debilitated horses do not die of glanders unless they have had it from the first. The channel of infection varies in different cases. In direct experimental inoculation the morbid process develops first at the point of operation and spreads from there to the nearest lymphatic ,,lands, which with their veins are closely distributed over the entire body and in, practically, all of its tissues. It has also been communicated, experimentally, by mixing the nasal discharges from a diseased animal with both the food and water given to another, as well as by passing it directly, enclosed in a perfectly tight capsule, into the stomach of the no diseased experimental animal. It is possible that the germs are carried in the air for short distances. The ordinary methods of infection, then, may be said to be the eating or drinking of contaminated food and water; to some little extent by breathing contaminated air; or rather unusually by rubbing the nose upon, or licking with the tongue, any object upon which a diseased animal may have deposited the virus, as the edge of a public drinking trough, on a pail, hitching post, or in the mangers whereat a number and constantly changing variety of horses are fed, as in stables attached to hotels throughout the country, or in the "baiting" stables of the large towns and cities. It must also be remembered that the germ will live on inanimate objects outside the bodies of animals, and that in this way harnesses blankets, tools, or anything which has been used upon or been in contact with a glandered animal, is capable of contaminating a healthy one. While the germs are most plentifully concentrated in the discharges from the nostrils and farcy sores, and practically all of the poison giving rise to new cases is distributed from them, no part of the body can be considered free from the poison. Glanders has been experimentally communicated by blood, tears, saliva, sweat, urine, and milk. Symptoms. Glanders and farcy are each capable of assuming an acute and a chronic form. With us chronic glanders is much more commonly met with than the acute; while in farcy the opposite of this is the rule. Acute Glanders. The symptoms are both general and local; the appetite is capricious or entirely lost; there is depression and rapid emaciation; the hair becomes dry and unhealthy looking; the animal shivers at intervals; the internal temperature ranges generally from one hundred and four to one hundred and seven, possibly a little higher, at which high point it will remain with very slight changes for some days, if the animal lives so long. In cases where the temperature does not reach to but little more than one hundred and four, the variations will be greater from time to time. The heartbeats are strong and jerking. The pulse is frequent, quick, and small. The membranes of the eyelids are dark red in color. The membrane covering the partition between the nostrils is intensely red, and may look swollen; sometimes there is a little bleeding from it. The breathing is hurried and irregular and may be as fast as forty or even fifty in the minute, and is, not infrequently, accompanied by a soft snoring sound; there may also be, less frequently, great distress for breath. In from two to four days, unless the animal dies from intensity of the fever before then, the fever diminishes somewhat and the local symptoms show themselves. Small yellow headed pimples appear upon the covering of the partition between the nostrils, on one or both 9 sides; they may be scattered or lie so close together as to appear like larger or smaller patches, of a yellowish gray color, slightly raised above the general surface. In one or two days these pimples (nodules) break and open sores appear in their places; the bottoms of these sores show fairly large patches of " proud flesh," having a reddish violet color, that bleed upon the slightest touch. These sores (chancres, they are called) are numerous, spread rapidly, run together and form large sores having the same characteristics and showing no tendency to heal. With the appearance of the sores there comes a discharge from one or both nostrils, which, at first, is usually a yellow, sticky fluid, soon, however, becoming thicker, purulent looking, more or less streaked with blood or of a deep rusty color, and increased in quantity; nose(,bleed may occur at intervals. Accompanying the development of the sores, on one or both sides,depending upon this condition in the nostrils, a swelling appears under the lower jaws and close to the inner side of the bones, which, at first, are rather soft, movable, and quite tender upon pressure. I a few days the borders of these enlargements become more distinct, harder, less movable, not quite so tender, and assume, after a little further time, the appearance described for the chronic form, as do the other symptoms, if the animal survives the acute attack. Acute glanders is not infrequently accompanied, preceded, or followed by a complication of farcy, when lymphatic vessels in various more external parts of the body become inflamed, corded, and have open sores upon them. In cases which do not pass into the chronic form, the nostular openings, the walls of the nasal passages and the upper extremity of the windpipe, in the throat, may become more and more swollen until breathing becomes difficult in the extreme, and suffocation puts an end to the life. Other complications may occur, as intense inflammation of one or more joints; the fever, which may at first have subsided somewhat, upon the appearance of the eruption in the nostrils returns, when feebleness and prostration will become extreme. Pneumonia may be set up, which, with glanderous deposits that may have formed in the lungs, renders respiration more difficult and prostration more extreme. New sores may constantly form in the nostrils, the discharge from the nose constantly increase, the lungs become more or less filled with pus, and a profuse diarrhea sets in to hurry death to the rescue. The fatal termination may occur in from two to fifteen days; and may be due to the intensity of the first fever, exhaustion, suffocation, or the lung disease, or a combination of the second and