Tumors





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

inconsiderable.



"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

restored.



"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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