Chapter 34 - Veterinary Medicine
Introduction to Veterinary Medicine
Definitions
The Pulse
Respiratory Organs
Temperature
General Diseases Common to all Animals
General Plethora
Anemia
Blood Poisoning
Anthrax
Expressions Peculiar to Animals
Rabies Hydrophobia
Glanders
Tuberculosis
Lockjaw
Pox Variola
Lump jaw
Horse Ail
Epizootic
Pneumonia
Distemper
Texan Cattle Fever
Foot and Mouth Disease
Hemorrhage
General Inflammation
Catarrh
Sore Throat
Bronchitis
Heaves
Asthma
Emphysema
Lung Fever, Pneumonia
Catarrhal, Bronchial, or Lobular Pneumonia
Pleurisy
Hydrothorax
Diseases of the Heart and Blood Vessels
Disorders of Organs of Digestion
Pharyngitis
Paralysis of the Muscles of Swallowing
Choking
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
Shoeing
Parasitic Diseases

34.9 Blood Poisoning

Blood Poisoning Horses, Cattle, Sheep, and Dogs. Pyaemia and Septicemia, two very important diseased conditions of the system, are caused by the introduction into it of putrid matters from one source or another. Pyaemia is a purulent contamination of the blood, resulting in the formation of abscesses in various regions of the body. Purulent meaning that which has the character of, or consists of, pus (matter). Causes. Inflammation of bone, as induced by a blow upon it; inflammation of veins, which generally only takes place as the result of an injury to parts; certain abscesses, and certain unhealthy wounds, including particularly those about the genital organs, such as may be received by the mother at the time of the birth of the young animal. Symptoms. These, at the very beginning, are well marked; first there is a decided chill, followed by a gradual rise in the internal temperature, which generally bears a direct proportion to the degree of the chill and runs from one hundred and two, to one hundred and six. Because of the tendency to new formations of pus, at various points within the body, the chills will be occasionally and irregularly repeated; after the first two or three times of this, each chill will be followed by profuse sweating, which will be followed in their turn by a hot and dry skin. During the chill the temperature will be higher, possibly so high as one hundred and eight; it may then suddenly fall even to about normal, soon to rise again, however; and this intermittent type of temperature readings is almost peculiar to this disorder. The membranes of the eyelids are rather sallow and, later on, may become markedly jaundiced. The force of the heartbeat is markedly diminished at an early period. The pulse is frequent, small, and occasionally intermittent, having eighty or even as many as one hundred and twenty beats to the minute, in the horse, with a corresponding increase in the other animals. It does not vary with the variations of the temperature. There is great restlessness and prostration of strength which often proceeds to exhaustion. Digestion is much disturbed, diarrhea is generally present, and the discharges have a disagreeable character. Respirations are hurried, shallow, and always faster just before a chill. The appetite is lost from the first. As death approaches there is more or less delirium, shown by the animal throwing his head from side to side, or beating it upon the floor, if he is lying down. Coma gradually follows until the animal becomes entirely unconscious and dies. When internal organs become sufficiently involved to interfere with their action the fact will be evidenced in complication with the other symptoms. The duration of py2emia is variable; it is usually acute, lasting from two to ten days; occasionally a case recovers, but the termination is generally unfavorable. If death occurs within the first six or seven days it is due to the intensity of the poison; if later, to exhaustion, unless some important complication, as pneumonia, takes place. There is a form of this disease in horses, resulting from horse ail (strangles), and called bastard strangles when the disorder runs an essentially chronic course. The symptoms are much milder than in the acute form and there are sometimes intervals of apparent recovery, which, however, are usually followed by relapse and, in the end, death. Treatment. If recovery is to be hoped for at all it will follow only upon the most careful attention to the case. No such measures as bleeding, physicking, or blistering will be withstood. The great object to be gained is the purification of the blood, and sustaining the strength as well as possible while this attempt is being made. If there is a wound it should be dressed most carefully with some good disinfecting fluid, as one part of lysol to forty or fifty of water and, after it has been thoroughly cleansed, dusting the part over with finely powdered iodoform, and covering it with a little absorbent cotton and a bandage, whenever possible. Do not use iodoform on dogs unless they can be prevented from getting it into their mouths, for it is poisonous if swallowed. If there be an unopened abscess from any cause use warm linseed meal poultices, changing them twice a day until it "breaks" or is ready to be opened; then, after the open abscess has been thoroughly cleansed, treat as for a wound. There is, perhaps, no other disorder in which so large an amount of stimulants can be administered with so much benefit. Give, therefore, whiskey, rum, or brandy, in as large doses, within the prescribed limits, as the case will bear. Let the animal have good, easily digested food, as ground oats, chopped hay, in which is mixed a little cornmeal, the whole to be moistened with sufficient warm water to hold the meal to the hay. This may be given to horses, cattle and sheep, in rather small quantities, three times daily. In dogs a very