last. Chronic Glanders may continue for months or even years and the horse exhibit so little ill health as to be kept at full Work during the time. The symptoms may be local and general. Local symptoms are a nasal discharge, sores upon the partition between the nostrils and enlargements under the jaws, which are more or less firmly attached to the inner side of the lower jawbones. Unless the case is one which began with the acute disorder, the first attractive signs will usually be those of an ordinary, chronic catarrh of the nasal passages, the discharge coming from one or both nostrils, most frequently from one only. At the very first the discharged material is rather clear, somewhat thicker than water and very sticky, but afterwards it becomes purulent, glutinous, and adhere to the skin around the nostular openings, forming there soft, greasy feeling crusts of a more or less deep brown color, which adhere somewhat unpleasantly to the fingers, when touched. There is a time just before the brown or rusty color appears when the discharge may show a rather greenish tint which has been largely accepted as being the characteristic color of the glanderous discharge. This is an error, for in several other disorders which are accompanied by a purulent discharge from the nose, notably, when the roots of double teeth are diseased, this same colored pus is not infrequently seen. A case beginning as chronic may finally become acute, an early indication of which is that the nasal discharges become streaked with blood in small quantities. As a rule the discharge is without smell. Sores upon the membrane covering the partition between the nostrils are not commonly to be seen unless the nostrils have been first dilated with the fingers of the examiner. In a supposed case of glanders this examination must always be made, but before doing it great care must be taken to see that the skin upon the fingers and hands and face is absolutely tight, that there are no possible opportunities for inoculation either directly, or indirectly by the horse "blowing his nose" during the search. The sores are usually few in number, *in one nostril only. Their favorite situations are on the partition between the nostrils, well up in the visible part of the cavity. At times they may be found upon both sides and to a considerable extent. Early in the case, or when a new sore is forming, one or more small yellowish or whitish pimples will be seen on the membrane. They are from the size of a mustard seed to that of a small pea, and perfectly defined. In two or three days the pimples disappear and in their places there is a small concave depression on the surface of the membrane. These are the beginning of the sores, and the first thing that, in this respect, will show absolute glanders, for harmless pimples are sometimes seen upon this same part. At this period the sore has a sharply defined border, is roughened at the bottom, is of a dull gray color streaked with blood colored lines; or, if the attack approaches the acute form, these sores become bright red or violet in color. The sores, once formed, begin and continue to discharge a considerable quantity of pus, which, not infrequently, forms a yellow, slightly attached soft scab over it. The process continues, the sores enlarge with, as a rule, no tendency to heal; occasionally, however, their edges begin to contract, its depth is filled up by "proud flesh" which finally becomes covered with a hard scab, the whole process ending in the formation of a roundish or star shaped scar, the white color of which shows clearly on the red of the membrane surrounding it. The appearance of such a scar should not be looked upon as indicating that the animal has recovered, for while its presence shows that a check of some sort has occurred in the progress of the malady, and an effort, on the part of nature, to repair this effect of the disorder, it does not, in any way, indicate full recovery; on the contrary it has been shown over and over again that the systems of these animals retain, in one way or another, the virulent properties of glanders, from which all the ill effects of an acute attack may be conveyed to another. Enlarged Glands under and between the lower jaws we inseparable from the sores in the nostrils, although these last may be so high up in those cavities as to make it impossible for the examiner to see them. The swellings may appear upon either one or both sides, and be smaller or larger than an English walnut. At its first appearance it may be a little soft and painful upon pressure, but it soon becomes hard, immovable, and perhaps fixed tightly to the skin covering it and to the jawbone. General Symptoms are not usually well marked; debility, unthriftiness, uneven or diminished appetite, dullness, with slight fever, may be observed at first; but, even so, as soon as the local symptoms axe well developed, whatever there may have been in the way of general disturbance not unusually subsides and the animal, except for the local signs, seems in good health. Sooner or later, however, it may be weeks or even many months, this stage of the disorder gives way and, perhaps because of the great amount of the poison which has been gradually accumulating in the system and almost imperceptibly weakening the vital forces of the animal until he has become better soil for the propagation of the germ, the full effects of which have been so long resisted, the acute form suddenly appears and the animal may die from it within a few days; or farcy, in one or other of its forms, may show itself. Although the nasal discharges, the peculiar sores inside the nostrils, and the characteristic swellings under the jaws, may be looked upon, when existing together, as a sure indication of the presence of glanders, it is by no means rare to meet with cases in which one, two, or even all of these signs are absent. Dry Glanders, as such cases are called, is by far the most dangerous form the disorder can assume, so fax as the spread of the malady is concerned, as they may otherwise offer nothing, even to the rather close observer, that will lead to the suspicion of its existence in them, until after a very long