the fingers through the interdental space in such a way as to cause the mouth to open. The mucous membrane should be clean and of a light-pink color, excepting on the back of the tongue, where the color is a yellowish gray. As abnormalities of this region, the chief are diffuse inflammation, characterized by redness and catarrhal discharge; local inflammation, as from eruptions, ulcers, or wounds; necrosis of the lower jawbone in front of the first back tooth; and swellings. Foreign bodies are sometimes found embedded in the mucous membrane lining of the mouth or lodged between the teeth.
The examination of the pharynx and of the esophagus is made chiefly by pressing upon the skin covering these organs in the region of the throat and along the left side of the neck in the jugular gutter. Sometimes, when a more careful examination is necessary, an esophageal tube or probang is passed through the nose or mouth down the esophagus to the stomach.
Vomiting is an act consisting in the expulsion of all or part of the contents of the stomach through the mouth or nose. This act is more difficult for the horse than for most of the other domestic animals, because the stomach of the horse is small and does not lie on the floor of the abdominal cavity, so that the abdominal walls in contracting do not bring pressure to bear upon it so directly and forcibly, as is the case in many other animals. Beside this, there is a loose fold of mucous membrane at the point where the esophagus enters the stomach, and this forms a sort of valve which does not interfere with the passage of food into the stomach, but does interfere with the exit of food through the esophageal opening. Still, vomiting is a symptom that is occasionally seen in the horse. It occurs when the stomach is very much distended with food or with gas. Distention stretches the mucous membrane and eradicates the valvular fold referred to, and also makes it possible for more pressure to be exerted upon the stomach through the contraction of the abdominal muscles. Since the distention to permit vomiting must be extreme, it not infrequently happens that it leads to rupture of the stomach walls. This has caused the impression in the minds of some that vomiting can not occur in the horse without rupture of the stomach, but this is incorrect, since many horses vomit and afterwards become entirely sound. After rupture of the stomach has occurred vomiting is impossible.
In examination of the abdomen one should remember that its size depends largely upon the breed, sex, and conformation of the animal, and also upon the manner in which the animal has been fed and the use to which it has been put. A pendulous abdomen may be the result of an abdominal tumor or of an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity; or, on the other hand, it may merely be an indication of pregnancy, or of the fact that the horse has been fed for a long time on bulky and innutritious food. Pendulous abdomen occurring in a work horse kept on a concentrated diet is an abnormal condition. The abdomen may increase suddenly in volume from accumulation of gas in tympanic colic. The abdomen becomes small and the horse is said to be "tucked up" from long-continued poor appetite, as in diseases of the digestive tract and in fever. This condition also occurs in tetanus from the contraction of the abdominal walls and in diarrhea from emptiness.
In applying the ear to the flank, on either the right or left side, certain bubbling sounds may be heard that are known as peristaltic sounds, because they are produced by peristalsis, or wormlike contraction of the intestines. These sounds are a little louder on the right side than on the left on account of the fact that the large intestines lie in the right flank. Absence of peristaltic sounds is always an indication of disease, and suggests exhaustion or paralysis of the intestines. This may occur in certain kinds of colic and is an unfavorable symptom. Increased sounds are heard where the intestines are contracted more violently than in health, as in spasmodic colic, and also where there is an excess of fluid or gas in the intestinal canal.
The feces show, to a certain extent, the thoroughness of digestion. They should show that the feed has been well ground, and should, in the horse, be free from offensive odor or coatings of mucus. A coating of mucus shows intestinal catarrh. Blood on the feces indicates severe inflammation. Very light color and bad odor may come from inactive liver. Parasites are sometimes in the dung.
Rectal examination consists in examination of the organs of the pelvic cavity and posterior portion of the abdominal cavity by the hand inserted into the rectum. This examination should be attempted by a veterinarian only, and is useless except to one who has a good knowledge of the anatomy of the parts concerned.
THE EXAMINATION OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM.
The great brain, or cerebrum, is the seat of intelligence, and it contains the centers that control motion in many parts of the body. The front portion of the brain is believed to be the region that is most important in governing the intelligence. The central and posterior portions of the cerebrum contain the centers for the voluntary motions of the face and of the front and hind legs. The growth of a tumor or an inflammatory change in the region of a center governing the motion of a certain part of the body has the effect of disturbing motion in that part by causing excessive contraction known as cramps, or inability of the muscles to contract, constituting the condition known as paralysis. The nerve paths from the cerebrum, and hence from these centers to the spinal cord and thence to the muscles, pass beneath the small brain, or the cerebellum, and through the medulla oblongata to the spinal cord. Interference with these paths has the effect of disturbing motion of the parts reached by them. If all of the paths on one side are interfered with, the result is paralysis of one side of the body.
The small brain, or cerebellum, governs the regularity, or coordination, of movements. Disturbances of the cerebellum cause a tottering, uncertain gait. In the medulla oblongata, which lies between the spinal cord and the cerebellum, are the centers governing the circulation and breathing.
The spinal cord carries sensory messages to the brain and motor impressions from the brain. The anterior portions of the cord contain the motor paths, and the posterior portions of the cord contain the sensory paths.
Paralysis of a single member or a single group of muscles is known as monoplegia and results from injury to the motor center or to a nerve trunk leading to the part that is involved. Paralysis of one-half of the body is known as hemiplegia and results from destruction or severe disturbances of the cerebral hemisphere of the opposite side of the body or from interference with nerve paths between the cerebellum, or small brain, and the spinal cord. Paralysis of the posterior half of the body is known as paraplegia and results from derangement of the spinal cord. If the cord is pressed upon, cut, or injured, messages can not be transmitted beyond that point, and so the posterior part becomes paralyzed. This is seen when the back is fractured.
Abnormal mental excitement may be due to congestion of the brain or to inflammation. The animal so afflicted becomes vicious, pays no attention to commands, cries, runs about in a circle, stamps with the feet, strikes, kicks, etc. This condition is usually followed by a dull, stupid state, in which the animal stands with his head down, dull and irresponsive to external stimuli. Cerebral depression also occurs in the severe febrile infectious diseases, in chronic hydrocephalus, in chronic diseases of the liver, in poisoning with a narcotic substance, and with chronic catarrh of the stomach and intestines.