Special Report on Diseases of Cattle
by U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Transcriber's note: Minor typos have been corrected, tables have been modified where necessary to fit within the constraints of a text file, and footnotes have been moved to the ends of the sections. Inconsistencies in spelling (e.g., D'Arboval/D'Arborval) and hyphenation (e.g., postmortem/post-mortem) have been resolved in all cases where it was possible to divine the author's intent with a reasonable degree of certainty. The occasional error which could not be resolved was marked [sic]. Italicized letters and words are enclosed by underscores. Subscripts are represented by an underscore and curly braces: {2} (for example, SiO{2}). Ligatures which cannot be reproduced in the Latin-1 character set are enclosed in [brackets] (for example, C[oe]nurus).

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[Extract from "An act making appropriations for the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1924, and for other purposes," approved February 26, 1923. Public—No. 446.]

For printing, binding, and distribution of the publications entitled "Diseases of the Horse" and "Diseases of Cattle," $200,000: Provided, That said publications shall be deposited one-third in the folding room of the Senate and two-thirds in the folding room of the House of Representatives, and said documents shall be distributed by Members of the Senate and House of Representatives.


Administration of medicines. By LEONARD PEARSON 7

Diseases of the digestive organs. By A. J. MURRAY 12

Poisons and poisoning. By V. T. ATKINSON 51

Diseases of the heart, blood vessels, and lymphatics. By W. H. HARBAUGH 73

Noncontagious diseases of the organs of respiration. By WILLIAM HERBERT LOWE 87

Diseases of the nervous system. By W. H. HARBAUGH 101

Diseases of the urinary organs. By JAMES LAW 113

Diseases of the generative organs. By JAMES LAW 147

Diseases following parturition. By JAMES LAW 214

Diseases of young calves. By JAMES LAW 247

Bones: Diseases and accidents. By V. T. ATKINSON 264

Surgical operations. By WILLIAM DICKSON and WILLIAM HERBERT LOWE 289

Tumors affecting cattle. By JOHN R. MOHLER 303

Diseases of the skin. By M. R. TRUMBOWER 320

Diseases of the foot. By M. R. TRUMBOWER 335

Diseases of the eye and its appendages. By M. R. TRUMBOWER 340

Diseases of the ear. By M. R. TRUMBOWER 355

Infectious diseases of cattle. Revised by JOHN R. MOHLER 358

The animal parasites of cattle. By B. H. RANSOM 502

Mycotic stomatitis of cattle. By JOHN R. MOHLER 532

Index 538


PLATES. Page. PLATE I. Position of the first stomach (rumen or paunch) 48

II. Stomachs of ruminants 48

III. Instruments used in treating diseases of digestive organs 48

IV. Microscopic anatomy of the liver 48

V. Ergot in hay 48

VI. Ergotism 48

VII. Diagram of the circulation of the blood 86

VIII. Position of the lung 90

IX. Kidney and male generative and urinary organs 145

X. Microscopic anatomy of the kidney 145

XI. Calculi of kidney and bladder 146

XII. Fetal calf within its membranes 210

XIII. Pregnant uterus with cotyledons 210

XIV. Vessels of umbilical cord 211

XV. Normal position of calf in utero 211

XVI. Abnormal positions of calf in utero 211

XVII. Abnormal positions of calf in utero 211

XVIII. Abnormal positions of calf in utero; surgical instruments and sutures 212

XIX. Monstrosities 212

XX. Instruments used in difficult labor 212

XXI. Instruments used in difficult labor 213

XXII. Supports for prolapsed uterus 246

XXIII. Supports for prolapsed uterus 246

XXIV. Instruments used in diseases following parturition 246

XXV. Skeleton of the cow 282

XXVI. Devices for casting cattle 302

XXVII. Surgical instruments and sutures 302

XXVIII. Various bacteria which produce disease in cattle 360

XXIX. Upper or dorsal surface of the lungs of the ox 368

XXX. Broncho-pneumonia 368

XXXI. Contagious pleuro-pneumonia 368

XXXII. Contagious pleuro-pneumonia 368

XXXIII. Foot-and-mouth disease 384

XXXIV. Tuberculosis of the lungs of cattle 416

XXXV. Tuberculosis of the liver 416

XXXVI. Tuberculosis of lymph gland and of omentum (caul) 416

XXXVII. Fig. 1.—Tuberculosis of sirloin and porterhouse cuts of beef. Fig. 2.—Tuberculosis of pleura of cow, so-called "pearly disease" 416

XXXVIII. Tuberculosis of cow's udder 416

XXXIX. Actinomycosis 450

XL. Actinomycosis of the jaw 450

XLI. Actinomycosis of the lungs 450

XLII. Section of muscle from a blackleg swelling 464

XLIII. Necrotic stomatitis (calf diphtheria) 464

XLIV. Normal spleen and spleen affected by Texas fever 504

XLV. Texas fever 504

XLVI. The cattle tick (Margaropus annulatus), the carrier of Texas fever 504

XLVII. The cattle tick (Margaropus annulatus) 504

XLVIII. Portion of a steer's hide showing the Texas fever tick (Margaropus annulatus) 504

XLIX. Fig. 1.—Tick-infested steer. Fig. 2.—Dipping cattle to kill ticks 504

L. Facsimile of poster comparing ticky and tick-free cattle 504


FIG. 1. Hornfly (Haematobia serrata) in resting position 504

2. Hornflies (Haematobia serrata) on cow horn 505

3. Buffalo gnat 506

4. Screw worm (larva of Chrysomyia macellaria) 506

5. Screw-worm fly (Chrysomyia macellaria) 507

6. The warble fly (Hypoderma lineata) 508

7. Short-nosed blue louse (Haematopinus eurysternus) of cattle 512

8. Long-nosed blue louse (Haematopinus vituli) of cattle 512

9. Red louse (Trichodectes scalaris) of cattle 513

10. Egg of short-nosed blue louse (Haematopinus eurysternus) attached to a hair 513

11. Mite which causes psoroptic scab of sheep 514

12. Portion of the wall of the first stomach with conical flukes (Paramphistomum cervi) attached 519

13. Twisted stomach worms (Haemonchus contortus) 519

14. Twisted stomach worms (Haemonchus contortus) enlarged 520

15. Embryo of twisted stomach worm (Haemonchus contortus) coiled on tip of grass blade 521

16. A drenching tube made from an ordinary tin funnel, a piece of rubber hose, and a piece of brass pipe 522

17. Piece of lining of fourth stomach showing cysts of the encysted stomach worm (Ostertatia ostertagi) 523

18. A tapeworm (Moniezia planissima) which infests cattle 524

19. The common liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) 526

20. The large American fluke (Fasciola magna) 526

21. Portion of grass stalk bearing three encysted cercariae of the common liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) 527

22. Hydatids (Echinococcus granulosus) in portion of hog's liver 528

23. Thin-necked bladder worm (Taenia hydatigena) from abdominal cavity of a steer 529

24. Lung worms (Dictyocaulus viviparus) of cattle 530






Medicines may be administered to cattle in many ways. The channel and method of administration depend on whether a general or local effect is desired, the condition of the animal, and the nature of the medicine that is to be given. The easiest method, and therefore the most common, is to give ordinary remedies by the mouth with the food, with drink, or separately. There, are, however, some conditions in which medicines administered in this way will not act promptly enough, or wherein a desired effect of the medicine on a distant part of the body is wholly lacking unless it is applied in some other way.

The various methods of administering medicines to cattle will be considered below.

BY THE MOUTH.—The simplest way to give medicines by the mouth is to mix them with the food or water. This can be done when the medicine is in the form of a powder or fluid, if but a small quantity is to be given, if it does not have a taste that is disagreeable to the animal and is not so irritant as to injure the lining membranes of the mouth and throat.

The usual method of administering bulky or unpalatable doses is to mix them with a fluid vehicle, such as water, milk, molasses, or broth, and give from a bottle. A dose given in this way is known as a "drench." In administering a drench the head of the animal should be elevated a little by an assistant. This is best accomplished when standing on the left side of the cow's head and by grasping the nose with the thumb and fingers of the right hand inserted in the nostrils; with the left hand beneath the chin the head is further raised and supported. If the animal is unruly, it may be tied in a stall or placed in a stanchion. The medicine can now be poured into the mouth by inserting the neck of the bottle between the lips on the right side. Care must be taken to avoid getting the bottle between the back teeth. The mouth of the bottle should be inserted as far as the middle of the tongue and the contents poured slowly. If the cow coughs, the head must at once be lowered to permit the fluid to escape from the larynx. If medicine is given during coughing, some of the dose may pass down the windpipe to the lungs and cause a severe or a fatal pneumonia. This is especially to be guarded against when the throat is partly paralyzed or insensitive, as in parturient paresis (milk fever). In this disease it has often happened that drenches have been poured into the lungs, thus killing the cow.

