« ForrigeFortsett »
volent on their part to communicate their knowledge to the world, and not keep it hid under a bushel. This disease is as fatal to young dogs as the small-pox used formerly to be to children before the invaluable discovery of vaccination was made by Dr. Jenner: it is however more partial, being more fatal to some breeds of dogs than to others. The greyhound suffers severely from it, and is with difficulty reared, requiring the utmost skill and the most unremitting and constant attention during the progress of the malady.
Another characteristic of the disease is its being more severe in some seasons than others; and this peculiarity is applicable to a whole district, so that it appears in the light of an epidemic. I have lost many young dogs from it, especially greyhounds, and never had the good fortune to find any medicine on which I could rely with certainty. Vaccination has been recommended as a preventive, and many affirm having tried it with complete success: the precaution might therefore be resorted to; for, if it does not completely succeed, it may render the attacks of distemper less violent; it is at all events worth trying, as it demands but little trouble.
Although the distemper presents itself in various forms and in different degrees of virulence, still there are always present certain infallible characteristic symptoms; and when those exhibit themselves, some remedies ought instantly to be resorted to. If in the winter, the dog ought to be kept in some dry, warm, comfortable place, and immediately separated from his companions, as it is unquestionably contagious, although there may be an occasional exception. The first symptoms are generally heaviness of manner, loss of appetite, and want of energy and spirit, so that when spoken to the dog hardly notices you: this is accompanied by a dulness and weakness of the eyes, and subsequently a certain huskiness of the throat comes on, with cough, — all symptoms indicative of incipient inflammation, — followed by a discharge from the nose.
In the first instance I should recommend an aperient in the shape of castor oil: a supply of "lap" ought to be at hand, to be given in small quantities, but frequently. If the disease advances, then strong remedies may be resorted to, and there is none better than one recommended by Dr. Taylor of Yarmouth, —gum gamboge, 20 grains, white hellebore powder, 30 grains, made into nine pills, and one given every morning. This is a very strong and powerful medicine; and as hellebore partakes in some degree of the dangerous character of calomel, every care must be taken that the dog be not exposed to cold or damp. The dog's food ought to be some warm liquid, either gruel, broth, or milk. It will be well to vary these, increasing the strength of the food as the dog improves.
As there is a great deal of inflammation attending the disease, especially of all those membranes which produce mucus, the stomach will be constantly overloaded, so that the dog will find a great relief from an emetic being administered: the ordinary one consists of equal portions of calomel and tartar emetic, one grain each, more or less, according to the size of the dog. Sometimes common salt will answer every purpose. A Frenchman told me he had cured a dog of his, by giving him a quid of tobacco occasionally, with plenty of warm broth; the tobacco operates both as an emetic and as a purgative; but what would answer in one case might fail in another.
The general remedies which I suggest are constant care and unremitting attention: if in winter, warmth and cleanliness at all times, cooling medicine, gentle emetics, plenty of nourishing liquids, increasing in strength as the dog amends. Calomel may be given, from 6 to 8 grains, dependent on the size of the dog: this should be given at night, and on the following morning some castor oil, with or without some syrup of buckthorn with a little jalap in it, as circumstances may suggest. But rhubarb may be given with the calomel, in which case no further aperient will be required on the following morning. In proportion of 3 to 1 grain of calomel, this remedy, in moderate occasions, will sometimes succeed with the aid of a gentle emetic. No man who keeps dogs ought to be without castor oil and syrup of buckthorn: they are both most useful, and at the same time most safe remedies; and there ought to be an extra quart of syrup of buckthorn, with an ounce and a half of jalap in it. A tablespoonful of the latter, with a spoonful of castor oil, is the best and safest medicine that can be given to a dog at any time. Nothing is better for pointers and setters before the commencement of the shooting season.
There are numerous symptoms of a more violent and desperate character, which succeed to those I have mentioned, when the disease is not arrested in its progress by ordinary remedies, so that the dog appears to be almost mad, has fits, foams at the mouth, and will attempt to bite any person who approaches. When these supervene a dog is rarely saved, so that I will make no attempt to prescribe for those extreme cases, but refer those of my readers who are curious on the subject to the several elaborate treatises which have been published by scientific writers on Canine Pathology. It will be sometimes necessary to use a lotion for cleansing the dog's nose, in which case \ oz. of sugar of lead, dissolved in a pint of water, may answer the purpose. Mr. Beckford recommended Turbith's mineral being given in inM
creased quantities on three successive mornings, viz., 8, 16, and 32 grains; this remedy must be accompanied by a plentiful supply of warm broth.
As one receipt is as good as a thousand, if it be an infallible one, I will give only one, which I have never known to fail, even in the very worst cases. It consists of 6 oz. hellebore powder, 12 oz. sulphur vivum, 2 oz. spirits of turpentine, 1 quart of train-oil. Two or three days before this application, some sulphur and antimony ought to be given, or even sulphur alone, and as much milk as possible, with oatmeal porridge, but no flesh or greaves. This mixture must be well rubbed in with the hand, under the shoulder, and upon the inside of the dog's thighs. It ought to be applied in the morning, upon an empty stomach. If administered after a dog has eaten, it will immediately make him sick.
As it is a very powerful remedy, and acts upon the system, the dog must be kept warm and dry, and not exposed for several days. The effect of the dressing will be visible for two or three days subsequently. On the following morning, a dose of castor oil and syrup of