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Category: Diseases and their Remedies

These enlargements so common in cattle, have been so admirably
described, in the Veterinarian for 1843, by John Ralph, V.S.,--who has
been so successful in the treatment of these morbid growths, that the
benefit of his experience is here given. He says: "Of all the
accidental productions met with among cattle, with the exception of
wens, a certain kind of indurated tumor, chiefly situated about the head
and throat, has abounded most in my practice.

"The affection often commences in one of the thyroid glands, which
slowly but gradually increases in size, feels firm when grasped, and
evinces very little tenderness. Generally the attendant is alarmed by a
snoring or wheezing noise emitted by the animal in respiration, before
he is aware of the existence of any tumefaction. This continues to
increase, embracing in its progress the adjacent cellular and muscular
tissues, and frequently the submaxillary and parotid glands. It becomes
firmly attached to the skin through which an opening is ultimately
effected by the pressure of pus from the centre of the tumor.

"The swelling often presents an irregular surface, and various centres
of maturation exist; but the evacuations only effect a partial and
temporary reduction of its bulk, in consequence of the continued
extension of the morbid growth and ulcerative process which often
proceed towards the pharynx, rendering respiration and deglutition still
more difficult, until at length the animal sinks from atrophy or
phthisis pulmonalis.

"In the early part of my practice, having been frustrated in my attempts
to establish healthy action in these ulcers, and referring to the works
that I had on surgery for information, I concluded that they bore some
resemblance to cancer in the human being, and determined to attempt
extirpation. Subsequently, numerous cases have occurred in which I have
successfully carried that determination into effect. I have had some
instances of failure, which failure always arose from some portion of
the morbid growth having been left.

"In the first stage, I have reason to believe that the tumor may be
dispersed by the general and topical use of the iodurets. After the
suppuration, I have tried them in vain.

"As soon as the nature of the tumor is clearly developed, I generally
attempt its removal, and, when most prominent by the side of the larynx,
I proceed in the following manner:--Having cast the beast, turned the
occiput toward the ground, and bolstered it up with bundles of straw, I
proceed to make an incision through it, if the skin is free, parallel
with, and over, and between the trachea and sterno-maxillaris,
extending it sufficiently forward into the inter-maxillary spaces. If I
find it firmly attached to the apex of the tumor, I then enclose it in a
curvilinear incision and proceed to detach the healthy skin to beyond
the verge of the tumor.

"Its edges being held by an assistant, the knife is directed downwards
through the subcutaneous parts, and all those that exhibit the slightest
change from healthy structure are removed.

"By tying any considerable blood-vessel before dividing it, and by using
the handle of the scalpel and the fingers in detaching the portion of
the parotid gland towards the ear the hemorrhage was always

"The wound is then treated in the ordinary way; except that detergents
and even antiseptics are often needed to arouse healthy action, and the
addition of some preparation of iodine is often made to the digestive.
In directing the constitutional treatment, our chief aim must be to
support the animal system with plenty of gruel until rumination is

"I need not note that the operation should be performed after the animal
has fasted some hours.

"As the success of the operation depends on an entire removal of the
diseased parts, and as the submaxillary and parotid glands, with
important branches of nerves and blood-vessels, are often enveloped
therein, we must not hesitate to remove the former, nor to divide the
latter. It has occasionally happened that a rupture has been made in the
oesophagus, or pharynx, during the operation. In that case, a portion
of the gruel with which the animal is drenched escapes for a few days;
but I always found that the wound healed by granulation, without any
particular attention.

"The weight of these tumors varies from a few ounces to some pounds. One
that I removed from a two-year-old Galloway bullock, weighed six pounds
and a quarter. A considerable portion of the skin that covered it was
excised and included in the above weight. It comprehended one of the
parotid glands, and I had to divide the trunk of the carotid artery and
jugular vein.

"This affection may be distinguished from parotiditis and other
phlegmasiae by the action of constitutional disturbance, and heat, and
tenderness, and by the lingering progress it makes. I was once called to
a bull laboring under alarming dyspnoea that had gradually increased.
No external enlargement was perceptible; but on introducing my hand into
the mouth, a large polypus was found hanging from the velum palati
into the pharynx, greatly obstructing the elevation of the epiglottis
and the passage of food. After performing tracheotomy, to prevent
suffocation, I passed a ligature around its pedicle in the way suggested
by the old anatomist, Cheselden.

"A section of one of these tumors mostly displays several abscesses,
with matter varying in consistency and often very fetid, enclosed in
what seems to me to be fibro-cartilaginous cysts, the exterior of which
sometimes gradually disappears in the surrounding more vascular abnormal
growth. Osseous matter (I judge from the grating of the scalpel upon it)
occasionally enters into the composition of the cysts.

"I have treated this affection in cattle of the Long-horned,
Short-horned, Galloway, and Highland breeds; and from the number of
bulls in this class of patients, have reason to conclude that they are
more liable to it than the female.

"About twelve months ago, I examined the head of a cow, on the right
facial region of which there existed an enormous tumor, extending from
the eye to the lips, and which I mistook during life for a periosteal
enlargement. On cutting into it, my mistake was evident. There was
scarcely a trace of the original bones beneath the mass; even those
forming the nasal sinuses on that side were replaced by a formation much
resembling the cysts before alluded to, and full of abscesses. The
progress of the disease was decisively marked in the inferior rim of the
orbital cavity, where the osseous matter was being removed, and the
morbid structure deposited."

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Previous: Thrush In The Mouth

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