The quantity of fluid to be given in a drench depends upon the effect desired and the nature of the medicine. In impactions of the stomach very large quantities of fluid may be given—as much as a gallon or several gallons at a time. Usually, however, it is not customary or desirable to give more than from 1 to 2 quarts at a dose, and not more than a pint unless it is necessary on account of the irritant quality of the drug that has to be shielded with a large quantity of the vehicle.

Soluble medicines should be completely dissolved before they are given; insoluble ones should be finely divided by powdering or by shaking, and should be well agitated and mixed immediately before they are given. In the latter case a menstruum with considerable body, such as molasses or flaxseed tea or milk, will help to hold solids or oils in suspension until swallowed.

Balls are large pills adapted for the larger animals. Powders or gums are sometimes mixed with an adhesive substance and rolled into balls for the purpose of convenience of administration. Balls are not used so much and are not so well adapted to the medication of cattle as of horses. The process of solution is slower in the paunch of a cow than in the stomach of a horse; if the cow is so sick as to have stopped ruminating, a ball may get covered up and lost in the mass of material in the paunch and so lie for days, producing no effect whatever.

Capsules are shells or envelopes made of soluble gelatin in which powders or liquids may be inclosed. Capsules and balls are administered by being placed on the tongue well back in the mouth while the tongue is drawn forward and the mouth is held open by a block of wood between the back teeth. The ball should be dropped, the tongue released, and the block removed as nearly simultaneously as possible, so that the backward carriage of the tongue will throw the ball into the throat and lead to its being swallowed. In introducing the ball care must be taken to avoid having the hand cut or crushed. After a little experience it is possible to do away with the block of wood.

BY THE STOMACH.—Medicines are introduced directly into the first stomach by the use of an esophageal tube or through the cannula of a trocar passed into the paunch through the side. This method is used in the treatment of diseases of digestion.

BY THE RECTUM.—Medicines are usually administered by the rectum for the purpose of controlling the bowels and for the treatment of local diseases. Sometimes, however, medicines that have a general effect are given in this way when, for any reason, it is not possible or convenient to give them through the mouth. Only drugs that are readily absorbed should be given per rectum for a general effect and in somewhat larger dose or more frequently than when given by the mouth. Such stimulants as ether, alcohol, or the aromatic spirits of ammonia, diluted with from four to six times their bulk of warm water, may be used in this way.

Rectal injections, or enemata, are used in the treatment of constipation. If it is the purpose of the injection to soften hardened fecal masses, the water should be comfortably warm and may have a little clean soap in it. If it is the purpose of the injection to stimulate sluggish bowels to contraction, the water may be cold.

In giving rectal injections a rectal syringe may be used, or, better, a piece of one-half to three-quarter inch rubber hose 5 feet long with a tin funnel attached to one end. The hose is soaped or oiled and introduced slowly and gently into the rectum 2 or 3 feet. The fluid is then slowly poured into the funnel and allowed to gravitate into the rectum. The same apparatus may be used for feeding by the rectum.

BY THE VAGINA.—Medicines are inserted into the vagina, and through the vagina into the womb, in a manner similar to that of rectal administration. Most of the medication made use of in this way is for the local treatment of these organs. Following calving, during outbreaks of abortion, and in an infectious disease of the vagina, such injections become necessary.

BY THE UDDER.—Injections into the udder are now regularly made in the treatment of parturient paresis (milk fever). For this purpose a 1 per cent solution of iodid of potassium is commonly employed, although some other solutions and oxygen gas are also used. In making this injection so many precautions are necessary in relation to the sterilization of the apparatus and the teats and skin that this work should be left to a skilled veterinarian. The introduction of even a minute quantity of infectious dirt may cause the loss of the udder. For making this injection one may use one of the prepared sets of apparatus or a milking tube and funnel connected by a piece of small rubber hose. The apparatus should be boiled and kept wrapped in a clean towel until needed. The udder and teats and the hands of the operator must be well disinfected, and the solution must be freshly made with recently boiled water kept in a sterile bottle. The udder should be emptied of milk before the injection is made. After all these precautions have been observed the milking tube may be inserted and through it one-half pint of solution introduced by gravity air pressure or by syringe. There is practically no danger in this mode of treatment if it is properly carried out.

Injections into the udder are sometimes made in the treatment of garget, but so far with indifferent success.

BY THE NOSTRILS.—An animal may be caused to inhale medicine in the form of gas or vapor or to snuff up a fine powder. Sometimes, for the purpose of local treatment, fluids are injected into the nose.

A medicine inhaled may have either a local or a general effect.

Medicated steam, carrying the volatile products of compound cresol solution, carbolic acid, balsam of Peru, compound tincture of benzoin, tincture of iodin, etc., may be liberated beneath the nostrils of a cow so that she must inhale these soothing vapors; but such treatment is not so common for cattle as for horses. In producing general anesthesia, or insensibility to pain, the vapor of chloroform or ether is administered by the nostrils. As a preliminary to this it is necessary to cast and confine the animal. Great care is necessary to avoid complete stoppage of the heart or breathing.

BY THE TRACHEA.—Medicines are injected into the trachea, or windpipe, in the treatment of some forms of diseases of the lungs, and especially in that form of bronchitis or pneumonia that is caused by lungworms. For this injection a large hypodermic syringe, fitted with a very thick, strong needle, is used. The needle is to be inserted about the middle of the neck and between the cartilaginous rings of the trachea.

BY THE SKIN.—Although a number of drugs, notably mercury, are so readily absorbed by the skin of cattle as to render poisoning easy, medicines are not given in this way for their general or constitutional but only for their local effect.

Diseases of the skin and superficial parasites are treated or destroyed by applications in the forms of washes, ointments, dips, and powders. Liniments and lotions are applied to the skin for the relief of some near-lying part, such as a muscle, tendon, or joint. Blisters are applied to the skin for the purpose of obtaining the effect of counterirritation upon a neighboring region or organ. Cold water may be applied to the skin to reduce the temperature and to diminish congestion or inflammation in a superficial area or to reduce the temperature of the whole body. High fever and heat strokes are treated in this way.

BY THE TISSUE BENEATH THE SKIN.—Hypodermic or subcutaneous injections are often made for the purpose of introducing a drug, reagent, or vaccine directly into the connecting tissue beneath the skin. Introduced in this way, the substance is quickly absorbed, none of it is lost, and its whole effect is obtained, often within a few minutes.

There are numerous precautions necessary in making a subcutaneous injection, most of which have to do with cleansing and sterilization. It is also important to select a proper site for the injection, so that blood vessels, joints, and superficial nerves, organs, or cavities may all be avoided. With due regard for the necessary precautions, there is practically no danger in such an injection, but it should be attempted only by those who are able to carry it through in a surgically clean way. Only certain drugs can be given subcutaneously, and dosage must be accurately graduated.

BY THE VEINS.—Certain medicines act most promptly and surely when introduced directly into the blood by injecting them into a vein, usually the jugular. Some vaccines and antitoxins are administered in this way. Intravenous injection should be practiced only by experienced veterinarians.


By A. J. MURRAY, M. R. C. V. S.

[Revised by R.W. HICKMAN, V. M. D.]


Diseases of the digestive organs are very common among cattle, and may often be traced to defects in feeding. The first three stomachs of the larger ruminants hold the feed for a long time, during which period it is subjected to macerating, mixing, and straining processes in preparation for entrance into the fourth or true stomach. The straining is accomplished through the medium of the manyplies or book, while the paunch, or rumen, with its adjunct, the waterbag, is concerned in the macerating, kneading, and mixing, as well as in regurgitation for rumination or the chewing of the cud. The action of the first three stomachs is merely preparatory to digestion. Thus it would seem that as a result of their complex anatomical and functional arrangement the feed of the ox, when of good quality and wholesome, is in the most favorable condition possible for the digestive process when it reaches the fourth stomach, where true digestion first takes place. The location and arrangement of the stomachs are shown in Plates I and II.

If the feed is of improper character, or is so given that it can not be cared for by the animal in a normal way, false fermentations arise, causing indigestion, and possibly, later, organic disease. In feeding cattle there are a number of important considerations apart from the economy of the ration, and some of these are noted below.

Feeds must not be damaged by exposure to the weather, by frost, by molds, or by deleterious fermentations.

Damaged feeds retard or prevent digestion, and sometimes they contain or cause to be generated substances that irritate the digestive tract, or are distinctly poisonous to the animal. For example, hay that was rained on severely during curing has not only lost a part of its nutritive value through a washing-out process, but what remains is not so readily available as in good hay. Roots that have been frozen are likely to irritate and injure the digestive tract. Grass eaten with frost on it may cause severe indigestion. All moldy feeds are not injurious, for some molds appear to have no influence on the process of digestion, but those of other species may not only retard digestion and cause local injury to the digestive organs, but may cause general poisoning of a severe and fatal type.

The following molds have been shown (Dammann) to be dangerous in respect to the production of the morbid conditions enumerated:

Tilletia caries grows chiefly in wheat and may be found with the grain, thus appearing in the bran or meal. It causes paralysis of the throat and spinal cord and irritation of the digestive tract. The rusts, such as Puccinia graminis, P. straminis, P. Coronata, and P. arudinacea, cause colic and diarrhea, and in some cases partial paralysis of the throat. The rusts that occur on clovers, beans, and peas cause very severe irritation of the lining membrane of the mouth and throat, resulting sometimes in gangrene of this tissue.

