« ForrigeFortsett »
such an extent that he may be useless for weeks. When the soreness is slight, and you cannot manage without the dog, a boot may be tried ; it must be made of thick, soft, pliable leather, fastened by a lace. I have known many a dog work well in this manner without injury to his foot. The only difficulty is to fasten it in such a manner that it will not come off. Cessation from work is, however, the only safe plan ; the opposite course frequently not only produces protracted lameness, but fever and general disability. Stimulants are sometimes used with effect in incipient cases, but will be of no avail except accompanied by rest. The stimulants usually recommended are sulphate of zinc, which may be used alone in a diluted form, or oil of vitriol, with some tincture of myrrh.
DISEASES IN DOGS.—THE DISTEMPER.
ALTHOUGH there are many elaborate works on canine pathology containing all necessary instruction as to remedies, cure, &c., so that any remarks on the subject by a non-professional person might appear superfluous, still as a work on shooting might be considered incomplete which did not contain a few remedies for some of the most prevalent and troublesome complaints to which dogs are liable, I will afford such information as I possess, accompanied by remedies which I have found, from long experience, to be most successful. With regard to the distemper, I can however offer no certain remedy, neither do I think that any has been discovered, although many persons profess to have an infallible specific. 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 general 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. It generally comes on in the spring of the year, and attacks dogs between 8 and 11 months of age.
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, cependent 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 buckthor: they are both most useful, and at the same time most safe remedies; and there ought to be an extra quart of syrup of buekthorn, 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