Lung Fever or Pneumonia.
It should be understood in the first place that the lungs of animals naturally exist in several large complete divisions of the lung on each side, and that these divisions are called lobes. And further, that each of these lobes is made up by the collection together of a varying number of lobules, which are, however, not complete divisions of the lobe but exist under the general covering of the lobe to which they belong.Several varieties of this inflammation are described but, for present purposes, only two of them need be mentioned.
First: Ordinary lung fever, called also acute or lobar pneumonia, and:
Second: Catarrhal, bronchial, or lobular pneumonia.
All of the animals are subject to this disorder.
Acute pneumonia is now thought to be a general disease, of which a temporary consolidation of more or less of the substance of one or more of the lobes is the prominent local indication.
Causes. The usual exciting causes are sudden chills, exposure to cold and wet, especially after severe exertion or fatigue, and confinement in draughty stables. The disorder is especially prevalent during spring and autumn, because of the sudden changes in temperature which commonly take place during those seasons. Other causes are: inhalation of irritating gases, as fumes of ammonia, etc., the smoke from burning straw, hay wood or other materials; as well as the presence of foreign bodies in the lungs, as medicines turned down the windpipe, and also from wounds of the chest walls, which penetrate into the cavity containing the lungs; or from a wound inflicted by the sharp end of a broken rib.
More often one lung only is affected although both may become so, when the case is said to be one of double pneumonia.
Symptoms. In the horse, pneumonia of this type always begins with an attack of severe shivering soon followed by a hot stage, the internal temperature reaching to from one hundred and three to one hundred and six, while the body surface and the extremities are cool or cold to the touch. The pulse is frequent but very variably so, it may be no more than sixty beats in the minute, while at other times it may be as much as one hundred beats in the same interval of time. In character it is at first strong and hard, afterwards becoming soft and weak. Breathing is, at first, hastened no more than in proper proportion to the number of the pulse; afterward, as the lungs, or a portion of them, begin to solidify, the movements are more frequent, reaching, perhaps, to as many as sixty in the minute; the nostrils are dilated and the air coming from them feels warmer than usual there may or may not be a slight cough; and a little rusty colored discharge from the nose; the membranes are red with, possibly, a slightly yellowish tinge. The animal usually stands throughout the attack; he will, however, occasionally lie down for a short time, in which case he will lie upon the diseased side. The appetite is seldom entirely lost. The symptoms afforded by listening with the ear pressed closely to the side, or by thumping lightly with the fingers, over the same parts, so valuable to one who thoroughly understands the normal and abnormal sounds and what the variations that he finds mean, are far too intricate for description here.
The disease reaches its height toward the fifth or sixth day.
In Cattle the symptoms will not vary much from those of the horse, excepting that this animal persists in lying down, with the breast bone pressed against the floor.
In Sheep the differences are that the shivering fit is of much shorter duration; the animal stands with the elbow turned outward from the sides, and there is a persistent cough, more apparent distress in breathing, and there is a decided discharge from the nostrils. The appetite is more frequently entirely lost.
In the Dog the differences are: a greater distress for breath; the animal sits up on his haunches with the nose extended and the mouth open. If he lies down at all he will try to arrange matters so that his head will be lifted up and supported in the position described. The heart is apt to show early weakness and therefore should always be carefully and frequently examined. The temperature will be from one hundred and three to one hundred and six.
Treatment. Is a matter concerning which there is a great variety of opinion and practice, but all agree that there is the greatest need of a good supply of fresh air, without draught. For this reason the animal should be placed, as nearly as possible, under the same conditions, in this respect, as those recommended in congestion of the lungs. The maintenance of an even temperature is very desirable, at about sixty-five degrees if possible; at any rate the animal must not be placed where the temperature will fall below fifty-five degrees at night. The chest should be covered with a folded blanket, as already described, both in horses and cattle; and the flannel jacket should be put upon dogs, and all three of these animals may have the camphorated oil well rubbed over the chest walls under this covering, once daily during the attack; further than this, the body should be kept comfortably covered and the legs bandaged with woolen flannel. As much cool water should be allowed as is desired, but during the earlier stages when thirst is especially great, the water should be given in a few swallows at a time, each fifteen or twenty minutes; after the thirst is somewhat lessened a moderate supply of water may be left within reach of the animal. The appetite should be carefully nursed and a nutritious diet given as has been described. Whatever the animal will eat, including milk and raw eggs, may be given him freely at any stage of the malady. As to medical treatment there will be, at first, nothing better than that recommended for general fever, with, in cases where the pulse is especially full and frequent at the beginning of the attack, the tincture of aconite root, in doses (,f from ten to twenty-five drops, mixed with four tablespoonfuls of cold water, should be given each two hours for from six to eight times, as required, to horses and cattle. Remember that it is being given to lessen the tension and frequency of the pulse and that, as soon as this object has been gained the dose is to be reduced or stopped entirely, as seems indicated. This nursing, with the administration of the nitrate of potash and the aconite, if it is needed, will generally be all that is required by a straight case of acute pneumonia, If, however, after the fever has subsided, much debility is shown, stimulants should be given: sweet spirits of niter, whiskey or brandy, in doses of from two to six ounces, with a proper quantity of cold water, each two, three, or four hours, as seems necessary, judging the strength as indicated by the pulse. If, after two or three doses of the stimulant have been given, its effect seems to be good, it may be continued as required; if, on the other hand, the breathing becomes, even in the slightest degree, more distressed, the stimulants must be immediately discontinued and the case allowed to go on, under the general treatment, with good nursing. The sides should never be blistered, even with mustard, nor should bleeding be allowed. After full convalescence is established, a good tonic may or may not be required; if one is used, it should contain iron as part of its composition. (See prescriptions.) Cattle should have about the same treatment with, if necessary, a fairly good dose of epsom salts, one pound; ground ginger, tablespoonful; molasses, teacupful; all to be mixed with three pints of warm water, and given at one dose when the salts have dissolved and the mixture cool enough.
In Sheep the tendency is strongly to a low type of the disorder Therefore, if they do not improve under the ordinary rules of treatment, they should at once be put upon that recommended for catarrhal pneumonia.
in Dogs there is frequently a tendency toward debility and failure of the heart's action. It will not, therefore, be best to give them aconite except at the very commencement of a case wherein the temperature is high and the heart is working very hard. It should even then be used with caution and stopped as soon as its effects commence to be shown by a slightly lowered temperature and less forceful heart; the dose should always be a moderate one and given in not less than a tablespoonful of cold water. As already indicated, the heart should be carefully watched throughout the attack, and if at any time its action seems to tend toward weakness or irregularity of force in the beats, it must be stimulated by brandy or the administration of digitalis. (See prescription).
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