Polydesmus exitans grows on the leaves of rape and turnips, appearing in early summer. This fungus is very irritating to the mouths and feet of cattle, causing severe inflammation and the formation of a false membrane. In some instances this condition has been mistaken for foot-and-mouth disease, but it can be differentiated by the absence of the blister that is characteristic of that disease and by the further fact that it is nontransmissible.

Polytrincium trifolii, which grows on clover, causing it to become black, causes severe irritation of the stomach and intestines of cattle feeding upon it.

Feeds must not contain too large a proportion of woody fiber or of indigestible substances. If the dry matter ingested or the bulk of the feed is very great on account of the small proportion of digestible matter, it is impossible for the great mass to be moistened properly with and attacked by the digestive juices. In consequence of this, abnormal fermentations arise, causing indigestion and irritation of the digestive organs. On the other hand, a ration too concentrated, and especially too rich in protein, is not suitable, because, after a meal, the animal must have a certain feeling of fullness in order to be comfortable and quiet, and the digestive organs require a relatively large volume of contents to fill them to the point where secretion is properly stimulated and their activity is most efficient. If too much protein is in the ration there is a waste of expensive feed, and the tendency is for the animal to become thin. It is evident that a cow can not thrive on concentrated feeds alone, even though these contain in assimilable form all the nutritive materials needed for perfect support. It is because bulk is necessary that the standard of about 25 pounds of dry matter per cow per day has been reached by experimenters. There is no objection to feeding grain or meal separately to a cow, provided enough bulky feed is fed at another time in the day to keep the digestive tract sufficiently distended.

In changing the ration, and especially in making radical changes, as at the beginning and the end of the pasturing season, the change should be made gradually, so that the digestive organs may accommodate themselves to it. After the digestive organs and juices have from long practice become adjusted to the digestion of a certain feed, which is then suddenly withheld and another of quite different character and properties is substituted, the second feed is not well digested; it may even irritate the digestive canal. It is often observed that cattle lose from 25 to 100 pounds when turned on pasture from dry stable feed. This loss can readily be prevented by not shocking the digestive organs by a sudden change of diet.

Regularity in feeding has much to do with the utilization of the ration, and gross irregularity may cause indigestion and serious disease.

Water for live stock should be as free from contamination and as nearly pure as that used for household purposes. When practicable it is well to warm the water in the winter to about 50 deg. F. and allow cattle to drink often.



The lips may become inflamed from contusions, which are sometimes produced by a blow from the horns of another animal, or, in the case of working oxen, by a blow from the driver. While cattle are grazing, more especially when they are in woods, they may be bitten in the lips by insects or serpents.

Symptoms.—As a result of a contusion the lips become thick and swollen, and if treatment is neglected the swelling may become hard and indurated, or an abscess may form. This condition renders it difficult for the animal to get food into its mouth, on account of the lips having lost their natural flexibility. In such cases an ox will use his tongue more in the prehension of food to make up for the incapacity of the lips. In cases of snake bite the swelling is soft or puffy and its limits are not well defined.

Treatment.—When we have to deal with a bruise, the affected part should be bathed with hot water two or three times daily. In recent cases no other treatment will be required, but if the swelling is not recent and has become hard or indurated, then the swollen part should be treated each day by painting it with tincture of iodin. In snake bite a straight incision penetrating into the flesh or muscle should be made across the center of the swelling and in the direction of the long axis of the face. After this has been done a small wad of cotton batting should be pressed against the wounds until the bleeding has almost stopped. Afterwards the following lotion may be applied to the wounds several times a day: Permanganate of potassium, half a dram; distilled water, 1 pint. As snake bites are usually attended with considerable depression, which may terminate in stupor, it is advisable to give a stimulant. One ounce of aromatic spirits of ammonia mixed with a pint of water should be given, and the dose should be repeated in half an hour if the animal is sinking into a stupefied and unconscious condition. The repetition of the dose must depend on the symptoms which the animal shows. It must be borne in mind that the object of treatment is to ward off the stupor, which is one of the results of snake bite. The swelling from an insect bite should be bathed with ammonia water as soon as noticed and then treated with frequent applications of hot water.


Salivation is a symptom of some general or local disorder. It may be a symptom of a general disease, such as rabies or foot-and-mouth disease, or it may be a purely local trouble, as when copious secretion of the salivary glands is produced by the eating of irritating plants, such as wild mustard. When saliva is observed to dribble from the mouth, that part should be carefully examined by introducing into the mouth an instrument like a balling iron, or, if one is not at hand, by grasping the tongue and partially withdrawing it from the mouth, and by placing a block of wood between the back teeth, while all parts of the mouth are exposed to a good light, so that the presence of any foreign substance may be detected. The cause is sometimes found to be a short piece of wood becoming fixed on the palate, its two ends resting on the upper molar teeth of each side; or it may be a needle, thorn, or splinter of wood embedded in the tongue. Sometimes a sharp piece of tin or other metal may become partially embedded in the inner surface of the cheek. Hay occasionally possesses some quality, usually dependent upon its having heated in the mow or having become moldy, which produces salivation. Second-crop clover and some irritant weeds in the pasture or forage may cause salivation. Cattle rubbed with mercurial ointment may swallow enough mercury in licking themselves to bring about the same result. (See "Mercury poisoning," p. 57.) Such cases, of course, arise from the constitutional action of mercury, and, on account of the common habit which the animals have of licking themselves, indicate the danger of using such preparation externally. Mercury is also readily absorbed through the skin, and as cattle are very susceptible to its action it is thus easy for them to be poisoned by it even without licking it from the surface. Cases of mercurial poisoning sometimes follow disinfection of cattle stables with the usual 1 to 1,000 solution of mercuric chlorid.

Treatment.—If salivation depends on the irritation and inflammation set up by the ingestion of acrid plants, or forage possessing some peculiar stimulating property, the feed must be changed, and a lotion composed of an ounce of powdered alum dissolved in a quart of water may be syringed into the mouth twice a day, using half a pint of the solution each time. If, however, the salivation is due to the presence of a thorn, splinter of wood, or any other foreign substance embedded in the cheek or tongue, the offending object should be removed and the mouth washed occasionally with a weak solution (2 per cent) of carbolic acid and tepid water. When salivation is produced by mercurial poisoning or by foot-and-mouth disease, the treatment appropriate to those general conditions of the system, as well as the local treatment should be applied. (For information about foot-and-mouth disease see p. 383.)


Irregularities of the teeth may be occasioned by the unequal wearing of some of the teeth or by some of the incisors being broken, which may happen when cattle are pastured on sandy or gravelly soil. The molar teeth may also show irregular wear from similar causes, or from a disease or malformation of the jaw. Their edges may become sharp, or it may happen that a molar tooth has been accidentally fractured. It may also occur that a supernumerary tooth has developed in an unusual position, and that it interferes with the natural and regular mastication of the feed.

Treatment.—The mouth may be examined by grasping the animal's tongue with one hand and partially withdrawing it from the mouth, so as to expose the incisor and molar teeth to inspection. When it is desired, however, to examine the molar teeth with the fingers, so as to obtain a better idea of their condition, an instrument like the balling iron which is used for the horse should be introduced into the mouth, so as to separate the jaws and keep them apart while the examination is being made. Any sharp edges of the molars must be removed by the tooth rasp, such as is used for horses. Any supernumerary tooth which interferes with mastication or any tooth which is fractured or loose should be extracted. In performing such operations it is desirable to throw, or cast, the animal, and to have its head held securely, so as to enable the operator to do what is necessary without difficulty.


The presence of caries may be suspected if the mouth exhales a bad odor and if the animal during mastication occasionally stops as if it were in pain. The existence of caries in a molar tooth may be ascertained by examining the mouth in the manner already described. If one of the molars is found to be carious, it should be extracted. When the crown of the tooth has been destroyed and only the stump or root is left, extraction is impracticable. In case the animal has special value the root stumps may be removed by a veterinarian by the operation of trephining; otherwise, it is best to sell the animal to the butcher.


[See Actinomycosis, p. 440.]


The membrane of the mouth may become inflamed by eating some irritating substance or plant, or little vesicles may form in the mouths of calves when they are affected with indigestion, constituting what is termed aphtha.

Symptoms.—The saliva dribbles from the mouth, and when the mouth is examined the surface of the tongue and other parts appear red and inflamed. When young animals are affected with the form of disease termed aphtha, small red elevations are observed on the tongue and other parts of the mouth, having little white points on their centers, which consist of the epithelium of the mucous membrane raised into vesicles. These white patches are succeeded by ulcerated surfaces, which are caused by the shedding of the white patches of epithelium.

