Strangles Horse Ail.
This is an acute disorder, the occurrence of which depends upon the presence of a germ which is found in the discharges from the nose of an ailing animal. It will probably live for a short time and under favorable conditions, outside the body, and be spread in the form of dust. Men the poison is experimentally inoculated into the inside of the nostrils, strangles is produced; when into the skin it forms a local abscess.
Causes. It chiefly affects young animals or any horse whose vital forces have been weakened by cold, catarrh of the upper air passages, bad climatic conditions, especially the sudden changes of the weather taking place in the spring or, to some extent, in the fall; overfeeding without sufficient exercise, continued overexertion, long journeys on sea or land, general irregular stable management, and, perhaps more common than all, the bringing of horses from the country into large city stables, in which the germs are seldom absent, and where the animals are collected together in large numbers within a small air space.
The germs are usually absorbed through the breathing tract; they may also gain access by way of the digestive organs. The poison enters the blood and raises the temperature of the animal before the local symptoms appear. One attack protects from a second one for at least two years, generally through life. Strangles are not unlikely to show various complications.
Symptoms. In an ordinary case the appetite will be lessened or lost, the legs, especially the hind ones, may swell a little and the animal will be listless and dull. If the temperature is taken at this time it will be found to be one hundred and three to one hundred and five, although the pulse and breathing have not yet become disturbed. Following this, after a few days, a discharge will take place from the nose, which, at first clear and sticky, soon becomes of a grayish or yellowish green color and more or less like pus; its quantity is much more profuse in young than in old animals. At the time when the puss like discharge begins, a swelling will be found under and between the lower jaws. This enlargement, which is that of one of the glands, feels hot and is tender to the touch, and while small at first it may increase rapidly and to such an extent as to fill up the entire space between the jaws.
Mile, in rather rare instances, the enlargement gradually disappears and the parts return to their usual appearance; as a rule, however, soft places begin to show on its surface and it terminates in an abscess which, upon bursting or being opened, discharges a great quantity of pus, leaving a cavity or pocket which ultimately heals and all of the parts return to their usual condition.
The first rise in temperature, as described, is soon followed by a drop of from one to three degrees, and the lessened heat remains until pus begins to form in the swelling, when it again shows an increase which is maintained until the abscess has discharged, when, in favorable cases, it will fall within a short time to the normal point.
The pulse will show no material change until the abscess begins to form, when it may become as frequent as fifty or sixty beats in the minute. A higher pulse rate is not met with unless the Strength of the animal has previously been weakened in some way, or when complications arise in the course of the disorder.
The breathing will not be materially changed unless some of the discharge gets into the throat, when there will be a cough at varying intervals; or when the bunch, because of its location or size, presses against the upper end of the windpipe.
The animal will not eat well until the abscess has discharged its contents and lost its soreness; this is because of the pain caused by movements of the jaws. During the period of recovery there is often a considerably increased flow of urine, which should cause no uneasiness and needs no treatment. The average death rate is small, not over three per cent, and under proper treatment should not begin to reach even to that.
As has been said, strangles not infrequently becomes complicated, and it is these that are most to be dreaded.
First and most common. The poisonous effect becomes extended to the region around the upper end of the gullet and causes there an inflammation, the symptoms of which are difficulty in swallowing, heavy drooling from the mouth, and a very moist, suppressed cough. This is soon followed by a swelling of the glands which he under the ears and just behind the upward curves of the lower jawbones, in the neck. These swellings, tender upon pressure, frequently become very large and give rise to extensive swelling of the skin and upper neck. Pus quickly forms in these enlargements, the surface of the swelling softens, at one or more places, opens and discharges freely; this is the most favorable termination.
In other instances, the great pressure of the swelling upon the soft structures within the throat causes them to give way, at one point or another, when the pus discharges inwardly and is very apt to fall into the lungs; and gives rise to pneumonia, gangrenous lungs, and a fatal termination.
Second. The inflammation set up by the poisonous material in the back part of the nose may extend to the upper end of the windpipe, producing a distressing whistling cough and very difficult breathing. Such a case, after recovery, may leave the horse a permanent ̉roarer" or "whistler."
