Chapter 34 - Veterinary Medicine
Introduction to Veterinary Medicine
The Pulse
Respiratory Organs
General Diseases Common to all Animals
General Plethora
Blood Poisoning
Expressions Peculiar to Animals
Rabies Hydrophobia
Pox Variola
Lump jaw
Horse Ail
Texan Cattle Fever
Foot and Mouth Disease
General Inflammation
Sore Throat
Lung Fever, Pneumonia
Catarrhal, Bronchial, or Lobular Pneumonia
Diseases of the Heart and Blood Vessels
Disorders of Organs of Digestion
Paralysis of the Muscles of Swallowing
Crib Biting and Wind Sucking in Horses
Disorders of the Stomach
Dieases of the Intestines
Inflammation of the Bowels
Diseases of Urinary Organs
Diseases of the Nervous System
Diseases of the Spinal Cord
Diseases of the Skin
Diseased Conditions of the Joints
Diseases of the Foot
Parasitic Diseases

34.48 Diseases of the Skin

Diseases of the Skin. Of these there are so many different varieties, each one of which has such a number of subdivisions, that no more than a few of those most commonly met with can be described in this place. It may, however, be said that the greater number of skin diseases are secondary affections; and in attempting to cure them the treatment must be directed both to the removal of the internal cause, which is generally digestive in its nature, and the healing of the skin itself by local applications. Nettle Rash (Urticaria) is characterized, in the horse, by. the sudden appearance upon various parts of the skin of prominent, elastic patches of a roundish or oblong shape, varying in size, at their bases, from that of a nickel to, rarely, that of a half dollar. Causes. It is due to some disorder of the digestion, which may or may not be attended with some of the usual more noticeable signs of such disorder, as fever, diarrhea or colic, all of which, however, if present, disappear as the eruption comes out. Symptoms. Whether some little digestive disturbance has been noticed or not, the eruption appears suddenly, beginning generally upon the neck and from there extending to cover nearly the entire body, at times; or it may be shown on one part of the skin, suddenly fade from there and appear on another part. The rash is sometime, accompanied by slight itching. Treatment. Give a mild purgative, as oil and soda, which had better be followed by the administration of a powder made of equal parts of cream of tartar and sulphur; the dose will be two teaspoonfuls, morning and night, mixed with the grain food; this should be continued for about one week. The horse may be used again as soon as the effects of the oil have passed off. False Ringworm (Creeping Teeter; Herpes cireinatus) is a more contagious affection consisting of one or more clusters of little blisters upon slightly inflamed patches of skin, which are often so shaped as to closely resemble true ringworm, which is a contagious disorder of the skin. Causes are digestive. Symptoms. There is an eruption of little blisters upon inflamed patches of skin, which assume a circular form, the circles varying in size and sometimes including an area of healthy skin. The circles increase in size by their circumferences. True Ringworm can be distinguished from the false by making a careful examination of the hair of the affected parts, which, in the contagious disorder, will be found to have about them a complete whitish sheath, to break unevenly, to be ragged at their ends and have the appearance of having been eaten through; their broken stumps are much altered, bent, twisted, and lighter in color than the healthy hair. Treatment of creeping tetter will be to regulate the diet under rules already mentioned. If there be much itching a dose of cathartic medicine had better be given; otherwise, one ounce of saltpeter, divided into three equal parts, one of which is to be given in the drinking water or on the food ' three times daily, and continued for a week or ten days, as required, will generally be all that is necessary in the way of medicine. The irritation of the skin may be relieved and cured by the application of zinc ointment, or the ointment of the subacetate of lead, both of them as ordinarily prepared by the druggist. A simple dusting of the parts with powdered starch will oftentimes be all that is required in the way of local treatment. Treatment of Contagious Ringworm. Put the animal in a place where he will not come into contact with any others; be careful that nothing that touches or has been used upon the diseased animal comes in any way in contact with a healthy one. Feed lightly; give no exercise; and rub all of the diseased spots, once a day, with a mixture of one part of soap liniment to an equal part of the tincture of iodine. If, after a few days of this treatment, the skin does not seem to be improving, increase the strength of the solution by adding one-half part more of the iodine to the original mixture; if it is found that this increased amount of iodine is beginning to blister the parts, use it once every other day, only. If the disorder is not cured in this way within a week or ten days, a veterinarian had better be called in to see the case. Eczema (often mistakenly called mange, red mange, etc.) is the most commonly seen skin disease in dogs; it also affects horses, cattle, and