small quantity, as a teaspoonful for small ones, of finely chopped raw, lean beef, may be given as often as each three hours, if it is eaten with relish; in addition to which warmed milk with lime water, with a little sopped stale bread, may be fed once or twice daily; or strong beef broth instead of the milk, if it is preferred. In fact, all of the animals may have milk or raw eggs added to the regular food, and be the better for it, at times. Pain, if present, is to be relieved by tincture of opium in doses sufficient to accomplish the object, but no more. If the case improves a little with the stimulants, and the appetite is retained fairly, sulphate of quinine will be found to be the best tonic, or, in small dogs, a pill of the citrate of iron and quinine, one grain each, will be good. If whiskey is being used with horses or cattle a medium dose of quinine may be added to each drench of the whiskey and water. And finally, the most important and difficult measure of all, the purifying of the blood, is to be attempted. For this purpose there is no better agent than the sulphite of soda, which should be used, from the first, in large doses, with just sufficient water to allow its being floated down into the stomach; say for horses and cattle, one ounce of the sulphite, in saturated solution, to be given two or three times a day. Simply stated, the remedies for this condition may be said to consist of absolute cleanliness, stimulants, nourishing food, sunlight and pure air, tonics, and the removal of all sources of further irritation, as fast and as far as may be possible. Septicemia is a constitutional disorder due to the absorption into the blood of a poisonous material which has been the product of decomposing animal matters; the introduction may be direct, as from a badly treated wound of any sort, or by the continuous absorption of foul gases. It is closely allied to that fever which follows wounds accidentally made through the skin, or certain surgical operations. Causes. Decomposing tissues which cause septic2amia may be in the body, as in gangrene of the lung; a retained and decomposing after birth; a wound within the cavity of the vagina, etc. Or on the body, as in any wound, more particularly those that have been accompanied by blows or tears, or, markedly, when an animal has been extensively burned or scalded; or outside the body, for it is said it has been introduced through the breathing apparatus, where no wound has existed. Symptoms will vary much with the amount of the poison that has been introduced into the system. They may be exceedingly urgent, or so mild as to attract but slight attention. In a well marked case there is, at first, a chill which may or may not be noticed, so slight is it; there is a rapid rise in temperature, perhaps to 106' or 107'. The pulse is frequent, 70, 80, or 90 beats in the minute; its character is thready. The respirations are feeble, hurried, and more or less labored; the membranes of the eyelids may have a slightly yellow tinge and they will be much darker red than in health. The surface of the body is hot and dry, or, if sweating occurs at all, it will be early in the attack and very slight. The appetite is lost; the animal is dull and listless with hanging head. The bowels are quite loose and their discharge offensive in about one half of the cases, in au of the severe ones. The urine is scanty and high colored. In the severe cases the animal will die in a complete state of collapse in from twenty-four to seventy-two hours, Treatment. In a fully developed case of this disorder any treatment will be unsatisfactory. The surroundings of the animal are of great importance. There must be, as nearly as possible, absolute cleanliness of the wound and of the skin and hair near it. Good air, sunshine, moderate and even temperature (about 65' F.) of the room in which he is kept. The food, if he will eat, should be strong and good: in the case of horses, cattle, and sheep, good oats; in dogs, milk, eggs, strong beef broth, or finely chopped raw beef, in very small doses, once in three hours, if it will be taken so often. Whatever food is refused should be removed at once and not replaced until the next feeding time. The local medical treatment brings up the entire question of antiseptics, in which class there are many agents now in use, any one of which will perhaps be as useful as another. Carbolic acid, one dram to one-half pint of water, except in dogs; lysol, which maybe used in dogs, as well as in the other animals, fifty drops to one. half pint of water, will be found to be all right. Whatever is used let the cleansing operation be very thorough, remembering that the object sought is to make the wound as nearly absolutely clean and antiseptic as possible and, until the wound remains clean, the dressing should be done at least twice, or in some. cases, where the discharge is considerable, three times a day. If, after a fair amount of cleanliness has been attained, the wound looks pale or "indolent," it may have, with advantage, . thin sprinkling of finely powdered iodoform, put on just after the cleansing process has been finished. The constitutional treatment is but to repeat, largely, the directions given for pyoemia, with this difference, however, the bowel,9 should be freely acted upon, throughout the attack, by epsom salts. Then, in dogs, brandy; in horses, cattle or sheep, whiskey or rum, in good doses. This is to be substantiated by such tonics as quinine or salicylic acid, given in the proper doses for each animal. The sulphite of soda should be used as recommended for pyoemia, in good full doses, given three or four times daily.

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