General Inflammation Fever.
Every part of the bodies of all animals may be considered, as liable to inflammation; and many deaths are caused by its effects upon various vital organs or upon the bodily system as a whole. Therefore a knowledge of its general behavior, causes, relations and effects, may be regarded as furnishing valuable aid to the better understanding of many attacks of sickness to which animals are subject.
Although certain inflammations are destructive, others, on the contrary, aid in saving the life, and returning diseased parts of the body to health. By its aid many of the blood poisons are gradually expelled from the system; wounds are healed; and broken bones become firmly knitted together. Again, a portion of the skin and structures immediately beneath it as in the case of an abscess, inflames, degenerates and dies, yet, by the continuance of the inflammatory process, the dead parts are cast off and the reproduction of healthy tissue takes place. Therefore it is seen that the process is sometimes destructive, at others constructive.
Causes. It not infrequently happens, in the animals, that the symptoms of inflammation seem to us to begin suddenly, unexpectedly, without any previous warning, that has been noticed, and from unknown and oftentimes unascertainable causes. In other instances it will be found to have been produced by some mechanical or chemical irritant; by the action of cold, wet, extreme heat, or by some animal or vegetable poison, the germ of which has been received into or generated within, the system of the animal.
Inflammation is said to be acute when it runs its course rapidly, and is attended with severe constitutional disturbance; sub acute
the symptoms although all of them are present, are less well marked and rapid; and chronic when they exist for a considerable time, but in a much less well marked form. Its presence in any organ or tissue so far deranges the action of the parts as to produce partial or absolute stoppage of their normal function.
Symptoms. For a long time it has, in a general way, been considered that the external marks of an inflammatory process consist in the exhibition of pain, swelling, heat and redness, and, in a general way this may be considered as representing what takes place when internal parts of the body are similarly affected. As soon as the inflammatory action reaches a certain degree of intenseness, which, it should be remembered, it does not do, in some slight local instances, the nervous and circulating systems become affected; in which cases the general disturbance that follows is described as being sympathetic fever; or constitutional disturbance. This fever is shown by depression, slight chills, cool or cold extremities, rise of the internal temperature, increased frequency of the pulse, thirst, and loss of appetite. Sometimes the slight chills amount to absolute, continued, shivering and it is generally thought to be true that the onset of a fever due to internal causes is more likely to show hard shivering than that which is caused by external injury. The intensity of the inflammation will depend upon the nature of the part affected, the extent to which it is affected, and the, so called, constitution of the ailing animal.
General fever may not go so far as to become located, before recovery takes place, in which instances the animal is said to have had a fever; it not being possible to give it a distinctive name because it had gained no perceptible lodgment at any one part of the body, before its affects passed off.
Treatment. In the treatment of all fevers there are certain general underlying principles that should always be followed, with such modifications as may seem necessary in the individual cases, as they arise from time to time.
To begin with, the cause of the fever, should, if possible, be found and removed. Attempts may then be made to return the parts to their original condition ' as is quite possible in many instances; or, this failing, to get the next best possible result obtainable, under the circumstances. Formerly, these ends were rather indiscriminately sought by underfeeding, bleeding, purging and blistering. But more recently the conviction has properly grown that an attack of fever or inflammation is not to be put out like a fire, by taking away or withholding fuel, but rather, that no return to health can be achieved excepting through nature's own power to heal; that she has her own ways of curing the various ills, which she will be the better able to accomplish if the patient can be put into healthy surroundings and kept as strong as possible, so that the vital forces. through the exertion of which the cure comes, will be the better able to keep up the
work. Under these circumstances it becomes the duty of the practitioner to understand the processes of nature's dealing, and to give material help, by the use of such medicines and measures as will aid the particular process in a perfectly natural way.
Place the animal where he will have good air, without draught, and an even temperature of from W to 60' F.; the diet should be varied as much as possible, fed in rather small quantities at a time, but at somewhat nearer intervals; all food that is not eaten within a reasonably short time should at once be taken away so that the animal will not have it constantly before him, as this oftentimes tends to make a poor appetite poorer. Cold water is to be freely allowed, but so long as the fever thirst is present it should be given at intervals of from fifteen to thirty minutes, not more than five or six swallows at a time. If the fever and thirst are marked, one ounce of powdered nitrate of potash may be given, each day, dissolved in the drinking water, and taken at intervals as directed for the water. If the bowels do not move freely an apparent may be given as one pint of raw linseed oil with a heaping tablespoonful of saleratus, all mixed together and given at one dose to horses and cattle; six ounces and a teaspoonful of saleratus to sheep; and one half ounce each of castor and sweet oil mixed together for a medium sized dog.
If the pulse becomes soft, or at all small, milk and raw egg, if the animal win eat it, as he often will, will often give great aid; while, directly there are indications of general weakness, or exhaustion alcoholic stimulants should be given, as for horses and cattle two ounces each two, three or four hours as seems called for, in one pint of cold water or milk; sheep one half ounce, given in the same way; dogs will do better with sherry wine, from a teaspoonful to a tablespoonful, in a little water; or, if the prostration is extreme, one quarter to one teaspoonful of French brandy, in four times as much milk, at the same intervals.
If, in horses, cattle, or sheep, the increased amount of urine passed shows an endeavor to set things right by working the kidneys; sweet spirits of niter with or without a small dose of wine of colchicium mixed with it and given three times a day for two or three days, will often give good help. (See dose table.) Sweet spirits of niter may also be given to dogs with good results, but the colchiciurn had better not be used, unless under the direction of a veterinarian.
When much sweating or diarrhea occurs, it shows that an effort is being made to get rid of certain waste materials in a natural way, therefore care must be taken not to check them suddenly or unnecessarily.
When inflammations are treated upon this general plan the character of the measures will seem somewhat tame, but there is the satisfaction of knowing that while, without doubt, we can guide to a successful termination certain disorders, that, without intelligent aid, would have terminated fatally, and, in doing so, have been able to add considerably to the comfort of the ailing animal, any rude attempt at cure will merely increase the danger. The risk of all inflammations being in proportion to the weakness of the animal, it is surely not wise to undertake measures that will produce debility.
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