Treatment.—When there is merely a reddened and inflamed condition of the mucous membrane of the mouth, it will suffice to syringe it out several times a day with 4 ounces of the following solution: Alum, 1 ounce; water, 2 pints. When the edges of the tongue and other parts of the mouth are studded with ulcers, they should be painted over once a day with the following solution until the affected surface is healed: Permanganate of potassium, 20 grains; water, 1 ounce. When indigestion is associated with an ulcerated condition of the mouth, separate treatment is required.


[See Necrotic stomatitis, p. 464.]


[See p. 532.]


[See Actinomycosis, p. 440.]



Pharyngitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the pharynx. It is frequently associated with inflammatory diseases of the respiratory tract, such as laryngitis and bronchitis or pleurisy.

Symptoms.—The muzzle is dry and the saliva dribbles from the corners of the mouth; the animal swallows with difficulty or not at all, and holds its neck in a stiff, straight position, moving it as little as possible. The eyelids are half closed, the white of the eye is bloodshot, and the animal occasionally grinds its teeth. After masticating the feed the animal drops it out of its mouth as if to avoid the pain of swallowing, and also evinces pain when pressure is applied externally on the pharynx and tries to prevent the pressure from being applied.

Causes.—Pharyngitis may be produced by a sudden cooling of the surface of the body, as when cattle are exposed to a cold wind or a cold rain; or by swallowing irritant substances.

Treatment.—The throat should be syringed three times a day with an ounce of the following solution: Nitrate of silver, 1-1/2 drams; distilled water, 1 pint. Bland and soothing drinks, such as linseed tea or oatmeal and water should occasionally be offered. Diet should consist of soft food, such as bran mashes with a little linseed meal mixed in them. Dry hay and fodder should not be given. Fresh, green grass or sound ensilage may be fed in small quantities. The upper part of the throat and the space between the jaws should be well rubbed once a day with the following liniment: Liquor ammonia fortior, 4 ounces; oil of turpentine, 4 ounces; olive oil, 4 ounces; mix. When evidence of blistering appears the application of the liniment should be stopped and the skin anointed with vaseline. Under the treatment described above the inflammation of the throat will gradually subside and the animal will be able to swallow as usual in five or six days. We need hardly say that during its treatment the sick animal should be kept in a comfortable stable.


Inflammation of the parotid gland may arise from the inflammation extending to it when an ox is affected with pharyngitis or laryngitis, or the inflammation may commence in the salivary ducts and may depend on some influence the nature of which is unknown. Parotitis sometimes arises from a blow or contusion severe enough to set up inflammation in the structure of the gland. Tuberculosis and actinomycosis may infrequently be characterized by the lodgment of their parasitic causes in the parotid glands, in which case parotitis may be a symptom of either of these diseases.

Symptoms.—There is an elongated, painful swelling, beginning at the base of the ear and passing downward along the posterior margin of the lower jaw. The swelling is sometimes limited to one side, and when both are swollen it is generally larger on one side than on the other. The secretion of saliva is increased, the appetite is poor, the neck is stiff, so that it is painful to raise the head, and feed is swallowed with difficulty. In many cases the swelling of the glands, when submitted to proper treatment, disappears in a comparatively short time. In other cases, however, they remain enlarged, even after the animal recovers its appetite. In tuberculosis, lymphatic glands beneath the parotid glands are sometimes enlarged, thus causing the appearance of enlarged parotid glands.

Treatment.—A warm bran poultice, made by mixing bran with a hot 2 per cent compound cresol solution in water, should be applied on the swollen gland and kept in place by means of a bandage. Whenever the poultice has cooled it should be replaced by a new one. This treatment should be continued until the pain is less and the swelling is reduced or until there is evidence of pus formation, which may be ascertained by examining the surface of the gland with the fingers; and when, on pressing any part of the surface, it is found to fluctuate or "give," then we may conclude that there is a collection of pus at that place. It is well not to open the abscess until the fluctuation is well marked, as at this stage the pus or matter is near the surface and there is less trouble in healing the wound than if the pus is deep seated. The abscess should be opened with a clean, sharp knife. The poulticing should then be continued for two or three days, but the form of the poultice should be changed, by replacing the bran with absorbent cotton and pouring the compound cresol solution on the cotton. At all times the wound should be kept clean and the cavity injected once or twice daily with a solution of 1 dram of carbolic acid in 8 ounces of water. Under this treatment the pus may cease and the wound heal without complications. Saliva may issue from the orifice and result in the formation of a salivary fistula. This requires operative treatment by a qualified veterinarian. When poulticing fails to reduce the swelling or produce softening, the inflamed area may be rubbed once daily with camphorated oil, compound iodin ointment, or painted twice daily with Lugol's solution of iodin. The diet should be as recommended under Pharyngitis (p. 17).


Tumors form not infrequently in the pharynx, and may give rise to a train of symptoms varying according to their size and location. The tumor may be so situated that by shifting its position a little it may partially obstruct the posterior nares (nostrils), when, of course, it will render nasal breathing very noisy and labored. In another situation its partial displacement may impede the entrance of air into the larynx. In almost any part of the pharynx, but especially near the entrance of the gullet, tumors interfere with the act of swallowing. As they are frequently attached to the wall of the pharynx by a pedicel or stalk, it will be seen that they may readily be displaced in different directions so as to produce the symptoms before described. Enlarged postpharyngeal lymphatic glands are not rare in tuberculosis, and by pressing upon the wall of the pharynx and restricting the lumen of this organ they cause difficulty in both breathing and swallowing. Such enlarged glands may be differentiated from tumors by passing the hand into the cow's throat after the jaws are separated by a suitable speculum or gag.

Treatment.—The method of treatment in such cases is to separate the animal's jaws with an instrument termed a gag, and then, after drawing the tongue partially forward, to pass the hand into the pharynx and to twist the tumor gently from its attachment. One veterinarian who has had considerable practice in treating this form of disease scrapes through the attachment of the tumor gradually with his thumb nail. When the attachment is too strong to be severed in this way an instrument like a thimble, but possessing a sharp edge at the end, may be used to effect the same purpose, or the base of the tumor may be severed by the use of a crushing instrument known as an ecraseur.


Choking usually happens from attempting to swallow too large an object, such as a turnip, potato, beet, apple, or pear, though in rare cases it may occur from bran, chaff, or some other finely divided feed lodging in and filling up a portion of the gullet. This latter form of the accident is most likely to occur in animals that are greedy feeders.

Symptoms.—The symptoms vary somewhat according to the part of the gullet or throat in which the obstruction is. In most cases there is a discharge of saliva from the mouth; the animal coughs frequently, and when it drinks the water is soon ejected. The cow stops eating and stands back from the trough, the expression is troubled, breathing is accelerated, and oftentimes there is bloating as a result of the retention of gas in the paunch. These symptoms, however, are not always present, for if the obstacle does not completely close the throat or gullet, gas and water may pass, thus ameliorating the discomfort. If the obstruction is in the neck portion of the gullet, it may be felt as a lump in the left jugular gutter.

Treatment.—If the object is in the throat, it is advisable to put a gag in the animal's mouth, and, while the head is held in a horizontal direction by two assistants, to pass the hand into the pharynx, grasp the foreign body, and withdraw it gradually and steadily. When the substance is lodged in the upper part of the gullet, pressure should be made by an assistant in an upward direction against the object while the operator passes his hand into the pharynx, and if the assistant can not by pressure dislodge the substance from the gullet, the operator may by passing his middle finger above and partly behind the substance gradually slide it into the pharynx and then withdraw it by the mouth.

The presence of an obstructing substance in the cervical (neck) portion of the gullet may be ascertained by passing the hand along the left side of the neck, when a hard and painless swelling will be found to indicate the presence of the foreign body. In such cases we must endeavor by gentle and persevering pressure with the thumb and next two fingers to slide the obstructing substance gradually upward to the pharynx. To facilitate this it is well to give the animal a half pint of raw linseed or olive oil before the manipulations described are commenced. When the substance has been brought into or nearly into the pharynx, then the mouth gag should be used, the tongue drawn partially forward with the left hand, and the right should be passed backward into the pharynx to withdraw the obstruction.

When bran or chaff causes the trouble it is best to give a small quantity of oil to lubricate the walls of the gullet, and then by gentle and persevering pressure, to endeavor to separate and divide the mass and to work it downward toward the stomach. This will be assisted by pouring small quantities of oil and water down the animal's throat. It is not advisable to use the probang to push down any soft material, such as oats or chaff, as this generally condenses and renders firmer the obstructing substance by pressing its particles or elements together, so that it forms a solid, resisting mass which can not be moved.

