Inflammation of the membrane completely lining the inner walls of the cavity of the chest and thence extended to form the outer covering of each lobe of both lungs. It may be primary or secondary. It affects all of the animals.
Causes. First, exposure to cold, damp, and sudden changes in the temperature of the air, especially in animals that have been previously run down by overwork or exposed to bad sanitary conditions.
Second, the extension to the pleura, of any inflammatory action which may have been set up in a contacting part. In this way the malady is frequently associated with lung fever, especially in instances where the pneumonia has resulted from any of the infective disorders.
Third, any wound that has penetrated the chest wall; into the tissue itself, or made by a broken rib.
Fourth, it may be set up in connection with such constitutional disorders as rheumatism or pyeamia.
Symptoms. In the horse. Acute pleurisy begins either with a slight chill or a hard shivering fit and loss of appetite. The animal is restless, and shows signs of pain that may be mistaken for those of colic; breathing is hurried, difficult, sometimes a little gasping; performed by the muscles of the belly, as much as possible, carefully, and is frequently accompanied by a grunt when the animal is moved, especially if he is turned around, as in a box stall; pressure of the muscles between the ribs, by the ends of the fingers, causes much pain and grunting.
The pulse is increased in number, to from sixty to one hundred beats, is hard and often has a wiriness that is caused by nervous irritation, which is directly due to the pain. The temperature rises to from one hundred and three to one hundred and four, the mouth feels hot and dry, but the air coming from the nostrils does not feel so hot as in lung fever. A short and evidently painful cough is often present. A return to health may begin to be made within two or three days, or even a little sooner; or the inflammation may be followed by a considerable outpour of fluid into the cavity of the chest (hydrothorax), which will be shortly described.
In Cattle the differences are that the elbows will be turned out from the ribs, the flanks are hollow, the cud is lost; not infrequently signs of rheumatism are shown, when the heat and swelling caused by it will change from one joint to another at frequent intervals
In Sheep there are no marked differences in symptoms, and if the animal is to get well the return to health begins in from two to three days. If, however, convalescence does not begin at about this time, the disorder is very likely to terminate fatally, after a period of from a week to ten days, from dropsy of the chest.
In Dogs the general symptoms will cover all that is shown. This animal is not particularly subject to this disorder.
Treatment. The animal should be placed and covered as directed in pneumonia, and receive, during the severe symptoms of fever, aconite and nitrate of potash, in the same way. In addition to which small doses of tincture of opium or morphine, should be given if the pain is considerable and long continued; it is not best to give any preparation of opium, unless it is absolutely required, because of the tendency of that drug to create constipation; but where the pain is severe it must be stopped, and if that cannot be done by the use of blankets wrung dry out of very hot water and applied to the chest, as already directed for the dry covering, the opium must be used (see dose table); and with it a small dose of raw linseed oil may be given to horses, cattle, and sheep, and sweet oil to dogs, as, one quarter of the full doses of the oils with each dose of tincture of opium. Remember that the opium is given to relieve the pain and a sufficient amount of it, within reason, must be used to accomplish the object, but the doses should not be given at anything less than a two-hour interval.
If after the symptoms of severe fever have passed away, the animal seems to make no further progress toward recovery, the breathing and pulse still somewhat difficult and raised; the sides had better have a good rubbing with stimulating liniment and be immediately covered with a dry blanket; and begin to receive medium doses of sweet spirits of niter or whiskey, three or four times daily as required; the mixture of the niter, quinine, and belladonna (see prescriptions) will probably give good results.
Any statements made on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA
and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or condition.
Always consult your professional health care provider.
copyright 2005, J. Crow Company, New Ipswich NH 03071