sheep, especially lambs. It is not contagious, but is very apt to recur. Causes. It is invariably due to dietetic errors, from over feeding, or from insufficient exercise, while eating food that is too heating in its nature; too much meat, indian meal, or dog biscuit, in dogs , indian and oil meal, in horses and cattle, or clover or buckwheat, in sheep or lambs that are being prepared for market. Symptoms. In the earlier stages there is an eruption of small blisters on various parts of the skin, closely crowded together and often running into each other, so as to form, on being broken, superficial moist excoriations, which in a short time afterward are dried into scabs and crusts. The heat of the skin, together with the irritation caused by the scabs, produces considerable itching, and the scratching and biting of the parts by dogs, and the rubbing of them against wars or similar objects, by the other animals, soon produce excoriated patches of larger or smaller sizes upon the surface of the skin, from which oozes a yellowish fluid in small quantities, or even a small quantity of blood. These, when they occur, add considerably to the pain and itching; the animals scratch and rub more persistently and, unless the disorder is cured, the skin begins to thicken, the hair to fall off to a considerable extent, and the animal either grows rapidly thin and dies, after a time, from exhaustion, or else the malady takes upon itself a chronic form, which will be a long time in getting well, although it is curable. There are a considerable number of sub varieties of eczema, but their differences do not need to be pointed out here. Treatment. The diet should at once be changed and regulated in accordance with the general rule: bread and milk with lime water for dogs; grass or roots with sound hay and a moderate feeding of oats and bran, with salt, to the others. In very mild cases these changes alone will often be all that is needed, especially if the animal is kept from scratching, biting, or rubbing the skin by, in dogs, muffling the hind feet and taping the mouth. More often the cases are obstinate and, for a time, will seem to resist any application that may be made to them. There is, perhaps, no disorder of the skin which has had a larger variety of drugs applied to its remedy than this one; this only goes to show the very intractable nature of the malady, at times; it does not necessitate the recommendation of a long list of remedies. The one remedy which can be relied upon to bring about a cure more often than any other one is the sulphur lotion. (See prescriptions.) This, if made as directed, will have a strength of one part of the sulphur to eight parts of water, and may be used in this strength on all animals that do not have large bleeding surfaces, as described, in connection with the trouble. On them, as well as on lap dogs and lambs, when the skin is very delicate, the lotion should be reduced by adding two ounces of water to each four ounces of the lotion; if this is found, after being used for a day or two, not to cause too much irritation, its strength may be gradually increased until the original strength of the lotion is reached. The lotion should be well rubbed onto all of the diseased parts once daily, and the animal held still for ten or fifteen minutes or until the application has partially dried. If the disorder is freely spread over the body, the dog had better be clipped, or else the skin will not be sufficiently well reached. In instances when the eczema is confined to scattered, small, hairless, patches, wherein the itching is considerable', a solution or ointment of Icthyol may often be used, once daily, with markedly good results. (See prescriptions.) If the case is one that is beyond the power of cure by one or the other of these remedies, a veterinarian had better be called. Scratches In the Horse. This is a well known and trouble some disorder occurring on the skin, just below the fetlock and behind the pastern bone. Causes. The exciting cause is exposure of the parts to melting snow, mud, and water. While all horses are subject to it, there are some that never have it and a few others that are never without it. It is very much more apt to affect horses that show poor condition, due to bad digestion, than those that are in good health. Symptoms. The skin of the part first becomes very slightly swollen, hot to the touch, and in white haired horses it will be seen to be quite red in color. After a very short time, if the animal is continued at work, small horizontal cracks appear and rapidly deepen, discharging at first a yellowish fluid which afterward becomes mixed with blood, and the legs begin to swell. The edges of the cracks widen and scabs appear upon them, which have a strong tendency to form a horn like material and become a source of considerable irritation. The animal starts off lame, but after a little goes sound, until he is allowed to stand for a while, when he again goes lame for a little. Treatment. If noticed before the cracks have become at all large or deep, the animal should at once be taken from work, put into his stall, and have the parts poulticed with linseed, or oil meal, and warm water, for twelve hours; after which the zinc and lead lotion (see prescriptions) should be freely sopped onto the scratches and the horse allowed to remain idle until well. In the more advanced cases the treatment should be the same, excepting that the poulticing should be continued longer, and all of the scabs must be removed from the edges of the cracks every day, before the lotion is put on, until they cease to form; when zinc ointment may be used in place of the lotion. AR cleaning of the parts, as from the poultice or other material, should be done with dry cloths; no water, or soap and water, should be used at any time. If the horse must be used, he should be poulticed over night, the sores carefully cleaned in the morning, and the zinc ointment should be well rubbed into the parts before he starts out. This will help matters considerably, but a cure will, probably, not be made until after he has been allowed to rest. Burns and Scalds. These happenings vary much as regards their local and constitutional effects, according to the degree and duration of the heat applied, the extent of the surface involved, the seat of the mischief, and the vital power of the animal at the time of injury, because great depression follows immediately after extensive injuries of the kind. They are conveniently divided into four classes: First. The bum which produces simple inflammation of the skin may be caused by the momentary application of hot water or steam, by exposure to the rays of a strong fire, or by momentary light contact with a hot object or a very small flame. Symptoms. Unless the extent of surface injured be large, the Constitutional disturbance is slight. The skin in white haired animals is seen to be red; in all of them there is more or less removal of the hair, slight swelling, and severe pain, which lasts for some hours.. In a few days the outer skin peels off and the hair gradually returns as if it had not been removed. Treatment. When anything is required, son ~p, , heavy oil, as linseed, should be applied to the burned surface and that covered, if possible, with a sufficient layer of oiled cotton wool, which may be held in place by a light bandage. If the cotton cannot be held in place, wheat flour may be freely sprinkled over the newly oiled surface. Second. Inflammation of the skin, with the production of blisters filled with serum, will be caused by a more severe burn. Symptoms. The skin is tense, hot, and swollen, soon becoming more or less covered with "water blisters" of varying sizes; and the pain is considerable. If the blisters get broken or their tops rubbed off, the surface underneath becomes exceedingly tender. In the more favorable cases the outer skin is slowly removed, and the part returned to health, no sear remains, and the hair grows again. In other instances, pus and sores will be formed on the injured surface of the true skin, when some of the hair will be permanently lost and a scar will remain. The constitutional symptoms are often severe and the depression considerable. Treatment. If the constitutional symptoms are markedly shown, it will be because the pain is great. This should be controlled, as far as possible, by the administration of moderate doses of the tincture of opium; while, if the depression is considerable, a little whiskey or brandy may be given. For the local application nothing will be better than the raw linseed oil, already recommended, or, if the blisters are broken, carron oil, which is a mixture of linseed oil and Lime water, in equal parts, had better be used. The use of wheat flour is not desirable because, if it becomes mixed with the contents of the blisters, a dirty, irritating paste is formed, which is difficult to remove, for a proper dressing of the sore surf aces. When the blisters are large and well filled with fluid they should be opened, great care being taken not to remove their coverings in the process. If pus is formed, the parts must be thoroughly cleansed once or twice a day with the solution of lysol. Burns of greater severity than those already described had better be put under the care of a veterinarian as soon as possible, for they are likely to become quite complicated in their necessary treatment, both constitutional and local. Burns from Acids and Strong Alkalis sometimes occur as the result of accident. The treatment of them should be as for any burn of equal importance, excepting, if acid has caused the harm, the part should be freely bathed with an alkaline solution, as, saleratus one heaping tablespoonful to each quart of water. Or if the burn is from a strong alkali, as lime, the parts should be bathed with some weak acid solution, as a cupful of vinegar to each quart of water. These baths are to be given only once, and they will be productive of no good whatever unless they can be used almost Immediately after the accident has taken place. Canker of the Ear in Dogs. Causes. The entrance of foreign bodies into the ears, bites from other dogs, but much more frequently than either of these, the same set of causes that operate in bringing on an attack of eczema. Symptoms. The early approach of canker is indicated by frequent shaking of the head, or holding it to one side, or careful scratching of one or both ears, accompanied by a low, painful sounding whine