Red Water

This disease derives its name from the color of the urine voided in it.

It is one of the most common complaints of horned cattle, and one of the

most troublesome to manage.

Symptoms.--Respiration hurried; rumination ceases; a high degree of

fever presented; the animal moans, arches the back, and strains in

passing the urine, which is tinged with blood, or presents the

appearance of pure blood. Prof. Gamgee, of the Edinburgh Veterinary

College, says: "The cause is almost invariably feeding on turnips that

have grown on damp, ill-drained land; and very often a change of diet

stops the spread of this disease in the byre. Other succulent food,

grown under similar circumstances, may produce the same symptoms,

tending to disturb the digestive organs and the blood-forming process.

"In the course of my investigations as to the cause of various

cattle-diseases, and of red water in particular. I have found that it

is unknown on well-drained farms and in dairies where turnips are used

only in a moderate degree. The lands of poor people furnish the roots

most likely to induce this disorder; and I can confirm the statement of

the late Mr. Cumming, of Elton, who, in his very interesting essay upon

this subject, says, particularly in reference to Aberdeenshire, that it

is 'a disease essentially attacking the poor man's cow; and to be seen

and studied, requires a practice extending into the less favorably

situated parts of the country. On large farms, where good stock is well

kept, and in town dairies, where artificial food is used to supplement

the supply of turnips, it is seldom now seen.'

"Symptoms.--General derangement attracts the dairyman's attention,

and, upon observing the urine which the animal has voided, it is seen to

be of a red, or of a reddish brown, or claret color; sometimes

transparent, at others clear. The color increases in depth; other

secretions are checked; the animal becomes hide-bound, and the milk goes

off. Appetite and rumination are suspended; the pulse becomes extremely

feeble and frequent, though--as in all debilitating, or anaemic,

disorders--the heart's action is loud and strong, with a decided venous

pulse, or apparent regurgitation, in the large veins of the neck.

"In some cases, if even a small quantity of blood be withdrawn, the

animal drops in a fainting state. In red water, the visible mucous

membranes are blanched, and the extremities cold, indicating the languid

state of the blood's circulation and the poverty of the blood itself.

Constipation is one of the most obstinate complications; and many

veterinary surgeons--aware that, if the bowels can be acted on, the

animal is cured--have employed purgatives in quantities far too large,

inducing at times even death. Occasionally, diarrhoea is one of the

first, and not of the unfavorable, symptoms."

Treatment.--Give one pint of linseed-oil; clysters of soap and water

should be freely used; and give plenty of linseed-tea to drink. When the

urine is abundant, give one ounce of tincture of opium, with one drachm

of powdered aloes, three times, at intervals of six or eight hours.

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