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قراءة كتاب Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

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‏اللغة: English
Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 7

is a self-registering clinical thermometer, similar to that used by physicians, but larger, being from 5 to 6 inches long. The temperature of the animal is measured in the rectum.

The normal temperature of the horse varies somewhat under different conditions. It is higher in the young animal than in the old, and is higher in hot weather than in cold. The weather and exercise decidedly influence the temperature physiologically. The normal temperature varies from 99.5° to 101° F. If the temperature rises to 102.5° the horse is said to have a low fever; if the temperature reaches 104° the fever is moderate; if it reaches 106° it is high, and above this point it is regarded as very high. In some diseases, such as tetanus or sunstroke, the temperature goes as high as 108° or 110°. In the ordinary infectious diseases it does not often exceed 106°. A temperature of 107.5° and above is very dangerous and must be reduced promptly if the horse is to be saved.


In examining this system of organs and their functions it is customary to begin by noting the frequency of the respiratory movements. This point can be determined by observing the motions of the nostrils or of the flanks; on a cold day one can see the condensation of the moisture of the warm air as it comes from the lungs. The normal rate of respiration for a healthy horse at rest is from 8 to 16 per minute. The rate is faster in young animals than in old, and is increased by work, hot weather, overfilling of the stomach, pregnancy, lying upon the side, etc. Acceleration of the respiratory rate where no physiological cause operates is due to a variety of conditions. Among these is fever; restricted area of active lung tissue, from filling of portions of the lungs with inflammatory exudate, as in pneumonia; compression of the lungs or loss of elasticity; pain in the muscles controlling the respiratory movements; excess of carbon dioxid in the blood; and constriction of the air passages leading to the lungs.

Difficult or labored respiration is known as dyspnea. It occurs when it is difficult, for any reason, for the animal to obtain the amount of oxygen that it requires. This may be due to filling of the lungs, as in pneumonia; to painful movements of the chest, as in rheumatism or pleurisy; to tumors of the nose and paralysis of the throat, swellings of the throat, foreign bodies, or weakness of the respiratory passages, fluid in the chest cavity, adhesions between the lungs and chest walls, loss of elasticity of the lungs, etc. Where the difficulty is great the accessory muscles of respiration are brought into play. In great dyspnea the horse stands with his front feet apart, with his neck straight out, and his head extended upon his neck. The nostrils are widely dilated, the face has an anxious expression, the eyeballs protrude, the up-and-down motion of the larynx is aggravated, the amplitude of the movement of the chest walls increased, and the flanks heave.

The expired air is of about the temperature of the body. It contains considerable moisture, and it should come with equal force from each nostril and should not have an unpleasant odor. If the stream of air from one nostril is stronger than from the other, there is an indication of an obstruction in a nasal chamber. If the air possesses a bad odor, it is usually an indication of putrefaction of a tissue or secretion in some part of the respiratory tract. A bad odor is found where there is necrosis of the bone in the nasal passages or in chronic catarrh. An ulcerating tumor of the nose or throat may cause the breath to have an offensive odor. The most offensive breath occurs where there is necrosis, or gangrene, of the lungs.

In some diseases there is a discharge from the nose. In order to determine the significance of the discharge it should be examined closely. One should ascertain whether it comes from one or both nostrils. If but from one nostril, it probably originates in the head. The color should be noted. A thin, watery discharge may be composed of serum, and it occurs in the earlier stages of coryza, or nasal catarrh. An opalescent, slightly tinted discharge is composed of mucus and indicates a little more severe irritation. If the discharge is sticky and puslike, a deeper difficulty or more advanced irritation is indicated. If the discharge contains flakes and clumps of more or less dried, agglutinated particles, it is probable that it originates within a cavity of the head, as the sinuses or guttural pouches. The discharge of glanders is of a peculiar sticky nature and adheres tenaciously to the wings of the nostrils. The discharge of pneumonia is of a somewhat red or reddish brown color and, on this account has been described as a prune-juice discharge. The discharge may contain blood. If the blood appears as clots or as streaks in the discharge, it probably originates at some point in the upper part of the respiratory tract. If the blood is in the form of a fine froth, it comes from the lungs.

In examining the interior of the nasal passage one should remember that the normal color of the mucous membrane is a rosy pink and that its surface is smooth. If ulcers, nodules, swellings, or tumors are found, these indicate disease. The ulcer that is characteristic of glanders is described fully in connection with the discussion of that disease.

Between the lower jaws there are several clusters of lymphatic glands. These glands are so small and so soft that it is difficult to find them by feeling through the skin, but when a suppurative disease exists in the upper part of the respiratory tract these glands become swollen and easy to feel. They may become soft and break down and discharge as abscesses; this is seen constantly in strangles. On the other hand, they may become indurated and hard from the proliferation of connective tissue and attach themselves to the jawbone, to the tongue, or to the skin. This is seen in chronic glanders. If the glands are swollen and tender to pressure, it indicates that the disease causing the enlargement is acute; if they are hard and insensitive, the disease causing the enlargement is chronic.

The manner in which the horse coughs is of importance in diagnosis. The cough is a forced expiration, following immediately upon a forcible separation of the vocal cords. The purpose of the cough is to remove some irritant substance from the respiratory passages, and it occurs when irritant gases, such as smoke, ammonia, sulphur vapor, or dust, have been inhaled. It occurs from inhalation of cold air if the respiratory passages are sensitive from disease. In laryngitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia, cough is very easily excited and occurs merely from accumulation of mucus and inflammatory product upon the irritated respiratory mucous membrane. If one wishes to determine the character of the cough, it can easily be excited by pressing upon the larynx with the thumb and finger. The larynx should be pressed from side to side and the pressure removed the moment the horse commences to cough. A painful cough occurs in pleurisy, also in laryngitis, bronchitis, and bronchial pneumonia. Pain is shown by the effort the animal exerts to repress the cough. The cough is not painful, as a rule, in the chronic diseases of the respiratory tract. The force of the cough is considerable when it is not especially painful and when the lungs are not seriously involved. When the lungs are so diseased that they can not be filled with a large volume of air, and in heaves, the cough is weak, as it is also in weak, debilitated animals. If mucus or pus is coughed out, or if the cough is accompanied by a gurgling sound, it is said to be moist; it is dry when these characteristics are not present—that is, when the air in passing out passes over surface not loaded with secretion.

In the examination of the chest we resort to percussion