In some cases the foreign body, either because it is in the chest portion of the esophagus, and so beyond reach, or because too firmly seated, can not be dislodged from the neck by pressing and manipulating that part externally. In such event we must resort to the use of the probang. (Pl. III, figs. 2 and 3.) A probang is a flexible instrument and adapts itself to the natural curvature of the gullet, and if used cautiously there is not much risk of injury. Before passing the probang, a gag which has an aperture at each end, from which straps pass to be buckled at the back of the head below the horns, is introduced into the mouth. (Pl. III, fig. 4.) The probang should then be oiled, and, the head and neck being held in a straight line by two assistants, the tongue must be partly drawn out of the mouth, the probang cautiously passed along the roof of the mouth into the pharynx and thence into the gullet, through which it is passed down. If resistance is met, gentle and continuous pressure must be used, under the influence of which the object will generally in a short time pass into the stomach. One must be careful not to pass the probang into the larynx and thence into the windpipe, as an animal may readily be killed in this way. This accident is indicated by efforts to cough and by violently disturbed breathing. If such symptoms arise the probang must be withdrawn at once. To avoid a wrong passage, the end of the tube should be pressed very slowly through the throat until its presence in the esophagus is assured. After it is once in the esophagus care is still necessary, because the walls of this tube may easily be torn.

Some writers have advised that when the obstruction is lodged in the cervical (neck) portion of the gullet it should be struck with a mallet, to crush it and thus alter its shape, so that it may easily slip down into the stomach. If the obstructing substance is hard, this will be a dangerous operation, but if soft—as in the case of a ripe pear, for example—this procedure may be safely adopted.

In all cases, if pressure applied on the neck fails to move the obstruction and the probang also fails to move it, it may be divided by a subcutaneous operation, or the gullet may be opened and the obstructing substance removed through the wound. In such cases the assistance of a veterinarian or a surgeon must be obtained.


Sometimes the walls of the gullet may be more or less lacerated or abraded by the rash and too forcible use of the probang, and the animal consequently swallows with pain and difficulty. In such cases dry feed must be withheld for five or six days, so as to allow the injured parts to heal, and the diet must be limited to linseed tea, hay tea, and thin oatmeal gruel and molasses. The same kind of diet must be fed after the operation of cutting into the gullet has been performed.

Sometimes the gullet is ruptured and lacerated to such an extent that treatment of any kind is hopeless. This has been known to occur when the handle of a pitchfork or buggy whip has been pushed down a cow's throat to remove an obstruction. When such treatment has been applied it is best to slaughter the animal without delay, as the flesh may be utilized so long as there is no fever or general disease, and remedial treatment would be hopeless. In this connection it may be mentioned that whatever substitute may be used for a probang, which sometimes is not at hand, it should be flexible and should possess a smooth surface. A piece of new rope, with the end closely wrapped and waxed and then oiled, or a piece of thin garden hose, or a well-wrapped twisted wire may be used in emergencies.



Tympanites is a distention of the rumen or paunch with gases of fermentation, and is manifested outwardly by swelling in the region of the left flank.

Causes.—Tympanites may be caused by any kind of feed which produces indigestion. When cattle are first turned into young clover they eat so greedily of it that tympanites frequently results. Turnips, potatoes, cabbage, or the discarded pulp from sugar-beet factories may also cause it. Middlings and corn meal also frequently give rise to it.

Care is necessary in turning animals into fields of clover or stubble fields in which there is a strong growth of volunteer grain. It is always better to keep them from such pasturage while it is wet with dew, and they should be taken out when they have eaten a moderate quantity. When cattle are fed upon pulp from sugar beets, germinated malt, etc., they should be fed in moderate amounts until they have become accustomed to it, as any of these feeds may give rise to severe bloating.

An excessive quantity of any of the before-mentioned feeds may bring on this disorder, or it may not be caused by excess, but to eating too hastily. Sometimes the quality of the feed is at fault. Grass or clover when wet by dew or rain frequently disorders digestion and brings on tympanites; frozen roots or pastures covered with hoar frost should also be regarded as dangerous. When feed has been eaten too hastily, or when it is cold and wet, the digestive process is imperfectly performed, and the feed contained in the paunch ferments, during which process large quantities of gas are formed. The same result may follow when a cow is choked, as the obstruction in the gullet prevents the eructation or passing up of gas from the stomach, so that the gas continues to accumulate until tympanites results.

Symptoms.—The swelling of the left flank is very characteristic, as in well-marked cases the flank at its upper part rises above the level of the backbone, and when struck with the tips of the fingers emits a drum-like sound. The animal has an anxious expression, moves uneasily, and is evidently distressed. If relief is not obtained in time, it breathes with difficulty, reels in walking or in standing, and in a short time falls and dies from suffocation. The distention of the stomach may become so great as to prevent the animal from breathing, and in some instances the case may be complicated by rupture of the stomach.

Treatment.—If the case is not extreme, it may be sufficient to drive the animal at a walk for a quarter or half an hour; or cold water by the bucketful may be thrown against the cow's sides. In some cases the following simple treatment is successful: A rope or a twisted straw band is coated with pine tar, wagon grease, or other unsavory substance and is placed in the cow's mouth as a bit, being secured by tying behind the horns. The efforts of the animal to dislodge this object result in movements of the tongue, jaws, and throat that stimulate the secretion of saliva and swallowing, thus opening the esophagus, which permits the exit of gas and at the same time peristalsis is stimulated reflexly.

In urgent cases the gas must be allowed to escape without delay, and this is best accomplished by the use of the trocar. The trocar is a sharp-pointed instrument incased in a cannula or sheath, which leaves the sharp point of the trocar free. (See Pl. III, figs. 5a and 5b.) In selecting the point for using the trocar a spot on the left side equally distant from the last rib, the hip bone, and the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae must be chosen. Here an incision about three-fourths of an inch long should be made with a knife through the skin, and then the sharp point of the trocar, being directed downward, inward, and slightly forward, is thrust into the paunch. (Pl. I.) The cannula or sheath of the trocar should be left in the paunch so long as any gas continues to issue from it. If the cannula is removed while gas is still forming in the paunch and the left flank becomes considerably swollen, it may be necessary to insert it again. It is well, accordingly, to observe the cannula closely, and if gas is found to be issuing from it, it should not be removed. When gas issues from it in considerable quantities the sound accompanying its escape renders the exact condition obvious. It is occasionally necessary to keep the cannula in the stomach for several hours. When this is necessary a piece of stout cord should be passed round the neck of the cannula immediately below the projecting rim and then be passed round the animal's body and tied in a secure knot, and a careful attendant must remain with the cow during the entire period that the instrument is in place. The rim surrounding the mouth of the cannula should be in contact with the skin. Whenever the person in charge of the cow is convinced that gas has ceased to issue from the cannula the instrument should be removed.

The trocar is to be used only in extreme or urgent cases, though everyone who has had experience in treating indigestion in cattle realizes that he has saved the lives of many animals by its prompt application.

When the tympanitic animal is not distressed and the swelling of the flank is not great, or when the most distressing condition has been removed by the use of the trocar, it is best to use internal medicine. Two ounces of aromatic spirits of ammonia should be given every half hour in a quart of cold water; or half an ounce of chlorid of lime may be dissolved in a pint of tepid water and the dose repeated every half hour until the bloating has subsided; or 1 ounce of creolin in 2 quarts of tepid water may be given at one dose or carefully injected through the cannula directly into the paunch to stop fermentation and the consequent formation of gas. It is generally necessary to give a moderate dose of purgative medicine after bloating has subsided, as animals frequently show symptoms of constipation after attacks of indigestion. For this purpose 1 pound of Glauber's salt may be used.

The animal should be fed carefully upon easily digested food for several days after the bloating has subsided, so that all fermenting matter may pass out of the stomach.


Cattle, especially those that have been kept in the stable all winter, are liable to suffer from chronic tympanites. In this form they bloat up after feeding, but seldom swell so much as to cause any alarm. The chronic form of indigestion may also follow an acute attack like that previously described. This is also a symptom of tuberculosis when the lymphatic glands lying between the lungs are so enlarged as to press upon and partly occlude the esophagus. It may develop in calves as a result of the formation of hair balls in the stomach.

Treatment.—Treatment should be preceded by a moderate dose of purgative medicine: 1 pound of sulphate of magnesia (Epsom salt) or sulphate of soda (Glauber's salt), half an ounce of powdered Barbados aloes, 1 ounce of powdered ginger, 1 pint of molasses. The salts and aloes should be dissolved by stirring for a few minutes in 2 quarts of lukewarm water, then the molasses should be added, and after all the ingredients have been stirred together for about 10 minutes the dose should be administered. After the operation of the purgative it is generally necessary to give some tonic and antacid preparation to promote digestion, which is imperfectly performed in such cases. The following may be used: Powdered gentian, 3 ounces; powdered bicarbonate of potash, 3 ounces; powdered ginger, 3 ounces; powdered capsicum, 1 ounce. Mix and divide into 12 powders, one of which should be given three times a day before feeding, shaken up with a pint and a half of water. It is also advantageous in such cases to give two heaped teaspoonsfuls of wood charcoal, mixed with the animal's feed three times a day. The animal should also go out during the day, as want of exercise favors the continuance of this form of indigestion. If the dung is hard, the constipation should be overcome by feeding a little flaxseed twice daily or by giving a handful of Glauber's salt in the feed once or twice daily, as may be necessary. Roots, silage, and other succulent feeds are useful in this connection. If tuberculosis is suspected as the cause of chronic bloating, a skilled veterinarian should make a diagnosis, using the tuberculin test if necessary. Until it is settled that the cow has not tuberculosis, she should be kept apart from the other members of the herd.


