Diseases of the Intestines.
Constipation, or torpid action of the bowels, occurs in all of the animals.
Causes. The condition may depend upon intestinal obstruction, diminished muscular movements of the bowels (peristaltic action), or deficient intestinal secretions. Retention of undigested and waste materials in the bowels will lead, after a varying interval, to congestion or inflammation of the bowels.
Symptoms. There will generally be a full and distended belly, although this is not constant; the motions are few, irregular, difficult, and attended with more or less straining. If the condition continues, the appetite becomes impaired, the strength lessened, and the pulse feeble and irregular; if the temperature rises to any marked degree, it is because congestion and inflammation of the bowels are commencing to take place. In some instances a yellow jellylike mucous secretion is discharged, either alone or mixed with or covering the manure.
Treatment. In many slight attacks a change to food of a more laxative nature will be all that is required, as, to horses, grass, carrots, potatoes not to exceed one quart at a time, bran ' 'mash " made with warm water and with the addition of a tablespoonful of salt; to cattle and sheep, grass, beets, turnips, and bran mash; to dogs, milk with lime water, beef broth, oatmeal, vegetables with a little gravy over them, but absolutely no meat.
In the more pronounced instances, good doses of oil with saleratus should be given at once, and the food changed as indicated. The oil may be repeated once, if necessary, at the proper intervals, but no more than two doses should be given in any instance, and if this does not have the desired effect, the food should be considerably lessened in quantity until the bowels have been well unloaded. If colicky pains are shown at intervals to any troublesome extent, tincture of opium, in doses just large enough to stop the pain, mixed with a little oil, should be given to horses and dogs; aconite and belladonna to cattle and sheep. In all of the animals an occasional injection of warm soapsuds will give good results in helping on the action of the oil and in clearing out the rectum. It is sometimes found at the first examination of the ailing animal that the rectum is packed full of hard manure; this condition should always be removed, as with the hand in the larger animals, the finger or other convenient small instrument, as a teaspoon handle, in the smaller ones.
The constipation being relieved, all of the animals should receive a course of some good vegetable tonic. (See prescriptions.) If, after this, constipation recurs to any marked extent, the animal should continue to receive the laxative foods as already suggested, and the
tonic powders should be continued.
In old dogs that have a chronic trouble of this kind, five drops, more or less, of the fluid cascara may be given every night, or less often as required, in a teaspoonful of cold water. It is not good treatment to press the cathartic medicine too hard, for it will not accomplish the object if the two doses recommended are not sufficient; and, if given beyond the two doses, it may be the cause of an early inflammation. The writer has repeatedly seen horses go from seven to nine days without a motion of the bowels whatever, and then come out all right under the treatment advised.
Diarrhea, is the general term applied to an unnatural fluidity and an increased amount of discharge from the bowels. It is met with as a functional disturbance of various nature, or as a symptom in the course of general or specific disease, as has been shown.
Causes. The proximate causes of the great fluid" discharges are excessive secretion from the membrane lining the bowels, which, in itself, gives rise to great increase of their natural activity. These conditions are, in their turn, due to direct irritation of the fining membrane from without, as, for instance, by food, foul water, worms, etc.; or, indirectly, to influences generated within the animal itself, as from various specific fevers; nervous conditions, as over exercise in some individuals, fear in some others, or any unusual nervous ,excitement. Perhaps of all the causes of diarrhea the most frequent are injurious food and irregular feeding; sudden changes in the diet, especially from a dry to a moist or laxative one; drinking large quantities of water, when heated either by long exposure to the sun or after exertion; and feeding immediately after severe work or exposure to cold and damp. Fat horses that are used to no more than gentle exercise, as well as horses which have a highly nervous temperament, are especially liable to diarrhea while being driven on the road, and this last form being due, as it is, to the constitutional make up of the animal, is next to impossible to remedy; they can be stopped for the time by having a powder of gentian root and sulphate of iron (see prescriptions), mixed in their feed, but as soon as the powder is discontinued the diarrhea generally commences again.
Symptoms. The bowel discharges are semi fluid, and may be
with or without offensive odor. If the discharges are long continued, the animal loses flesh and the appetite becomes fickle. In some instances there is great prostration; colicky pains, or gripes, are not uncommon, and the breathing is hastened; unless these symptoms, together with vomiting in dogs or great prostration in any of the animals, are present the pulse is not usually hastened.
Treatment. The exact cause should be carefully looked for and removed if possible. The animal should be tied up and kept so for as long as the discharges continue; and about one half of the usual dose of oil had better be given. Further than this, in most instances, medicines are not required unless the discharges are excessive, or the pain and general disturbance great. No cold water should be allowed, but, inasmuch as the excessive discharges of fluid generally give rise to a considerable thirst, a mixture of wheat flour and water should be given in reasonable quantities, a few swallows at a time and frequently. The body should be warmly covered, and, above all, defended from drafts of air. The diet should be that which is easily digested and quite limited in amount. If these simple measures are not sufficient an attempt should be made to check the discharges by the administration of very small doses of tincture of opium mixed with brandy or whiskey, and water, not oftener than once in each two hours, al~ ways giving as little as it is found will gradually stop the discharges, which must not be checked too suddenly, as, by so doing much mischief may be caused. If pain is excessive, in addition to giving tincture of opium the belly may be rubbed with a good stimulating liniment and parts covered, as already directed with a dry blanket or flannel jacket. The use of astringent remedies, so commonly recommended, had better not be used, except perhaps in cattle and sheep.
Diarrhea, the Scours, or White Skin in foals, calves, and lambs, differs from the diarrhea of adult animal~:, sufficiently to merit special consideration. This form of the disease, which is not so common in foals as among calves and lambs, may be looked upon as being a specific intestinal catarrh, and a very serious affection.
Causes. It owes its origin to changes in the quality of the milk upon which it feeds; as well as to defective sanitary arrangements by which it may be surrounded.
Symptoms. The malady usually appears during the first two or three weeks of life in the foal and lamb; but in calves it is frequently first shown at a somewhat later period, in which instances it is due to an attempt to change the food by adding a proportion of skim milk, and when the temperature and sweetness of the milk, as well as cleanliness of the various pails, etc., have not been properly attended to. The manure is at first of a greenish white color, and there is little or no pain expressed. Later on, or perhaps from the first in the more serious cases, the discharges are exceedingly sour, full of bubbles of gas, which indicate fermentation of the food ; and there is considerable colicky pain. If the disorder goes on the little animal ceases to eat, loses flesh rapidly, sinks, and dies.
Treatment. At the very first all errors in diet should be corrected. The food, which may well consist in part of skimmed milk, must be sweet, given at a temperature of about one hundred and one degrees, in small quantities at a time and at least lour times a day at first; and all utensils used must be well scalded, sweet, and clean.
For medicines, give at first one small dose of either sweet or linseed oil which will be useful in helping to remove the offending substances which axe in the bowels; and for a little time add lime water to all of the milk allowed, the proportion of which will be one tablespoonful to each pint of milk. When pain and straining are prominent features, opium, chloroform, and camphor may be given as required, in a little slightly warmed water; or, if in addition to the pain the animal is weak, give the opium in a little brandy or whiskey. (See dose table.) If necessary, the belly may be rubbed with stimulating liniment and covered with dry flannel.
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