Inflammation of the Bowels. This affection, always . to be dreaded, varies considerably in its manner of declaring itself and in the intensity of the attack; it may be so severe as to destroy life within a few hours of its first appearance in horses and dogs. Cattle and sheep are not particularly subject to the disorder. The bowels are very seldom affected throughout their entire extent; by some it is said to attack the larger intestines more frequently than the smaller ones; this is more likely to be the case in horses than in dogs. The malady is more commonly seen in adults than in the young.
Causes. As has been said the degree of the attack may vary widely; an animal, seemingly in perfect health, may be suddenly seized and die in a few hours. Of this variety the causes are not always apparent, but overexertion, long exposure to cold and wet, drinking cold water when heated, or washing the body of a heated animal with cold water, have been known to give rise to it.
The more usual form is of slower development, although the extent to which the process may finally reach is, in many instances, very considerable. This form is caused by local impactions of the bowels, constipation, twists, intussusceptions, worms, and various poisons, as already pointed out. In addition to this, the disorder may follow certain specific fevers, which have been specified.
Symptoms. Excepting in the very sudden attacks soon followed by death, as explained, the animal will show a general constitutional disturbance, as indicated by hurried breathing, dullness, loss of appetite, with or without a marked shivering fit. Abdominal pain begins to be shown which, unlike that of colic, is continuous, rarely intermitting in the least, and evidently more painful. The pulse, at first quick, hard, and wiry, becomes later on more frequent, of less volume, more feeble, and finally imperceptible; in number it varies from seventy or eighty to one hundred and twenty, or even more, to the n minute. The internal temperature generally runs to from one hundred and three to one hundred and four, although it may not exceed one hundred and two, or it may reach to one hundred and seven. As the pain increases, the horse stamps, strikes at his belly, and when he lies down he does so with greater care than in colic, for any increased pressure upon the belly now causes an increase of the pain, while in colic it often gives temporary relief. The animal looks toward his flanks, sweats copiously, and groans from excessive pain. At other times he stands almost motionless, so great is the pain caused by any movement of the body, his face plainly expressing the suffering he is undergoing. The surface of the body is covered, in patches, by a cold sweat, the pupils of the eyes are dilated, and delirium or stupor may follow. Or, he may become more restless than ever, wander about aimlessly, throw himself down recklessly, and roll violently, with apparent disregard of all obstacles. '
At other times he will balance himself for a short interval, with teeth clenched, pulse imperceptible, legs and ears icy cold; when after a little he suddenly falls and dies exhausted, after a more or less severe struggle.
In other attacks an apparent improvement takes place before death: the horse stands at rest for a while, yet, though the breathing becomes more quiet, the symptoms of pain much less, and the animal will even eat a little, the face maintains its haggard, dejected appearance; cold patchy sweats cover the body; the pulse is nearly or quite imperceptible; and, after a little, he dies exhausted, with gangrene of the bowels.
In still other instances the animal persistently stands as already described, the body trembles continuously, the lips fall apart, the eyes become dull, the mouth cold and clammy, the breath smells badly, until at length, completely exhausted, he drops dead.
The Dog is very uneasy, cries continuously, gets up and down; if a cold floor or a pool of shallow water is within his reach, he will lie there flat on his belly, with all of the legs sprawled out. The face expresses great pain and anxiety; the pulse, temperature, and breathing are of the same character as described for the horse. Death usually takes place in from twelve to twenty four hours.
Treatment. It is very important that no cathartic medicine be given, because the bowels when inflamed are completely paralyzed, as are other tissues; and all attempts to move them will simply add to the intensity of the inflammatory process by crowding down material upon the diseased portion, which it cannot pass, but where it must remain and act as a further source of irritation.
If any hope of recovery is to be entertained, the case must be put under treatment during the very first of the attack; and the measures undertaken for the cure must be thoroughly and carefully persisted in until all danger is over; if active treatment is stopped too soon, relapse is apt to take place. The measures to be undertaken are to try and stop the pain by the use of tincture of opium, given in a little iced water, each two hours, in such doses as are indicated by the individual attack. In the first stages, while the pulse is frequent and comparatively full, the tincture of aconite root in doses of twenty-five drops, in two ounces of cold water, given each two hours, will be of the greatest service in helping to lessen the congestion and so the extent of the inflammation; the aconite must be discontinued as soon as the pulse begins to show weakness by becoming small and wiry. The belly should be covered closely with the " three folded " blanket wrung out of very hot water, and that covered with a dry blanket, all held in place by two sureingles; the hot blanket should be repeated frequently at first; afterward, as the pain grows less, often enough to keep the parts warm; great care must be taken to wring the hot water blankets so dry, before they are applied, that water will not drop from them. The legs must be bandaged with flannel, and stimulating liniment may be used on them, if it seems to be required by their persistent coldness. Although no cathartics should be used, the bowels had better be occasionally solicited to action by the use of hot soap suds injections. If the animal is inclined to drink he may be allowed iced water freely, a few swallows at a time each ten or fifteen minutes, with the best results. The greatest quietude possible should be maintained throughout the attack; and on no account should the animal be taken out and made to walk, as is too often done. After recovery, soft sloppy food, as oatmeal gruel, hay tea, milk, and raw eggs, should be given in small quantities at a time, for three or four days, or until all danger of relapse is passed; and even then the return to the usual food should be made gradually and carefully.
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