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Domestic Animals

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The period most commonly selected for this operation is between the
first and third months. The nearer it is to the expiration of the first
month, the less danger attends the operation.

Some persons prepare the animal by the administration of a dose of
physic; but others proceed at once to the operation when it best suits
their convenience, or that of the farmer. Care, however, should be taken
that the young animal is in perfect health. The mode formerly practised
was simple enough:--a piece of whip-cord was tied as tightly as possible
around the scrotum. The supply of blood being thus completely cut off,
the bag and its contents soon became livid and dead, and were suffered
to hang, by some careless operators, until they dropped off, or they
were cut off on the second or third day.

It is now, however, the general practice to grasp the scrotum in the
hand, between the testicles and the belly, and to make an incision in
one side of it, near the bottom, of sufficient depth to penetrate
through the inner covering of the testicle, and of sufficient length to
admit of its escape. The testicle immediately bursts from its bag, and
is seen hanging by its cord.

The careless or brutal operator now firmly ties a piece of small string
around the cord, and having thus stopped the circulation, cuts through
the cord, half an inch below the ligature, and removes the testicle. He,
however, who has any feeling for the poor animal on which he is
operating, considers that the only use of the ligature is to compress
the blood-vessels and prevent after-hemorrhage, and, therefore, saves a
great deal of unnecessary torture by including them alone in the
ligature, and afterwards dividing the rest of the cord. The other
testicle is proceeded with in the same way and the operation is
complete. The length of the cord should be so contrived that it will
immediately retract, or be drawn back, into the scrotum, but not higher,
while the ends of the string hang out through the wound. In the course
of about a week, the strings will usually drop off, and the wounds will
speedily heal. There will rarely be any occasion to make any
application to the scrotum, except fomentation of it, if much swelling
should ensue.

A few, whose practice cannot be justified, seize the testicle as soon as
it escapes from the bag, and, pulling violently, break the cord and tear
it out. It is certain that when a blood-vessel is thus ruptured, it
forcibly contracts, and very little bleeding follows; but if the cord
breaks high up, and retracts into the belly, considerable inflammation
has occasionally ensued, and the beast has been lost.

The application of torsion--or the twisting of the arteries by a pair
of forceps which will firmly grasp them--has, in a great degree,
superseded every other mode of castration, both in the larger and the
smaller domesticated animals. The spermatic artery is exposed, and
seized with the forceps, which are then closed by a very simple
mechanical contrivance; the vessel is drawn a little out from its
surrounding tissue, the forceps are turned around seven or eight times,
and the vessel liberated. It will be found to be perfectly closed; a
small knot will have formed on its extremity; it will retract into the
surrounding surface, and not a drop more of blood will flow from it; the
cord may then be divided, and the bleeding from any little vessel
arrested in the same way. Neither the application of the hot iron, nor
of the wooden clamps, whether with or without caustic, can be necessary
in the castration of the calf.

A new instrument was introduced in France, some few years since, for
this purpose, called the acraseur,--so constructed as to throw a chain
over the cord, which is wound up by means of a screw working upon the
chain, and at the same time the cord is twisted off. No bleeding
follows this method of operating.

This instrument is constructed upon the same principle as the acraseur
for use in the human family, for the removal of hemorrhoids, etc., the
dimensions of the two only varying.

The advantages resulting from the use of this instrument over all other
methods are, that the parts generally heal within a week,--the operation
is not so painful to the animal,--it is less troublesome to the
operator,--also to the owner of the animal,--and lastly, it is a safer
and more scientific operation. Its success in France soon gave it a
reputation in England, and recently it has been introduced by the author
into this country, and with the best results. Contractors, hearing of
the success attending this new mode of operating, have visited him from
all parts of the country to witness its performance, and not one has
returned without leaving an order for this instrument,--so well
convinced have they been of its decided superiority over all other

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