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sequelæ of inflammatory diseases of a more constitutional character.—(See “Metastasis,” page 155.) The laminæ are plates (technically, semi-cartilaginous leaves received between the horny lamellæ which line the interior of the hoof) resting on the inside of the horny hoof, and giving an elastic support, whereby the whole weight of the horse's structure is thrown against the wall of the hoof and kept off the side. It is not surprising, therefore, that these causes should produce derangement here.
As laminitis generally attacks the fore feet, the poor beast in his anguish endeavours to throw his weight off them by resting on his hind quarters, which are tucked under him, with the fore legs and feet pushed out before him merely to keep him from falling ; he can barely hobble if he attempts to move. If the fever be only slight and in one foot, he will point it, while extreme lameness and unnatural heat in the foot mark the disease. The shoe should (in this as in all cases of foot-lameness) be instantly removed by a smith brought to the stable instead of giving the poor creature the pain of limping to the forge.
The foot should be put into cold water, constantly renewed, and kept in it all day; at night a bran poultice or water-dressing should be left on (see “Waterdressing” and “Poultices,” page 160). Also administer a purge.
In acute cases, bleeding at the toe is sometimes practised by paring away there till the veins appear. This is a very questionable remedy, and there is little doubt that the use of the knife only aggravates the inflammation.
The fact is, that beyond its incipient stage none but the veterinary surgeon is competent to deal with this disease.
Its prevention is best secured by requiring moderate work only, and at the proper road-paces—vi..., walking and trotting—keeping the feet moist, wetting them occasionally during a long journey, and regularly stopping them directly after each day's severe work.— See “Grooming,” page 12.
Navicular Disease is, unfortunately, a very common one with horses ; and when the delicate structure of the foot is.considered in connection with the rough usage the creature gets on hard roads while carrying a heavy weight on his back, it is only surprising that the feet bear such jarring at all.
The navicular is the small pulley-bone over which the flexor tendon passes, and being the most active of any of the foot-bones, is the most likely to be injured by ill usage (see page 128). The symptoms are lameness, with more or less pointing of the foot when at rest, and heat towards the quarters of the lame foot.
Unlike laminitis, the lameness is inconsiderable at first, and increases as the disease progresses.
Being so deep-seated, it is very difficult to cure. In the incipient stages the most effectual remedy appears to be the insertion of frog-setons, requiring the assistance of a veterinary surgeon. In most instances the case is hopeless, and many a fine horse is sold to limp out a life of misery, drawing a hack cab, or, with a refinement of cruelty, is subject to the operation of unnerving the foot, which, by destroying sensation in that part, enables the animal to travel without apparent lameness, though the disease continues to progress till part of the foot has been known to drop off in work. Being a result of work to which all horses are liable, no mode of prevention can be recommended.
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Lateral Cartilages.—Another ailment of the foot is more common than is generally supposed, called “Disease of the Lateral Cartilages.” It requires the skill of an anatomist to decide upon its presence. In fact, this and navicular disease are both very obscure in their origin and diagnostics, and a surgeon only can properly deal with them, as well as with all other diseases that are not very distinctly marked, and in their early stages not important.
Thrush.—A disease of the frog : the cleft becomes eaten away, and a foul matter is secreted. It more frequently attacks the hind than the fore feet.
By some it is said to be constitutional, but it is much more probably the result of neglect of the foot in the stable, the hind feet being oftener affected, from the fact of the urine and fæces coming more immediately under their tread.
At every shoeing or removing, the frog should be perfectly cleared of all defective parts by the knife, and where the disease has once manifested itself the cleft should be kept continually stopped with tar and tow. A return to a healthy state is likely to be tedious, therefore continued attention to these directions is necessary. If a severe case, use a bar-shoe, to avoid the wear and tear of the road, and which will also help to keep the pledgets of tar and tow in their place. To prevent thrush, let the litter and bedding be completely removed from the horse every morning till bedtime at night ; let the pavement be kept scrupulously clean through the day ; attend and wash the feet, examine them frequently, and upon the slightest sign of the disease use the remedial means.
Quittor. This is a disease of the feet, wherein, either from delicacy of or accident to the sole, the sensible part becomes affected. A suppurative sinus is formed, eating away till it often comes out at the coronet. Once it reaches this, the animal, unless of great value, might as well be destroyed, the restorative process being of a most tedious and expensive character, requiring continual manipulation by a surgeon.
By careful shoeing (where nails are not driven out of their proper direction) and a most exact examination of the foot where any extraneous matter, such as glass, gravel, &c., is suspected of having entered or damaged it, quittor will most probably be avoided.
Canker seldom attacks gentlemen's horses, or wellbred ones. It is literally a change of a portion of the foot into a kind of fungus, sometimes commencing in the sole, sometimes in the frogs, and is aggravated by foul litter, bad stabling, and general bad care.
As no dressing or external application will restore the foot without manipulation, a surgeon only can deal with it.
Cracked and Greasy Heels.—Animals of languid circulation in the extremities are more susceptible of such diseases, which are induced and aggravated by lazy ignorant grooms pursuing their objectionable practice of wetting the legs, and leaving them to dry themselves. - See page 13.
Symptoms are tumefaction and soreness of the hinder part of the pasterns, even to fissures emitting matter.
Clip away the hair in the first instance, so as to be able to cleanse the sore by washing it with warm water and soft soap, drying it perfectly. Then apply glycerine lotion (page 158).
If the sore seems likely to incapacitate the animal
from work, administer a mild aloetic purge (page 108). Very serious consequences may result from the indolence of grooms in neglecting this ailment. In acute cases, the sore, eating into the tendon, produces mortification and death. I have myself lost a valuable animal from this disease, through the gross neglect of my grooms in my absence.
Except in the very earliest stages, and in palpably trifling cases, a veterinary surgeon should be consulted, especially in what is called “grease,” or matter running from these cracks. The preventive means are, never to allow water to your horses' legs above the coronet on any pretence whatever, and if by accident or work they get wet, to have them rubbed dry as promptly as possible.
Shelly Hoofs (or splitting open of the external part of the horny hoof).—The feet of some horses are more subject to this disease than those of others, from the fibrous structure being more dry with them.
This fibrous structure forming the hoof is found, on microscopic examination, to resemble a lot of hairs all glued together into a hardened mass, and where the adhesive matter is of a drier character than usual, the hoofs are more brittle. With some horses this results in “shelly hoofs ;” they don't split, but are perpetually breaking away. With this description of hoofs, tar is the best possible application. Neither grease nor oil should ever be used—these only aggravate the disease, as on close observation they will be found to act as powerful astringents, excluding the healthy action of air and moisture upon the part most in need of them. Strange to say, tar, from its pungent properties, induces healthy action in the part, and is peculiarly adapted