Anemia Horses, Cattle, Sheep, and Dogs.
Causes. This is a condition of deficiency or poverty of the blood
arising generally in animals that have been deprived of some one or more of the conditions which have already been described as being ~necessary to the formation of healthy blood. It is also met with in instances wherein the digestive functions have been imperfectly per~ formed; where small hemorrhages repeatedly take place, as well as in the course of many debilitating, or organic diseases.
Symptoms. The chief of these consist in a great pallor of the membranes. The membrane of the eyelids is pale, clear, and waxy looking, the mouth is cool, and the tongue has an unnatural softness. The pulse is frequent, small, quick, and possibly irregular. Any sudden excitement is not unlikely to produce some degree of palpitation of the heart, which, however, is not material in itself as it is generally no more than functional. The respirations, if the animal is perfectly quiet, are not particularly noticeable for any irregularity. The temperature is normal, or slightly below that, in cases which do not depend upon the presence of some other disease. There may be more or less loss of appetite, with indigestion, flatulency, and, in certain instances, even colicky pains. Urine, of a very light color, will be passed in considerable quantities. General debility of the muscular system, which often proceeds to such an extent as to simulate paralysis of the hinder part, may be shown.
In horses dropsical swellings of the limbs is not uncommon, but is seldom seen in cattle. In sheep, dropsies of the cavities of the chest and abdomen are not uncommon. When the disorder is of long standing a general shrinkage of the body (atrophy) sets in, dropsical effusions take place, the breathing becomes difficult, diarrhea is present, the pulse gets very frequent, irregular, and weak; and the heart's action is rapid and palpitating. Death takes place from starvation and exhaustion, unless some of the mentioned complications have occurred, when there may be fainting, convulsions, or coma.
Treatment. In simple cases we have the satisfaction of knowing that the removal of the cause, the use of stimulants and tonics, together with a careful oversight of the food to be allowed, quantity and quality, the amount and kind of exercise to be given, and the proper allowance of sunlight and air, will effect a cure, after a time. Remembering that, in simple cases, all of the trouble is directly dependent upon the poor condition of the blood which, in its turn, is due to no assimilation of the ordinary food, an attempt should be made to begin a correction of matters by the use of such stimulants as sweet spirits of niter, whiskey, or rum for the larger animals, and brandy for dogs, in their proper doses, two or three times daily. While one or other of them often give great benefit in a surprisingly short time, they will not by any means cure; indeed their use is not well born in some instances, so that it is always better to begin by giving small doses, when, if there is marked increase in breathing or symptoms of uneasiness or colic appear, they must be at once stopped. Iron in some one or other of its forms must furnish the basis of the curative treatment.
In all the animals the tincture of the chloride may be given with good results, especially in those cases wherein the appetite is poor or fickle; begin with rather small doses, three times a day, in about four times its own bulk of cold water; or if the animal will eat a little grain, as oats, the dose may be mixed with a small quantity of them and will be eaten. As the appetite improves the iron must be increased until the full dose is reached, and this should be continued for as long as the animal seems to require it. An occasional dose of raw linseed oil, to overcome the constipating effect of the iron, may or may not have to be given. Or, after the animal begins to show a regular appetite, one or other of the following powders may be given to a horse or cow of ordinary size: Powdered gentian root and powdered sulphate of iron, of each three ounces, well mixed together and divided into twelve powders, one of which is to be given in damp grain feed, morning and night. Or, if the digestion seems to be somewhat impaired or there is marked weakness, this powder may be used: Sulphate of iron, bicarbonate of soda, of each three ounces; powdered nux vomica, powdered golden seal, of each two ounces: all to be made into twelve powders, one to be given twice daily, as above. The same treatment will give good results in sheep, if the doses of each agent are properly moderated. (See table of doses.) For dogs the stimulants may be used; the tincture of iron is good, but it blackens the teeth and the bowels are more apt to become constipated. The best method of giving the iron will be in the use of Blaud's Pills, which is a regular prescription and may be got from any druggist; the dose being the same as for humans, excepting that for very young or small dogs the pill may be cut into thirds or halves. Such a pill should be given three times a day. The food of dogs should also be changed at first to milk, with which a tablespoonful of lime water to each tumbler full of milk should be used. This mixture, slightly warmed, should be given in small quantities each two or three hours.
In cases of anemia, resulting from organic disease, treatment will be palliative at the best; it will not cure.
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