If now an examination of the inner side of the ear be made, the skin will be found red, especially down among the folds, and that some of these are swollen. If these earlier symptoms are neglected the pain will increase, the redness become more intense, the folds more swollen, and deposits of red or black thick matter will be found to have taken place in the various hollows between the folds, more especially the deeper ones and at the bottom of the canal. Should it happen that up to this time the ear had not had treatment, little sores will begin to appear upon various parts of the skin, again, more particularly the deeper ones. Treatment. The ear should be carefully and thoroughly examined and any collections of foreign matter removed. This should be carefully done by using a small piece of wood, like a toothpick, which has a little absorbent cotton wrapped around one end; the cotton must be changed each time that it becomes soiled. The ear having thus been cleaned thoroughly, the use, twice a day, of a little of a solution of the sulphate of zinc, ten grains to one ounce of water, will generally be all that is required. The ear should be cleansed once daily for as long as is necessary. External Canker or Rodent Ulceration of the Ear. Causes. The disorder attacks dogs having pendulous ears, as pointers, setters, etc., and of these, more commonly those, that from the habit of shaking the head considerably, from any cause, or those whose instincts take them through underbrush and among briars where the parts may receive some small scratches, which may be followed by the ulcer. Symptoms. There appears at first, at the pendulent tip of the ear, a small wound, abrasion, or bruise that is thought to be of no consequence. After a little time, however, the animal commences to shake his head, flapping his ears violently; the ear swells about the little wound, which, if closely examined, will be found covered with a thin, dry, brown scale, having minute cracks upon it and being hot and somewhat painful upon pressure. After a little the scab will be removed, disclosing an indolent, ulcerated looking surface covered with a small quantity of a greenish, unhealthy looking pus. This ulcer will extend itself more or less rapidly as the dog shakes the head, until the ear is eaten through at the tip, the sore extends by its margins and shows no tendency to heal. Treatment. Nothing will be of avail until the dog can be made to stop the violent flapping of the ears, and this cannot be accomplished without the use of the so called " canker cap." This cap may be made of close net or a piece of cotton cloth, which should be six or eight inches in width and sufficiently long to reach round the head and meet under the jaws. Along each side of it must be a running piece of tape and a shorter piece sewed at the center of each of the ends. By means of these the cap may be drawn tightly over the head, above the eyes, and likewise round the neck, behind the ears, so as to confine them perfectly. The cap being ready for use, the ulcer is to be thoroughly cleansed with the lysol solution, and all small pieces of the scale removed as soon as possible. The whole surface is then to be covered with a small quantity of powdered iodoform, the ears placed one above the other on the top of the head, and the cap adjusted. The cap must be kept on for some time after the other treatment is no longer necessary, or else the ulcer will return. Rickets is a constitutional disease characterized by the softening and bending of some of the bones of the body and extremities, superadded to many of those conditions that result from indigestion. There is general debility, softness of muscles, and a sluggish state of the nervous system. The malady is essentially one of early life and is seen in foals and calves, but particularly in puppies of all breeds, large and small. Causes. Anything which induces imperfect digestion of food and impaired general nutrition. Hence it is seen in calves which are not allowed to suckle their mothers; in foals when the dams are taken to work during the day and the foal~ allowed to suckle only morning and night or, at most, three times a day; conditions which always, create a tendency to eat to over fullness of the stomach, as a result of which the milk passes through them in an ill digested, curdy condition, and the young animal is partially starved, both by the imperfect assimilation of the food and by the weakening of the digestive powers, which is gradually brought about. In addition to this improper method of feeding, the constant breathing of impure air, living in damp, dark, or cold places, will induce rickets, and here probably will be found the reason for so many more puppies being affected with rickets after a winter rearing, than among those that have been raised in the summer and sunshine, all other conditions being equal. Symptoms. It will first be noticed that the young animal shows an undesirable fullness of the stomach, just after feeding, which is soon followed by diarrhea, more quickly recognized in calves and foals than in puppies; general debility and loss of flesh, with slight but comparatively painless swelling about the joints of the limbs, especially the wrists in