time; yet they readily infect healthy horses and it is just these cases which maintain and propagate the disease in stables, in those instances in which outbreaks occur from time to time, often at long intervals, without any assignable cause. A postmortem examination of the lungs, liver, spleen, bronchial or abdominal (mesenteric) glands, one or all of them, will show, in these instances, the presence of small, hard, round, objects, varying in size from a double B shot to a small pea, more or less plentifully distributed throughout their substances; and it is in these nodes that the seeds of the disorder reside. The thermometer offers the only known means through which one of these cases may be selected out from a stable full of horses; and its use, for this purpose, must be so precise and long continued as often to make the examination either without any sure result or quite expensive. Still the author has often employed it and always with good result, when the necessary conditions have been fulfilled. To apply this test the temperature of every horse that lives in the stable must be taken at the same hour each morning and carefully recorded. The animals may then go to their usual work for the day. The temperatures are again to be taken at the same hour every evening,. preferably between five and six o'clock and not until every animal has been in his stall for at least two hours. The feeding must be done at the same hour every day and the food must be of the same materials. Any animal that shows an even normal temperature, both morning and night, for five days, may be looked upon as not having any form of glanders, and need not be examined further. If any animal shows an abnormal temperature, if only of one degree, constantly, either at the night or morning examinations, he becomes suspicious, should be taken from work and placed by himself for further similar examination. If he remains suspicious a veterinarian should be called and put into full possession of the circumstances; he will probably resort to what is known as the mallein test. The greater expense of the whole procedure comes through taking all of the horses away from a part of the day's work; still, if a case of glanders is found, this will be fully repaid as time goes on. Acute Farcy. The earlier symptoms are those of a more or less severe fever, accompanied by shivering fits, an unhealthy looking coat, considerable thirst and loss of appetite, with a temperature of from 103 to 105 or 106, rarely as high as 108. The pulse and breathing movements are faster in good proportion to the amount of fever present, nothing more. After a short time of this, perhaps a day or a little less or a little more, the early local symptoms appear. These are generally, but not always, confined to the limbs; there is a widespread general swelling of the skin, extending to the parts immediately beneath; the local surface is hot, painful, and, if a leg is implicated, great lameness. This condition may not be persistent from its first appearance, it may come and go to a certain extent for a while, but with each new onset all of the local symptoms will be markedly increased. After a little, following the swellings, the hard lumps, called farcy buds, begin to show themselves, together with hard "cords" running from them. The oncoming of these "buds" and "cords" may be sudden, that is, the swollen and painful condition may have existed for a day or two without having shown exactly when the buds were to appear, when, rather unexpectedly, they are pushed beyond the general surface and attract the attention. In size they vary from that of a pea to that of a cherry; their edges are not sharply shown, and they are ' located either in the skin, the tissues immediately underlying it, or, rarely, to some extent, in the muscle itself. In a few days the buds will begin to soften at the center of their tops, the skin gives way and open sores are formed which are known as " farcy ulcers." They are deep, angry looking, have ragged edges, and are disposed to increase in size by the constant giving way of their margins; they discharge a grayish white, creamy like thick liquid, somewhat tinged with blood, and which, to a small extent, sticks around the edges of the sores, forming often a brownish colored crust. If the sores are near enough to each other they may run together, thus forming a large, foul looking, many pitted ulcer, of an irregular shape, and a surface that bleeds easily. The "Cords" are full, hard, and painful to the touch; in a little while after they appear their surfaces become swollen at various points; these swellings soften, after a time, open, and discharge a yellowish puss like fluid. They may, as in the case of the "farcy ulcers," join each other after a time, thus making a very unhealthy looking sore, rather long in proportion to its width, the inside of which is filled with a sticky, bloodstained, puss like fluid. During this whole process there is a fever of a remittent type, repeated shivering fits and patchy sweating; great and rapid loss of flesh with prostration of strength, which soon becomes extreme and the animal dies exhausted. Acute glanders often accompanies and helps to terminate this form of the malady. Chronic Farcy. The symptoms here are almost entirely local, there being very little, if any, fever shown. Or if ', as rarely hap pens, there is slight fever, it will be of a well marked remittent type, more so than in the acute form. The local symptoms will be those of the acute form very much lessened in force, speed of development, and general behavior. The location of the "buds" is, that, generally, where the skin is thinnest, as the inferior part of the chest, inside the forearms, along the belly, over the flanks; and inside the thighs. The "buds" are, as a rule, in the skin; the larger ones may extend to the deeper tissues. Their course of development is variable; they may be widely separated and appear about the same time, or the first crop may be joined in a few days by others, which will probably be smaller in size. Their edges are sharply defined; hard at the bottom, and, as the period of opening is reached, they become more and more pointed