This form of indigestion is caused by the animal gorging itself with feed, and arises more from the animal's voracious appetite than from any defect in the quality of the feed supplied to it. The condition is, however, more severe if the feed consumed is especially concentrated or difficult of digestion. In cases of this kind there is comparatively no great formation of gas, and the gas which is formed is diffused through the stomach instead of accumulating in a layer in its upper part. On pressing the flank with the closed fist the indent of the hand remains for a short time in the flank, as if the rumen were filled with a soft, doughy mass.

This form of indigestion should be treated by stimulants, such as aromatic spirits of ammonia.

If the formation of gas is not great and the distention with solid material is somewhat limited, the animal may be drenched through a piece of ordinary garden hose, one end inserted in the mouth, and the other end fitted with a funnel, giving 1-1/2 pounds of Epsom salt or Glauber's salt dissolved in 2 gallons of water, at a single dose. Immediately after this treatment the left side of the animal, extending below the median line of the abdomen, should be powerfully kneaded with the fist, so that the impacted food mass will be broken, allowing the water to separate it into small portions which can be carried downward for the process of digestion. But if the treatment fails and the impacted or overloaded condition of the rumen continues, it may become necessary to make an incision with a sharp, long-bladed knife in the left flank, commencing at the point where it is usual to puncture the stomach of an ox, and prolong the incision in a downward direction until it is long enough to admit the hand. When the point of the knife is thrust into the flank and the blade cuts downward, the wall of the stomach, the muscle, and the skin should all be cut through at the same time. Two assistants should hold the edges of the wound together so as to prevent any food from slipping between the flank and the wall of the stomach, and then the operator should remove two-third [sic] of the contents of the rumen. This having been done, the edges of the wound should be sponged with a little carbolized warm water, and, the lips of the wound in the rumen being turned inward, they should be brought together with catgut stitches. The wound penetrating the muscle and the skin may then be brought together by silk stitches, which should pass through the entire thickness of the muscle and should be about 1 inch apart. The wound should afterwards be dressed once a day with a lotion and the animal covered with a tight linen sheet, to protect the wound from insects and dirt. The lotion to be used in such case is made up as follows: Sulphate of zinc, 1 dram; carbolic acid, 2 drams; glycerin, 2 ounces; water, 14 ounces; mix. It is clear that this operation requires special skill and it should be attempted only by those who are competent.


It would appear quite in place here, in connection with the diseases of the stomach and bowels of cattle, to consider the three old fallacies or superstitions known by the above names, since these names, whenever and wherever used, seem to be invariably applied to some form of digestive derangement or disease having its origin in the stomach and bowels.

HOLLOW HORN.—In the first place it should be noted that the horns of all animals of the ox tribe are hollow. The horn cores are elongations of the frontal bones of the skull, and the frontal sinuses, which are the larger of the air spaces of the head, are prolonged into the horn cores. When a cow is sick, if the horns are hot it is an evidence of fever; if they are cold it indicates impaired circulation of the blood; but these manifestations of sickness are to be regarded as symptoms of some constitutional disorder and do not in themselves require treatment. The treatment should be applied to the disease which causes the abnormal temperature of the horns. The usual treatment for the supposed hollow horn, which consists in boring the horns with a gimlet and pouring turpentine into the openings thus made, is not only useless and cruel, but is liable to set up an acute inflammation and result in an abscess of the sinus.

LOSS OF CUD.—The so-called loss of cud is simply a cessation of rumination, frequently one of the first indications of some form of disease, since ruminants stop chewing the cud when they feel sick. Loss of cud is a symptom of a great many diseases, and when it is detected it should lead the observer to try to discover other symptoms upon which to base a correct opinion as to the nature of the disease from which the animal suffers. No local treatment is required.

WOLF IN THE TAIL.—This term also seems to be vaguely applied to various disturbances of the digestive function, or to some disease which is in reality in the stomach or bowels.


Vomiting is not to be confounded with rumination, though some writers have advanced the opinion that it is merely a disordered and irregular rumination. It is not of common occurrence in cattle.

Symptoms.—Animals which vomit are frequently in poor condition. After having eaten tranquilly for some time the animal suddenly becomes uneasy, arches the back, stretches the neck and head, and then suddenly ejects 10 to 12 pounds of the contents of the rumen. After having done this the uneasiness subsides and in a short time the animal resumes eating as if nothing had happened.

Cause.—The cause of this disordered state of the digestive system in cattle is usually obscure, but has in some cases been traced to a partial closure of the opening into the second stomach or to a distention of the esophagus. It has been found to occur when there was cancerous disease of the fourth stomach, and experimentally it has been shown that a suspension of digestion or great derangement of this stomach produces considerable nervous disorder of the rumen and sometimes vomiting or attempts to vomit.

TREATMENT.—Easily digested feed and plenty of water should be given. Fear and excitement, chasing, or hurrying animals after they have eaten heartily are liable to bring on this result. In order to overcome irritation which may produce vomiting the following draft should be given: Hydrate of chloral, half an ounce; water, 1 pint. The dose must be repeated when the condition of the animal seems to require it. As a rule, treatment is not successful.


Cattle suffering from this disease have a capricious and variable appetite as regards their ordinary feed but evince a strong desire to lick and eat substances for which healthy cattle show no inclination. Alkaline and saline-tasting substances are especially attractive to cattle having a depraved appetite and they frequently lick lime, earth, coal, gravel, and even the dung of other cattle. Cows in calf and young cattle are especially liable to develop these symptoms. Animals affected in this way lose condition, their coat is staring, gait slow, and small vesicles containing yellow liquid form under the tongue; the milk given by such cows is thin and watery. Such animals become restless and uneasy, as is indicated by frequent bellowing. The disease may last for months, the animal ultimately dying emaciated and exhausted. Depraved appetite frequently precedes the condition in which the bones of cattle become brittle and fracture easily, which is known as osteomalacia.

Cause.—From the fact that this disease is largely one of regions, it is generally believed that some condition of the soil and water and of the local vegetation is responsible for it. It is more prevalent some years than others, and is most common in old countries, where the soil is more or less depleted. Cattle pastured on low, swampy land become predisposed to it. It occasionally happens, however, that one individual in a herd suffers though all are fed alike; in such cases the disease must arise from the affected animal's imperfect assimilation of the nutritive elements of the feed which is supplied to it.

Treatment.—The aim in such cases must be to improve the process of digestion and to supply the animal with a sufficiency of sound and wholesome feed. The following should be given to the cow three times a day, a heaping tablespoonful constituting a dose: Carbonate of iron, 4 ounces; finely ground bone or "bone flour," 1 pound; powdered gentian, 4 ounces; common salt, 8 ounces; powdered fenugreek, 4 ounces; mix. In addition to this, 3 tablespoonfuls of powdered charcoal may be mixed with the feed three times a day, and a piece of rock salt should be placed where the animal can lick it at will. German veterinarians have had brilliant results from the treatment of this disease with subcutaneous injections of apomorphin in doses of 1-1/2 to 5 grains for three or four days.


Hair concretions, or hair balls, result from the habit which some cattle have of licking themselves or other animals. As a result the hairs which are swallowed are carried around by the contractions of the stomach and gradually assume the form of a small pellet or ball. This increases in size as fresh quantities of hair are introduced into the stomach and adhere to the surface of the ball. These balls are found most frequently in the reticulum or second stomach (Pl. II, B), though sometimes in the rumen. In calves hair balls are generally found in the fourth stomach. There are no certain symptoms by which we can determine the presence of hair balls in the stomach, and therefore no treatment can be recommended for such cases. In making post-mortem examinations of cattle we have sometimes found the walls of the reticulum transfixed with nails or pieces of wire, and yet the animal had not shown any symptoms of indigestion, but had died from maladies not involving the second stomach.


Tympanites, already described, is a form of indigestion in which the chief symptom and most threatening condition is the collection of gas in the paunch. This symptom does not always accompany indigestion, so it is well here to consider other forms under a separate head. If indigestion is long continued, the irritant abnormal products developed cause catarrh of the stomach and intestines—gastrointestinal catarrh. On the other hand, however, irritant substances ingested may cause gastrointestinal catarrh, which, in turn, will cause indigestion; hence, it results that these several conditions are usually found existing together.

Causes.—Irritant feed, damaged feed, overloading of the stomach, or sudden changes of diet may cause this disease. Want of exercise predisposes to it, or feed which is coarse and indigestible may after a time produce it. Feed which possesses astringent properties and tends to check secretion may also act as an exciting cause. Feed in excessive quantity may lead to disorder of digestion and to this disease. It is very likely to appear toward the end of protracted seasons of drought; therefore a deficiency of water must be regarded as one of the conditions which favor its development.