puppies. The change from apparent health to disease is, as a rule, so gradual that the animal is not considered to be sick enough for special treatment until, after the lapse of some little time, the bent condition of the bones of the legs is suddenly realized to exist to some considerable degree. In foals and calves the bones from the knees to the ankle are first to give way, the curvatures being outward; thus the knees are thrown outward and the toes drawn inward. At the same time the extremities of the bones at the joints become enlarged, hot and painful, causing so much lameness that the animal merely touches the toes of the affected limbs to the ground. Men the bones of the hind extremities are bent, the toes are turned outward, the hocks inward, the points of them almost touching each other; and the cannon bones bent at their middle, inward and backward. In puppies the bones which bend soonest are those of the arm, at the lower third, giving the animal a dwarf like appearance; he stands with his front legs wide apart and walks with a peculiar strut, throwing the weight of his body from one leg to the other as he walks, the breast bone, in some cases, almost touching the ground. The elbows and wrists are disproportionately large and somewhat hot and painful upon pressure. In all the animals, after a time, the breathing is quickened, the pulse becomes frequent and feeble, the appetite capricious, and the diarrhea offensive in smell. Recovery takes place slowly at first, rapidly afterward. The earliest signs of improvement are a better condition of the excretions; the appetite improves; the flesh is firmer; growth, which has been at a standstill, proceeds rapidly; healthy bone material is actively deposited at the parts where the curvature has been the greatest; the bones become healthy; and there is left of the disorder only more or less deformity, by curvature, which will remain throughout the life of the animal. Treatment. Rickets is always preventable if its causes are not allowed to exist. When present, the first attention must be to regulate the digestion, under the general rules already given, and by allowing small quantities of the proper food, for young animals, at frequent intervals. The medicines to be given are iron, quinine, cod liver oil, and bone meal, in the quantities required by the various animals, and the differing sizes and ages of the puppies. (See dose table.) The pill of citrate of iron and quinine may conveniently be given to dogs. The bone meal used should be that which is carefully prepared, ground very fine, and obtainable from the druggist only. If the dose of cod liver oil used is too large, it will cause purgation and must be made smaller; if constipation is troublesome the dose of the oil can be increased. Splints of very thin wood in the larger animals, or pasteboard in puppies, are often used with considerable advantage, during the beginning of treatment, if properly applied and so arranged that they do not chafe the skin. They should, of course, be put on the inner side of the curvature. Splint is the name given to a small bony growth generally situated upon the inner side of the front cannon bones of horses; while it may occur anywhere between the knee and the fetlock, it is usually seen about midway between these two joints. Causes. Anything which may cause inflammation of the covering of the bone, as a blow from the other foot, in traveling; in animals under five years of age, from concussion in trotting or galloping rapidly upon a hard road, etc. Symptoms. The bony enlargement is both easily seen and felt upon some portion of the parts described. Unless the splint is in close connection with the knee, or being newly formed, or recently struck, as by the other forward foot, there will be no lameness. Splint lameness is peculiar in that the horse, with it, will trot exceedingly lame, and walk nearly, if not quite, sound, the two exhibitions of lameness being out of all proportion to each other; besides which the further he goes the lamer he gets. Both of these symptoms may be shown before the enlargement appears, but if the coming splint be its cause, close examination will show heat and tenderness upon pressure, at the seat of the coming enlargement. Unless lameness is present, or the growth is in close connection with the knee joint, splint is not a cause of unsoundness. Treatment. When the growth is first coming, or whenever, from interfering, etc., it is hot and tender, rest the horse and apply cold water bandages frequently, until all of the heat and soreness have passed away. Afterward an attempt may be made to "harden it down" by the use of a blistering ointment made of red iodide of mercury, two drams, well mixed with one ounce of lard. A very little of this ointment is to be rubbed lightly over the splint, once a day, until the parts become sore, when further application of it should be stopped and the part allowed to dry; when the crust that will be formed is perfectly dry, a very little sweet oil or lard should be put upon it two or three times a week until it comes off. The whole process will take about three weeks. The hair should be clipped off before the ointment is used.

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