in shape at the top. When the "ulcers" are formed they discharge a thin, pale, yellowish pus and have but little, if any, tendency to heal. The "cords" may not be present at all or, if they are, it is more likely that they will be shown after the "ulcer" has been formed. The whole operation is a sluggish one, and in certain rather rare cases the " ulcers " have been known to heal and the horse to return to apparently good health; still, an animal of this kind is not a safe one to put among others that are healthy. Treatment naturally divides itself into the preventive and the curative. Prevention will consist in, so far as possible, keeping all diseased animals, or anything that has been used in connection with them, from coming into direct or, to a certain extent, indirect contact with others, as already indicated. All diseased or suspicious animals should at once be taken away from the stable in which an outbreak has occurred, and so kept until all suspicion has been set at rest. The premises should then be disinfected in the following manner: the mangers as well as the walls from floor to ceiling, and the floors themselves, in the infected stall, and perhaps for two others on each side of it, should be well scraped, next thoroughly washed by having water, at as nearly the boiling point as possible, freely and thoroughly dashed over them. The premises should then be allowed to become thoroughly dry. After this is done some chemical means of disinfection had best be used, although this is not so important as in some other infections, as the germ of glanders is easily killed by heat and dryness. Fumigation with formaldehyde gas is undoubtedly the best of all measures of this kind where it can be accomplished properly; or chlorine gas generated from black oxide of manganese and hydrochloric acid, or in any other way, of which there are several, is an efficient disinfectant for the purposes under consideration. It need hardly be said that during this operation all doors, windows, cracks, or openings of any kind, must be carefully stopped up; and everything that is alive taken out of the building and kept out for at least two hours after the last of the gas used has been generated. The whole process should take at least six hours. It is not practicable in ordinary stables or in barns that are open to the roof. It will be as well, perhaps, in these instances, after the cleansing operation first advised has been thoroughly done, to give the stalls, walls, floors, and partitions two or three good coats of strong whitewash which contains six to eight ounces of crude carbolic acid to each gallon of the whitewash. All stable utensils, harness, clothing, etc., had best be destroyed, boiled in water, or put into a closed room which can be kept at a temperature of about one hundred degrees of dry heat for from five to seven hours. Much might be said here in relation to the better means to be used in stamping out the disorder entirely, as several similar diseases among animals have been, in this country; but when that effort is made, the work should be under the supervision of the general government. It is at present impracticable, for one great reason at any rate: all of the cases cannot be recognized by any possible means that have as yet been discovered, but the writer has been able to stamp it out and keep it out from among something over nine thousand horses belonging to the same corporation, contained in some forty odd different stables, in several of which glanders had been present for a long time and had previously killed a large number of animals. Curative Treatment. In some of the states and territories any person who knows of a case of glanders is obliged, under penalty,to report its existence to the local authorities, who then, generally, take summary possession of the animal and kill it out of hand, in which cases they disinfect the premises. If, however, medical treatment is desired, and it had best always be used in cases that are no more than suspicious, there is nothing better than the old "farrier's ball"; this consists of powdered, sulphate of copper and powdered gentian root, equal quantities, three ounces, powdered Spanish flies, one dram; the whole to be thoroughly mixed together while dry; it is then to be mixed and rubbed together with a sufficient quantity of molasses to make a mass of about the consistency of rather hard putty; this mass is then to be divided into twelve equal portions and each portion rolled in a sheet of very thin brown paper until it is formed into a " ball," which will be round, about two inches in length and three quarters of an inch in diameter. One of these "balls" is to be given night and morning, just after the horse has eaten, for as long as may be required. As there is quite a little risk of inoculation in giving the ball, unless one is proficient in the practice of placing it at the extreme back of the tongue, it will be better to shake the powder, properly divided into twelve parts, up with a teacupful of molasses and water and to drench in the usual way from a bottle. A heavy dog skin glove had best be used in either case. Some animals will eat the powder, if it is well mixed with a quart or so of dampened grain feed. In addition to this it will be wise to give one ounce of the sulphite of soda, mixed with a cupful of water, two or three times a day. Many an animal has apparently recovered from chronic farcy, and it is reported upon good authority that a few cases of acute glanders have seemed to get well under this treatment. Still it must be remembered Ôthat such "recovered" animals are, perhaps, not unlikely to suddenly become centers of a new outbreak; and that attendance upon them, unless all precautions are very carefully attended to, is a dangerous matter, as a man will easily become inoculated through broken skin, and that glanders in him always proves fatal.

< Previous Sub-Category      Next Sub-Category >

Any statements made on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or condition. Always consult your professional health care provider.

copyright 2005, J. Crow Company, New Ipswich NH 03071

Privacy Policy for Household Physician

Email Us