This is an infective disease and for its occurrence depends entirely
upon the *introduction of a germ (bacillus tuberculosis) into the system of an animal which contains good soil for its propagation and spread. The germ was first absolutely discovered in 1882.
The malady is of very wide distribution and of ancient history. It affects, most commonly in the order given, cattle, horses, dogs, and sheep, of the animals now under consideration; but it is, undoubtedly, the cause of death among men and cattle to a larger ,extent than any one other disease.
In Cattle, tuberculosis has been known and fairly well described, at various intervals and under various titles, from the time of the promulgation of the Mosaic laws to the present day; and during all of this long period, notwithstanding all of the measures that have been undertaken to prevent its extension and to cure those affected with it, both cattle and men, it has claimed and still claims its thousands and thousands of victims each year.
Causes. The germ is most commonly transmitted by the living
together of the affected and the healthy. It has repeatedly been shown, if a consumptive animal is put among a herd of healthy cattle, that the disorder will begin to show itself among them all, to a greater or smaller extent, after a shorter or longer time.
It is very probable that the greater part of the new infection takes place through the air; not that the germ, as such, is exhaled into the air by the sick and inhaled by its neighbor, but that in coughing, or running from the nose, the diseased animal has deposited in the barn or about the premises a certain amount of fluid material containing the seed, and that after the fluid has become perfectly dry, the germ, which is very, very small and capable of living, under nearly all usual conditions for a long time, rises into the air with the other dust and is inhaled into the air passages and lungs by others. Other methods of infection are by cattle licking each other, the lodgment of the infected dust upon the hay, which is afterward "fed out"; in which instances the first noticeable signs will be in the throat or some part of the digestive organs. Milk from a sick cow will produce the disease in calves or pigs to which it may be fed.
The proper soil for its germination is induced by constant stabling of the animals, especially in such buildings as are badly ventilated and drained; feeding innutritious and watery food; overproduction of milk or young; and in breeding. While it is an undoubted fact that. a tendency to the malady is inherited from the parents, because of their constitutional lack of stamina being transmitted to the young, it should be distinctly understood that the conveyance of the disorder itself, by these means, is extremely improbable. When instances happen in which it seems as if this must be the cause, it is far more likely that the young animal has been allowed to suckle from a diseased mother, or else it has been allowed to remain in a contaminated building.
Symptoms. Mile not always so, it is generally true that tuberculosis is of slow development and runs a chronic course. The symptoms vary somewhat, depending upon its location in the body.
In the Lungs there is at first a weak, short cough, which, however, as the disease there makes a considerable progress, becomes deeper, more difficult, and paroxysmal. It is more likely to be shown early in the morning, after drinking, or whenever the animal "gets up” ; enforced exercise is apt to bring on a paroxysm. Breathing is more or less hurried and finally becomes distressing. The pulse is generally undisturbed at first; it afterwards becomes more rapid and small either in proportion to the amount of fever present or to the increasing debility. Its examination has no particular value.
The Temperature is at first not very markedly disturbed; there may be a rise of one degree noticeable at the latter part of the afternoon. Later it rises to one hundred and three or one hundred and four, and may be, rarely, as high as one hundred and six or one hundred and seven; but even at this stage it is apt to go up and down; the highest readings of the thermometer will generally be got quite early in the evening.
Nutrition is sometimes seriously interfered with; at others, the animals keep in good flesh, have healthy looking coats and bright eyes, even though the lungs are extensively diseased.
In cases where the high temperatures are long maintained the animal gradually loses flesh, the hair becomes dry, and the skin hard and tight over the ribs; the appetite gradually lessens; the digestion is upset; the secretion of milk, which may have been remarkably good up to this time, falls, off considerably, the eyes lose their luster, are sunken in their sockets, and bunches may or may not appear upon various parts of the body, as on the neck or in the throat, more commonly.
Abdominal Tuberculosis proceeds much in the same way as that of the lungs, excepting there is no cough; and that cows are more apt to come in heat frequently, are less likely to conceive, and abort more frequently.
Tuberculosis of the Udder is not uncommon and it should be fully understood that milk from such animals should not be given to any others to drink and should not be used for cheese or butter making, because it is surely full of the germs, whatever may be thought of the milk, for these purposes, which is drawn from consumptive cows in which the udder itself is not diseased. There is at first a widespread, rather firm, but painless swelling of a portion, or more rarely the whole, of the udder. After a little these swellings become harder and harder, the milk grows more watery, until finally the diseased portions become "as hard as a rock."
General Tuberculosis very frequently happens. In it the symptoms partake of a mixture of all of those described, in a variety of combinations, together with, sometimes, lameness, swelling of joints, and enlargement of the ends of some of the bones.
The fact of the matter is that it is often extremely difficult, by any physical examination that anybody can make ' to determine whether an animal is tuberculosis or not, unless *indeed by using the tuberculin test, which, in proper hands, is almost absolute. There are hundreds upon hundreds of animals that, after a most careful and skilful physical examination, will seem to be in "the pink of perfection," that, upon examination after death, from some accident or for beef, will be found to have been tuberculosis to a degree that will cause the greatest surprise.