Symptoms.—Diminished appetite, rumination irregular, tongue coated, mouth slimy, dung passed apparently not well digested and smelling bad, dullness, and fullness of the flanks. The disease may in some cases assume a chronic character, and in addition to the foregoing symptoms slight bloating or tympanites of the left flank may be observed; the animal breathes with effort and each respiration may be accompanied with a grunt, the ears and horns are alternately hot and cold, rumination ceases, the usual rumbling sound in the stomach is not audible, the passage of dung is almost entirely suspended, and the animal passes only a little mucus occasionally. Sometimes there is alternating constipation and diarrhea. There is low fever in many cases.

The disease continues a few days or a week in the mild cases, while the severe cases may last several weeks. In the latter form the emaciation and loss of strength may be very great. There is no appetite, no rumination, nor peristalsis. The mouth is hot and sticky, the eyes have receded in their sockets, and milk secretion has ceased. In such cases the outlook for recovery is unfavorable. The patient falls away in flesh and becomes weaker, as is shown by the fact that one frequently finds it lying down.

On examining animals which have died of this disease it is found that the lining membrane of the fourth stomach and the intestines, particularly the small intestine, is red, swollen, streaked with deeper red or bluish lines, or spotted. The lining of the first three stomachs is more or less softened, and may easily be peeled off. The third stomach (psalter) contains dry feed in hard masses closely adherent to its walls.

In some cases the brain appears to become disordered, probably from the pain and weakness and from the absorption of toxins generated in the digestive canal. In such cases there is weakness and an unsteady gait, the animal does not appear to take notice of and will consequently run against obstacles; after a time it falls and gives up to violent and disordered movements. This delirious condition is succeeded by coma or stupor, and death ensues.

Treatment.—Small quantities of roots, sweet silage, or selected grass or hay should be offered several times daily. Very little feed should be allowed. Aromatic and demulcent drafts may be given to produce a soothing effect on the mucous lining of the stomachs and to promote digestion. Two ounces of camomile flowers should be boiled for 20 minutes in a quart of water and the infusion on cooling should be given to the affected animal. This may be repeated three or four times a day. When constipation is present the following purgative may be administered: One pound of Glauber's salt dissolved in a quart of linseed tea and a pint of molasses. After this purgative has acted, if there is a lack of appetite and the animal does not ruminate regularly, the powder mentioned in remarks on the treatment of chronic tympanites may be given according to directions. The diet must be rather laxative and of an easily digestible character after an attack of this form of indigestion. Feed should be given in moderate quantities, as excess by overtaxing the digestive functions may bring on a relapse. Ice-cold water should be avoided.


This disorder is produced by drinking copiously of cold water, which arrests digestion and produces cramp of the fourth stomach, probably of the other stomachs, and also of the bowels.

Causes.—-It is not customary for the ox to drink much water at once. In fact, he usually drinks slowly and as if he were merely tasting the water, letting some fall out at the corners of his mouth at every mouthful. It would therefore seem to be contrary to the habits of the ox to drink copiously; but we find that during hot weather, when he has been working and is consequently very thirsty, if he drinks a large quantity of cold water he may be immediately taken with a very severe colic. Cows which are fed largely on dry hay drink copiously, like the working ox, and become affected in precisely the same manner. In such cases they are seized with a chill or fit of trembling before the cramps come on.

Symptoms.—There is some distension of the abdomen, but no accumulation of gas. As the distension and pain occur immediately after the animal has drunk the water, there can be no doubt as to the exciting cause.

Treatment.—Walk the animal about for 10 minutes before administering medicine, and this allows time for a portion of the contents of the stomach to pass into the bowel, and renders it safer to give medicine. In many cases the walking exercise and the diarrhea bring about a spontaneous cure of this disorder, but as in some instances the cramps and pains of the stomachs persist, one may give 1 ounce of sulphuric ether and 1 ounce of tincture of opium, shaken up with a pint of warm water, and repeat the dose in half an hour if the animal is not relieved. In an emergency when the medicine is not to be had, a tablespoonful of powdered ginger may be administered in a pint of warm water.


Calves are subject to a form of diarrhea to which the foregoing designations have been applied.

Causes.—Calves that suck their dams are not frequently affected with this disease, though it may be occasioned by their sucking at long intervals and thus overloading the stomach and bringing on indigestion, or from improper feeding of the dam on soft, watery, or damaged feeds. Suckling the calf at irregular times may also cause it. Exposure to damp and cold is a potent predisposing cause. Calves separated from their dams and fed considerable quantities of cold milk at long intervals are liable to contract this form of indigestion. Calves fed on artificial feed, used as a substitute for milk, frequently contract it. Damaged feed, sour or rotten milk, milk from dirty cans, skim milk from a dirty creamery skim-milk vat, skim milk hauled warm, exposed to the sun and fed from unclean buckets may all cause this disease.

Symptoms.—The calf is depressed; appetite is poor; sometimes there is fever; the extremities are cold. The dung becomes gradually softer and lighter in color until it is cream colored and little thicker than milk. It has a most offensive odor and may contain clumps of curd. Later it contains mucus and gas bubbles. It sticks to the hair of the tail and buttocks, causing the hair to drop off and the skin to become irritated. There may be pain on passing dung and also abdominal or colicky pain. The calf stands about with the back arched and belly contracted. There may be tympanites. Great weakness ensues in severe cases, and without prompt and successful treatment death soon follows.

Treatment.—Remove the cause. Give appropriate feed of best quality in small quantities. Make sure that the cow furnishing the milk is healthy and is properly fed. Clean all milk vessels. Clean and disinfect the stalls. For the diarrhea give two raw eggs or a cup of strong coffee. If the case is severe, give 1 ounce of castor oil with a teaspoonful of creolin and 20 grains of subnitrate of bismuth. Repeat the bismuth and creolin with flaxseed tea every four hours. Tannopin may be used in doses of 15 to 30 grains.

Calves artificially fed on whole or skim milk should receive only such milk as is sweet and has been handled in a sanitary manner. Milk should always be warmed to the temperature of the body before feeding. When calves artificially milk-fed develop diarrhea, the use of the following treatment has given excellent results in many cases: Immediately after milking, or the separation of the skim milk from the cream, formalin in the proportion of 1 to 4,000 should be added to the milk which is used for feeding; this may be closely approximated by adding four drops of formalin to each quart of milk. This medicated milk should be fed to the calf in the usual quantity. When the diarrhea is not controlled in three or four days by this treatment, the additional use of some of the agents recommended above may assist in a recovery.


[See chapter on Diseases of young calves, p. 247.]


This consists of an inflammation of the walls of the stomachs and of the bowel.

Gastroenteritis, or inflammation of the walls of the stomachs and intestines, follows upon irritations more severe or longer continued than those that produce gastrointestinal catarrh.

Causes.—Severe indigestion may be followed by gastroenteritis, or it may be caused by swallowing irritant poisons, such as arsenic or corrosive sublimate or irritant plants. Exposure to cold or inclement weather may produce the disease, especially in debilitated animals or animals fed improperly. It is asserted that if cattle feed on vegetation infested with some kinds of caterpillars this disease may result.

Symptoms.—Dullness; drooping of the ears; dryness of the muzzle; dry skin; staring coat; loins morbidly sensitive to pressure; fullness of the left flank, which is caused by the distention of the fourth stomach by gas. The pulse is small, the gait is feeble and staggering; each step taken is accompanied with a grunt, and this symptom is especially marked if the animal walks in a downward direction. There is loss of appetite, and rumination is suspended. The passages at first are few in number, hard, and are sometimes coated with mucus or with blood. Later a severe diarrhea sets in, when the passages contain mucus and blood and have an offensive odor. There is evidence of colicky pain, and the abdomen is sensitive to pressure. Pain may be continuous. There is fever and acceleration of pulse rate and respirations. Mental depression and even insensibility occur before death. The disease is always severe and often fatal.

Post-mortem appearances.—The mucous membrane of the fourth stomach has a well-marked red color and sometimes presents ulcerations. The wall is thickened and softened, and similar conditions are found in the walls of the intestines. The red discoloration extends in spots or large areas quite through the wall, showing on the outside.

Treatment.—Very small quantities of carefully selected feed must be given and the appetite must not be forced. Protect the animal well from cold and dampness. Internally, give linseed tea, boiled milk, boiled oatmeal gruel, or rice water. These protectives may carry the medicine. Tannopin in doses of 30 to 60 grains is good. Subnitrate of bismuth in doses of 1 to 2 drams may be given. Pulverized opium may be used, if the diarrhea is severe, in 1 to 2 dram doses. If the bowel movements are not free, one may give from a pint to a quart of castor or raw linseed oil.


This disease results from the presence of a foreign body. This condition is not rare in cattle, because these animals have the habit of swallowing their feed without careful chewing, and so nails, screws, hairpins, ends of wire, and other metal objects may be swallowed unconsciously. Such objects gravitate to the second stomach, where they may be caught in the folds of the lining mucous membrane, and in some instances the wall of this organ is perforated. From this accident, chronic indigestion results. The symptoms, more or less characteristic, are pain when getting up or lying down; grunting and pain upon sudden motion, especially downhill; coughing; pain on pressure over the second stomach, which lies immediately above the cartilaginous prolongation of the sternum. If the presence of such a foreign body is recognized, it may be removed by a difficult surgical operation, or, as is usually most economical, the animal may be killed for beef, if there is no fever.



