Pink Eye Influenza, Epizootic, Etc.
Affects horses, men, and perhaps cattle. It has been known to exist and is described from as far back as the fourteenth century, during which time, even up to the present, it has been and is called by a great many different names. In fact it seems as if more than one malady had been looked upon as being that now under consideration. Some of these have been sifted out and are now placed where they belong, until, at the present time, influenza may be described as being an infectious disease which is subject to several important Complications.
Causes are simply those of a highly infectious principle, or germ,
the exact nature of which has not yet been fully discovered; it is passed along from horse to horse or from locality to locality in an evenly progressive way until, within a very short time, large numbers will at times become its victims. At other times it will not affect more than one or two horses in a stable, although, at the same time,a. large number of the stables in a given town will, each of them, contain a few of the cases. It may be rife in a given locality, while in another, not more than a few miles distant, there will not be a case. At other rare intervals of time it will extend over a whole country, as was well shown in the United States in 1872 to 1873.
The poisonous principle seems to be easily carried in the air, which has become mixed with that breathed out by a diseased or convalescent animal, for a shorter or longer distance at various times, and under conditions not understood. Sometimes the poisonous quality survives but a short time in such air; at others it not only seems to survive for a longer period but to be capable of being widely extended, as has been shown. The same peculiarity concerning the life of the germs within the living bodies of animals seems to exist at times.
The germ from contaminated air is inhaled, becomes absorbed, and a new case is created. While one attack is usually all that comes to one animal, a second has been known to occur. Mules and donkeys are equally affected with horses; and there exists a not entirely unfounded impression that horse distemper has been conveyed to dogs and men.
Symptoms. In from four to seven days after the horse has "taken" the malady there will be, at first, loss of appetite, nervous depression, as shown by a drooping head and slow, unwilling movements. The internal temperature is high, perhaps, from one hundred and three to one hundred and five; the frequency of the pulse is not increased in proportion to the temperature, it may show as many as fifty beats to the minute; the breathing is comparatively slow; and the lining of the eyelids have a yellowish tinge. After this initial stage, which is of varying lengths, from a few hours to a day or a little more, the already high temperature is suddenly increased and may reach one hundred and seven or one hundred and eight degrees, at which high point it remains, with slight variations, for from three to six days when, rather suddenly, it drops to the normal point. At the time of the second rise in temperature the pulse increases in frequency to from sixty to seventy or even, in desperate cases, to eighty or one hundred beats in the minute; it generally continues frequent for some little time after the temperature has fallen. With all of this there will be a discharge from the nose, thin at first, thicker and mixed with pus later on, a little swelling of the glands under the jaw, and slightly hastened breathing with a little cough. There is generally a considerable loss of flesh.
Second. In some instances the nervous depression becomes extreme, when the fever is at its height; the animal not only holds his head down, but, added to this, he appears as if half asleep and is stupid; trembling are seen on the body and legs; the hind legs move unevenly, he "knuckles" at the fetlock joints; and in a few cases, paralysis of the hind legs may take place.
Third. At times a considerable digestive trouble will be shown, which is probably caused by the considerable effect which the poison has upon the nervous system; the mouth is dry, the tongue " coated," and the horse yawns frequently. Swallowing is not easy if the mouth is very dry; constipation is present and what manure is passed is in small, dark colored balls, which are covered with more or less slime (mucus). Later on colicky pains and diarrhea may be shown, which is often accompanied by severe straining.
Fourth. The disorder not infrequently takes the form of complication which has become widely known as " pinkeye," called by some the rheumatic form of influenza, wherein the eyelids swell so much as oftentimes to entirely close or even turn them inside out to some little extent; there is more or less discharge, and if the lids are opened sufficiently, as with the fingers, the outer covering of the eye itself will be seen to be more or less fully covered with a white film. At other times, if the outer covering be sufficiently clear, it may be seen that a yellowish substance, coming apparently from around the pupil, has been deposited at the lower margin of the eye, just inside its outer covering. These appearances of the eye need not cause alarm, because they generally disappear as the general symptoms improve. These "eyes" are usually accompanied by more or less swelling of various joints, especially, perhaps, the hocks, although any joint may show it; the swellings are painful and the animal is very lame; this also generally disappears as the general health improves.
Fifth. Large dropsical like swellings, without much, if any, pain, frequently appear in the legs, along the belly, and include the sheath, or udder. These should cause no anxiety as they will disappear as the case recovers.
The average duration of an attack is about fourteen days; some may recover as early as the sixth day, while others will run on for three weeks. The mortality is small. It should be especially remembered that other and graver complications may arise if the horse is continued at work during the early stages of a light case of influenza; these are: pneumonia; a weak heart; severe brain trouble; and inflammation of the bowels.
A good rule to follow is to take a horse away from all work as soon as he stops eating, and not to put him at work again until it is known what the trouble is.
Treatment. As uncomplicated influenza runs a direct, mild, and self-inflicted course, good nursing with healthy surroundings, good ventilation, good drainage, the careful selection of good sound food, given in prescribed quantities, under the requirements of the individual animal, are of chief importance; and the better all this is done the less danger there will be of troublesome and dangerous complications. So far as medication goes there is no better mixture, for general use, than this: Sweet spirits of niter, seven ounces; fluid extract of belladonna, one ounce; dilute sulphuric acid, forty drops; sulphate
of quinine, two scruples. Mix all in a bottle and shake until all of the quinine is dissolved. The dose will be two ounces of the mixture given in tumbler full of cold water morning and night; an extra dose may be given at noon, when there is much depression; the bottle should be shaken each time it is used.
Complications must be treated under their rules, as they arise. whiskey or digitalis for weak hearts; digestive troubles, with saleratus and common salt; inflammation of the eyelids with argyrol, twenty-four grains mixed with water, one ounce. A few drops of this mixture should be put into each eye three times daily, using an ordinary "dropper, " which may be had at any drug store. The persistent high temperature may be lowered by giving acetanilid, or some other similar febrifuge. The stable had best receive a good disinfecting when the trouble is over and before new animals are put into it.
Cattle occasionally develop influenza. In them it generally takes the form of " pinkeye " although the trouble with the joints is generally more widespread and painful; the temperature rises to one hundred and four or one hundred and six; the depression and other general symptoms are those described for the horse. The duration is from two to four days only, and the attack usually ends in recovery.
Treatment will be as for horses.
It is not now considered that influenza of men and animals are identical, although many recorded instances seem to indicate that it has been conveyed backward and forward among them in certain individual instances. It is certainly true in by very far the greater number of instances that there has been no intercommunication whatever.
Formerly, a great number of cases of pneumonia were thought to arise in complication with certain outbreaks of influenza, and the cases were described as being of such origin and admixture. Recently this condition of affairs is apparently becoming to be considered as a separate malady and, by some, it is now described as:
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