Third. An inflammation of the skin of the head and face may take place, with the formation of a large number of small, shallow abscesses. In this way the lips may become so swollen as to be as hard as a board, and the nostrils so closed as to make breathing difficult.
Fourth. Strangles may be complicated with pyaemia. (See article on pyaemia.) It then is called bastard strangles. The pyaemia is generally of the more chronic form, the animal grows thinner and thinner and becomes much "tucked up" in the belly. Abscesses continue to form inside and, more rarely, upon the outside surface of the body.
Fifth. The malady may assume a chronic form; the nasal discharges continue, much flesh is lost, and symptoms of chronic indigestion follow.
Death, when it takes place, as it is apt to do to a considerable extent in some of the complicated cases, is usually caused by general blood poisoning. It may happen from Suffocation, rarely.
Treatment. The animal should at once be placed, as far as possible, into a clean, exceedingly well ventilated stable, but free from drafts of air; and given good sound nourishing food; hay, freshly cut grass, and at least six quarts of the best oats per day; if he will eat nine quarts, with relish, so much the better, as the disorder is very debilitating and strength is kept up more naturally and fully in this way than by any other and more artificial means.
Internal medication is not particularly useful, as the fever will disappear of itself as soon as the abscess is opened, and nothing will be gained by trying to " cut it short." The animal will be a little more comfortable, however, if he is allowed to drink water in which powdered saltpeter has been dissolved. The saltpeter may be used up to one ounce a day, and eight or ten swallows of the water given every thirty to sixty minutes.
The greatest endeavor of treatment should be directed to bringing the swelling forward to the formation of the abscess. Usually there is nothing better for this than the careful and persistent application of hot poultices to the parts; the poultice may be made of flaxseed meal, or, just as well and at much less cost, " oil meal," which is obtainable from any grain dealer. This should be mixed with boiling water and made as soft as it can be to stay in place; it may then be spread upon any strong cotton cloth, and when cool enough put over the swelling and held in place by a homemade hood, which will come nearly down to the nose and be tied closely under the jaws; if holes are cut, at where the ears come, the poultice will not shift so easily. A new hot poultice should be put on three times daily, remembering that the sooner the abscess can be brought to a " head " the quicker the case will get well and the less danger there will be of any complication. If the swelling is slow in coming to the desired point, it may generally be hastened by rubbing onto it a very little plain blistering ointment; as, powdered Spanish fly one dram, to lard one half ounce, mixed thoroughly together and used once as directed. As soon as the abscess softens at any point it should be carefully opened with a clean, sharp pointed knife, little by little, until the pus begins to flow, when the wound may be carefully made a little larger. After it has been opened and thoroughly emptied by gentle pressure, it may be washed with warm water and the poultice again put on twice a day for one, two, or three days, until the pus is all discharged, when it may be taken off and the parts washed clean once daily with a mixture of one part of lysol to fifty parts of cold water; or a solution of carbolic acid of the same strength may be used instead of the lysol. In cleansing the part it will be best to use a sufficiently large piece of absorbent cotton, which can be immediately burned when it is finished with, a new piece being taken each time.
Complications must receive the treatment given to similar troubles, as they appear. The extended abscess, under the ears and back of the jaws, should be taken care of as described above.
Strangles in Dogs is said to have been noticed. The symptoms will consist of a discharge from the nose, a swelling of the lips and head, due to the formation of small abscesses, which may lead to pyaemia.
Treatment will consist in bathing the swollen parts with quite warm water for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, three or four times a day, to hurry the softening process as much as possible, opening the abscesses as soon as they are ready and keeping the parts clean with the lysol solution. The food should be good, given in small quantities three times a day instead of once, and consist largely of milk and finely chopped raw, lean, beef with some stale bread crumbled into the milk and fed when the bread has softened. In addition a pin of citrate of iron and quinine, two grains each for large dogs, half the size for small ones, should be given two or three times a day. If constipation is persistently present, give a medium sized dog, at one dose, one half ounce each of castor and sweet oil, varying the quantity up or down in proportion to the size of the animal and the degree of constipation present.
There is no connection between strangles in horses and the so named disease of dogs.
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