[See also Gastrointestinal catarrh, p. 32.]

The word "dysentery," as it is commonly used in relation to the diseases of animals, signifies a severe form of diarrhea.

Causes.—Diarrhea is a symptom of irritation of the intestines, resulting in increased secretion or increased muscular contractions, or both. The irritation is sometimes the result of chilling from exposure, improper feeding, irritant feeds, indigestion, organic diseases of the intestines, or parasites.

Symptoms.—Passages from the bowels are frequent, at first consisting of thin dung, but as the disease continues they become watery and offensive smelling, and may be even streaked with blood. At first the animal shows no constitutional disturbance, but later it becomes weak and may exhibit evidence of abdominal pain by looking around to the side, drawing the feet together, lying down, or moving restlessly. Sometimes this malady is accompanied with fever, great depression, loss of strength, rapid loss of flesh, and it may terminate in death.

Treatment.—When the disease depends on irritating properties of the feed which has been supplied to the animal, it is advisable to give a mild purgative, such as a pint of castor or linseed oil. When the secretions of the bowels are irritating, an ounce of carbonate of magnesia and half an ounce of tincture of opium should be shaken up in a quart of linseed tea and given to the animal three times a day until the passages present a natural appearance. When there is debility, want of appetite, no fever, but a continuance of the watery discharges from the bowels, then an astringent may be given. For such cases the following is serviceable: Tannic acid, 1 ounce; powdered gentian, 2 ounces; mix and divide into 12 powders, one powder to be given three times a day until the passages present a natural appearance. Each powder may be mixed with a pint and a half of water. Tannopin is a new remedy that is most useful in such cases. The dose is from 30 grains to 2 drams. Useful household remedies are raw eggs, strong coffee, parched rye flour, or decoction of oak bark. In all cases the food must be given sparingly, and it should be carefully selected to insure good quality. Complete rest in a box stall is desirable. When diarrhea is a symptom of a malady characterized by the presence of a blood poison, the treatment appropriate to such disease must be applied.


[See Gastroenteritis, p. 33.]


Under certain conditions, severe irritation of the digestive canal may, in cattle, cause a form of inflammation of the intestines (enteritis) that is characterized by the formation of a false membrane upon the surface of the lining membrane of the intestines, particularly the large ones.

Symptoms.—There is fever, depression, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and in the fecal masses shreds of leathery false membrane may be found. These shreds are sometimes mistaken for parasites or for portions of the wall of the intestine.

Treatment.—Give a pound of Glauber's salt, followed by bicarbonate of soda in doses of 2 ounces four times daily.


Inflammation may arise from a knot forming on some part of the small intestine from the portion of the bowel becoming twisted on itself, or from one part of the bowel slipping into another, which is termed invagination. This form of enteritis occurs occasionally in animals of the bovine species.

Causes.—The small intestine, which in the ox rests on the right side of the rumen, is, from the position which it occupies, predisposed to this accident. It has been ascertained that animals which have shown symptoms of this malady have trotted, galloped, or made other violent exertions in coming from drinking, or that they have been chased by dogs or by animals of their own species while at pasture. The accident is most likely to occur among cattle on very hilly pastures. The danger of jumping or running is greatest when the rumen is distended with food.

Symptoms.—This form of enteritis or obstruction is manifested by severe colicky pains; the ox scrapes and strikes the ground with his front and hind feet alternately; keeps lying down and getting up again; he keeps his tail constantly raised and turns his nose frequently to his right flank; he is frequently bloated, or tympanitic, on that side. He refuses feed and does not ruminate, and for some hours suffers severe pains. At first he frequently passes thin dung, and also urinates frequently, but passes only a little urine at a time. On the second day the pains have become less acute; the animal remains lying down; moans occasionally; his pulse is small and quick; he still refuses feed and does not ruminate. At this stage he does not pass any dung, though sometimes a small quantity of bloody mucus may be passed. The animal passes very little urine. This condition may continue for a considerable time, as cattle so affected may live for 15 or even 20 days.

Post-mortem appearance.—At death the bowels are found to be misplaced or obstructed, as mentioned above, and inflamed, the inflammation always originating at the point where the intestine has been invaginated, twisted, or knotted. Sometimes the part is gangrenous, the compression of the blood vessels preventing circulation, and thus causing the death of the tissues.

Treatment.—Purgatives, anodynes, and other remedies are of no service in such cases, and bleeding also fails to produce any benefit. Indeed, it is usually true that in such cases treatment is useless. Some cases are recorded in which an incision has been made in the flank, so as to enable the operator to restore the intestine to its normal position or to remove the kink.


Constipation is to be regarded rather as a symptom of disease or of faults in feeding than as a disease in itself. It occurs in almost all general fevers unless the bowels are involved in local disease, in obstructions of all kinds, from feeding on dry, bulky feed, etc. In order to remove the constipation the treatment must be applied to remove the causes which give rise to it. Calves sometimes suffer from constipation immediately after birth when the meconium that accumulates in the bowels before birth is not passed. In such cases, give a rectal injection of warm water and an ounce of castor oil shaken up with an ounce of new milk. The mother's milk is the best food to prevent constipation in the new-born calf, as it contains a large amount of fatty matter which renders it laxative in its effects.

It is usually better to treat habitual constipation by a change of diet than by medicine. Flaxseed is a good feed laxative. If the constipation has lasted long, repeated small doses of purgatives are better than a single large dose.


[See chapter on "The animal parasites of cattle," p. 502.]


Ventral hernia, or rupture, is an escape of some one of the abdominal organs through a rupture in the abdominal muscles, the skin remaining intact. The rumen, the small intestine, or part of the large intestine, and the fourth stomach are the parts which usually form a ventral hernia in bovine animals.

Causes.—Hernia is frequently produced by blows of the horns, kicks, and falls. In old cows hernia may sometimes occur without any direct injury.

HERNIA OF THE RUMEN.—Hernia of the rumen is generally situated on the left side of the abdomen, on account of the situation of the rumen. In exceptional cases it may take place on the right side, and in such cases it also generally happens that some folds of the intestine pass into the hernial sac. Hernias have been classified into simple or complicated, recent or old, traumatic (from mechanical injury) or spontaneous.

In recent traumatic hernia there is swelling on the left side of the lower part of the abdomen. The swelling is greatest in the cases of hernia which are situated on the lower part of the abdomen. Unless an examination is made immediately after the injury has been inflicted it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to ascertain the exact extent of the rupture, owing to the swelling which subsequently takes place. Frequently there is no loss of appetite, fever, or other general symptoms attending the injury. From the twelfth to the fifteenth day the swelling has generally subsided to such an extent that it is possible by an examination to determine the extent of the rupture.

In old cows what is termed spontaneous hernia may sometimes take place without any direct injury. The occurrence of this form of hernia is explained by the increase in the size of the abdomen, which takes place in an advanced stage of pregnancy, causing a thinning and stretching of the muscular fibers, which at last may rupture, or give way. Such hernias frequently occur about the end of the period of gestation, and in some instances have contained the right sac of the rumen, the omentum, the small and large intestines, a portion of the liver, and the pregnant uterus.

In old hernias the swelling is soft and elastic, and if they have not contracted adhesions to the sides of the laceration, they can be made to disappear by pressure carefully applied. Sometimes this accident is complicated by a rupture of the rumen, constituting a complicated hernia. If a portion of the contents of the rumen escape into the abdomen, the case will be aggravated by the occurrence of peritonitis.

HERNIA OF THE BOWEL.—When the intestines (Pl. III, fig. 6) form the contents of the hernia, it will be situated at the right side of the abdomen. In an intestinal hernia the swelling is usually not painful, of a doughy consistence or elastic, according as the intestine does or does not contain alimentary matter. This swelling can generally be made to disappear by pressure, and when it has been reduced one can easily recognize the direction and extent of the hernial opening. Hernias of the bowel which are situated at the upper and right side of the abdomen are usually formed by the small intestine. They are less easily reduced than a hernia in a lower situation, but when reduction has been effected they are less readily reproduced than those occurring lower. In hernias of the small intestine, adhesion of the protruding parts to the walls of the opening, or strangulation, are complications which sometimes take place. If adhesion has taken place the hernia can not be reduced by pressure, and when strangulation has occurred the animal shows symptoms of pain—is restless, turns its nose to the painful part, and shows those symptoms which are usually collectively designated under the term colic. If relief is not afforded, the animal will die.

HERNIA OF THE RENNET, OR FOURTH STOMACH.—This disease occasionally occurs in calves and is usually caused by a blow from a cow's horn on the right flank of the calf. After such an accident a swelling forms on the right flank near the last rib. This swelling may be neither hot nor painful, even at first, and is soft to the touch. It can be made to disappear by careful pressure, when the sides of the aperture through which it has passed can be felt. The application of pressure so as to cause the disappearance of the hernia is best made immediately after the occurrence of the accident, or when the edema which accompanies the swelling has disappeared.

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