Dysentery





This disease is very frequently confounded with the foregoing. A

distinction, however, exists,--since inflammation appears in this

disease, while it is absent in the former. In this affection,

inflammation of the large intestines takes place, which is attended with

diarrhoea. The faeces are covered with blood; the animal rapidly

becomes prostrated, and death frequently comes to his relief.



Youatt says: "It is, however, with dysentery that the practitioner is

most loth to cope,--a disease that betrays thousands of cattle. This,

also, may be either acute or chronic. Its causes are too often buried in

obscurity, and its premonitory symptoms are disregarded or unknown.

There appears to be a strong predisposition in cattle to take on this

disease. It seems to be the winding-up of many serious complaints, and

the foundation of it is sometimes laid by those that appear to be of the

most trifling nature. It is that in cattle which glanders and farcy are

in the horse,--the breaking up of the constitution.



"Dysentery may be a symptom and concomitant of other diseases. It is one

of the most fearful characteristics of murrain; it is the destructive

accompaniment, or consequence, of phthisis. It is produced by the sudden

disappearance of a cutaneous eruption; it follows the cessation of

chronic hoose; it is the consequence of the natural or artificial

suspension of every secretion. Were any secretion to be particularly

selected, the repression of which would produce dysentery, it would be

that of the milk. How often does the farmer observe that no sooner does

a milch cow cease her usual supply of milk than she begins to purge!

There may not appear to be any thing else the matter with her; but she

purges, and, in the majority of cases, that purging is fatal.



"It may, sometimes, however, be traced to sufficient causes, exclusive

of previous disease. Unwholesome food--exposure to cold--neglect at

the time of calving--low and marshy situations--the feeding in meadows

that have been flooded, where it is peculiarly fatal--the grazing

(according to Mr. Leigh, and our experience confirms his statement) upon

the clays lying over the blue lias rock--the neighborhood of woods and

of half-stagnant rivers--the continuation of unusually sultry

weather--overwork, and all the causes of acute dysentery, may produce

that of a chronic nature; an acute dysentery--neglected, or badly, or

even most skillfully treated--may degenerate into an incurable chronic

affection. Half starve a cow, or over-feed her, milk her to exhaustion,

or dry her milk too rapidly--and dysentery may follow.



"The following will, probably, be the order of the symptoms, if they are

carefully observed: There will be a little dullness or anxiety of

countenance, the muzzle becoming short or contracted; a slight shrinking

when the loins are pressed upon; the skin a little harsh and dry; the

hair a little rough; there will be a slight degree of uneasiness and

shivering that scarcely attracts attention; then--except it be the

degeneracy of acute into chronic dysentery--constipation may be

perceived. It will be to a certain extent, obstinate; the excrement will

voided with pain; it will be dry, hard, and expelled in small

quantities. In other cases, perhaps, purging will be present from the

beginning; the animal will be tormented with tenesmus, or frequent

desire to void its excrement, and that act attended by straining and

pain, by soreness about the anus, and protrusion of the rectum, and

sometimes by severe colicky spasms. In many cases, however, and in those

of a chronic form, few of these distressing symptoms are observed, even

at the commencement of the disease; but the animal voids her faeces

oftener than it is natural that she should, and they are more fluid than

in a state of health; while at the same time she loses her appetite and

spirits and condition, and is evidently wasting away."



Treatment.--Give one drachm of the extract of belladonna, three times

a day, dissolved in water; or calomel and powdered opium, of each one

drachm three times daily. As soon as the inflammatory stage passes by,

give one of the following three times daily, in their gruel: nitrate of

potash pulverized, gentian-root pulverized, of each one ounce;

pulverized Jamaica ginger, one half an ounce; pulverized caraway, or

anise-seed, six drachms. A bottle of porter given once or twice a day,

will be found of very great advantage.





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