Treatment. This again divides itself into the preventive and the medical.
Preventive treatment is so large a matter, so far as the entire extinction of the malady is concerned, that it can only be undertaken by the general government, and the proper time for this is "not yet"
So far as individual herds are concerned, all animals that are known to be diseased should at once be removed from the others, the bad cases killed, and the bodies properly disposed of. The remaining ones must be kept in the open air as much as possible; if they can be turned into hill pastures for the summer and kept in a field with adequate shelter through the winter, the arrangement will be the best possible and certain of them may recover. The question here is, will the ends warrant the loss and trouble of the undertaking? It will perhaps be better to make them into beef as soon as possible and accept some present loss rather than a possible total one at some time in the future.
The absolute disinfection of premises is a matter of considerable difficulty and expense, especially when animals are kept in large, open barns, more or less full of fodder. The formaldehyde gas will have to be used in addition to the other means of disinfection already described. Some cattle owners who have undertaken to "clean up their herds" have found it less expensive and troublesome to build new " cow sheds" and put into them only such animals as are found, by application of the tuberculin test, to be free from the malady, and to introduce no new animals, except those of their own raising, until after they have passed that test.
Medical Treatment. Among all the drugs in the list there are none that will "cure" consumption. If, however, it is desired, for any especial reason to undertake such measures, there is nothing better than cod liver oil and iodide of potassium, given two or three times a day in fairly full doses. It is undoubtedly true that life may be considerably prolonged, in this way, in many instances. If the digestion becomes upset by these measures the doses are to be lessened. The food should be very nutritious.
The tuberculin test consists in injecting a certain amount of Koch's tuberculin serum beneath the skin when, after a proper length of time, the disorder, if present in the animal, even in the smallest degree, will be declared with a certainty which is most remarkable; in proper hands and under favorable conditions, easily obtainable, its declaration is practically absolute. As the test is really a chemical one, it should be done with all the precision and delicacy that such tests usually demand, in order that sure results may be reached..
in the Horse tuberculosis does not appear very frequently, although it certainly does so at times; nor is it certain whether the germs giving rise to it in them come from cattle or men. It may gain access through either the breathing tract or the stomach. The feeding of tuberculosis milk from cows has produced it in foals.
That horses do not usually furnish a good soil for propagation is shown by the fact that it is extremely difficult to make a successful experimental inoculation in them, with poisonous material taken either from cattle or men.
Symptoms are not distinctive. When the lungs are infected the symptoms will probably be those of a more or less chronic bronchitis: cough, emaciation, which is rapid at times, increasing debility, loss of appetite, difficulty in breathing, and frequent urination.
The temperature is uneven but does not rise to as high a point as in cattle. The pulse furnishes no particularly valuable signs, simply keeping pace, in the usual way, of fever and increasing debility.
When the digestive apparatus is affected, the symptoms will be those of cattle in the similar situation. At first constipation and diarrhea will alternate, afterwards an uncontrollable diarrhea" appears which rapidly so debilitates the animal that he dies from physical exhaustion.
Treatment should be directed to allaying the symptoms of the various disorders of the lungs or digestion, as they may appear, under rules given for the various disorders in another part of this volume. If consumption is actually present the animal cannot live, although death may not take place for from six to twelve months, or even longer.
In Sheep the malady is rarely seen; it exists, perhaps, in about fifteen hundredths of one per cent. Infection is from living with diseased cattle and from drinking milk from them. The symptoms are those of cattle, but particularly great loss of flesh, white visible membranes, and cough.
In Dogs consumption is not infrequently seen, but still it does not exist among them to anywhere near the extent in which it is present in cattle and men.
The germ is introduced either through the nostrils, as when an animal lives in the house or room of a consumptive man and inhales the dust, or through the stomach, in those instances wherein the dog is allowed to lick up the sputum coming from a diseased person ‘or to eat food that has been chewed by them.
Symptoms vary greatly, depending upon the location and extent of the disorder. The symptoms usually shown are those of some chronic affection of the breathing apparatus with a persistent cough. It the animal is to die from it he loses flesh rapidly, coughs harder, breathes with more difficulty, loses strength, as first shown by the uncertain movement of the hind legs in walking, there is irregular fever, and, finally, an exhaustive diarrhea.
Treatment. In the early stages, in fact before it can readily be ascertained that consumption is really present, the dog should be treated, for the symptoms presented, under the general rule, good nourishing food and not too much of it, cod liver oil, and a pill of citrate of iron and quinine; one grain of each for small dogs and two grains of each for large ones; a pill to be given three times a day. Good attention must be paid to the digestion; if too much constipated, increase the dose of the oil, or give an ordinary tablet of cascara, one half for small animals, each evening, for as long as is required. Diarrhea will scarcely be present so long as the iron pills are used, until the case has progressed so far as to be hopeless. A long standing case cannot be cured; and in any recognized case, because of some danger of communication to man, it will be much safer to destroy the animal than to treat him.
The tuberculin test sometimes gives good results, but is rather apt, in dogs, if the disease be present, to give rise to symptoms that end fatally.
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