Part 5 out of 10
great pain, yet the man of good feeling would not meddle with them. He
would not unnecessarily inflict any pain that he can avoid; and here, in
several of the breeds, the toe is united by an actual joint; and if they
are dissected because they are a little in the way, it is a barbarous
operation, and nothing can justify it.
[Notwithstanding our author's condemnation of this practice, there are
many sportsmen who think it very necessary to remove this supernumerary
toe, fearing that it may interfere with the dog while hunting, as above
Mr. Blain, both a practical sportsman and scientific gentleman, to whose
opinions we must at all times show a due regard, considers the removal
of these false appendages very necessary, stating that they often become
troublesome, not only in the field, but that they frequently turn in and
wound the flesh with their nails.
We have never seen any particular inconvenience arising from the
presence of these dew-claws, and are not in the habit of taking them
off; but, as the operation is a trifling one, and attended with little
or no pain, we are disposed to recommend its general adoption, as it
improves the appearance of the legs; and their presence may sometimes
prove inconvenient to the animal, as stated by Mr. Blain. These claws
most commonly have a ligamentous attachment only to the leg, which may
be divided, a few days after birth, by a pair of sharp scissors or a
knife; and if a bony union exists, it is generally of such a trifling
nature that it can be severed in the same way.--L.]
The cruelties that are perpetrated on puppies during the course of their
education or 'breaking-in', are sometimes infamous. Young dogs, like
young people, must be to a certain degree coerced; but these animals
receive from nature so great an aptitude for learning, and practising
that which we require of them, and their own pleasure is so much
connected with what they learn, that there is no occasion for one-tenth
part of the correction that is occasionally inflicted; and the frequent
consequence of the cruelty to which they are subjected, is cowardice or
ferocity during life.
Not many years ago, as the author was going over one of the commons in
the neighbourhood of the metropolis, now enclosed, he heard the loud
sounds of the lash and the screams of a dog. He hurried on, and found
two men, one holding a greyhound while another was unmercifully flogging
him. He had inflicted many lashes, and was continuing the correction.
The author indignantly interfered, and the dog was liberated, but with a
great deal of abuse from the men; and a gentleman galloping up, and who
was the owner of the dog, and a Middlesex magistrate to boot, seemed
disposed to support his people in no very measured terms On being
addressed, however, by name, and recognising the speaker, and his
attention being directed to the 'whaled' and even bloody state of
the dog, he offered the best excuse that he could.
We met again some months afterwards. "That hiding," said he, "that
offended you so much did Carlo good, for he has not been touched since."
"No," was the reply; "you were a little ashamed of your fellows, and
have altered your system, and find that your dogs do not want this
Stories are told of the 'kennel-hare'--a hare kept on purpose, and which
is sometimes shown to the fox or stag-hounds. The moment that any of
them open, they are tied up to the whipping-post, and flogged, while the
keepers at every stroke call out "Ware hare!" A sheep has also been
shown to them, or still is, after which another unmerciful flogging is
administered, amidst cries of "Ware sheep!" If this is not sufficient,
some of the wool is dipped in train oil, and put into the dog's mouth,
which is sewed up for many hours in order to cure him of sheep-biting.
There was an almost similar punishment for killing poultry; and there
was the 'puzzle' and the 'check-collar', cruelly employed, for killing
There is a great deal of truth, and there may occasionally be some
exaggeration, in these accounts; but the sportsman who is indebted for
the pleasures of the field to the intelligence and exertions of his
horses and his dogs, is bound, by every principle that can influence an
honourable mind, to defend them from all wanton and useless cruelty.
There is a dog, and a faithful and valuable one, that powerfully demands
the assistance of the humane--the yard or watch-dog. He is not only for
the most part deprived of his liberty, but too often neglected and made
unnecessarily to suffer. How seldom do we see him in the enjoyment of a
good bed of straw, or, rather, how frequently is everything about his
kennel in a most filthy and disgusting state! The following hint not
only relates to him, but to every dog that is tied up out of doors.
"Their cribs or their kennels, as they are called, should be constructed
so as to turn, in order to prevent their inmates from being exposed to
the cutting blasts of winter. Where they have no other refuge, all
animals seek shelter from the weather by turning their backs to the
wind; but, as the dog thus confined cannot do so, his kennel should be
capable of turning, or at least should be placed so as not to face the
weather more than is necessary. The premises would be in quite as great
security, for the dog depends as much upon his ear and sense of smell as
upon his eye, and would equally detect a stranger's presence if he were
deprived of sight."
In the Zoological Gardens, an old blind dog used to be placed at the
door of the dissecting-house. Few had any business there, and every one
of them he, after a while, used to recognise and welcome full ton yards
off, by wagging his tail; at the same distance, he would begin to growl
at a stranger unless accompanied by a friend. From the author's long
habit of noticing him, he used to recognise his step before it would
seem possible for its sound to be heard. He followed him with his
sightless eyes in whatever direction he moved, and was not satisfied
until he had patted and fondled him.
Of the demoniacal use of the dog in the 'fighting-pits', and the
atrocities that were committed there, I will not now speak. These places
were frequented by few others than the lowest of the low. Cruelties were
there inflicted that seemed to be a libel on human nature; and such was
the baneful influence of the scene, that it appeared to be scarcely
possible for any one to enter these pits without experiencing a greater
or less degree of moral degradation.
The public dog-pits have now been put down; but the system of
dog-fighting, with most of its attendant atrocities, still continues.
There are many more low public-houses than there used to be pits, that
have roomy places behind, and out of sight, where there are regular
meetings for this purpose. Those among the neighbours who cannot fail of
being annoyed and disgusted by the frequent uproar, might give a clue to
these dens of infamy; and the depriving of a few of the landlords of
their license would go a great way towards the effectual suppression of
Would it be thought possible that certain of our young aristocracy keep
fighting-dogs at the repositories of various dealers in the outskirts of
the metropolis; and that these animals remain there, as it were, at
livery, the owners coming at their pleasure, and making and devising
what matches they think proper?
However disgraceful it may be, it is actually the fact. Here is a field
for "the suppression of cruelty!"
The practice of stealing dogs is both directly and indirectly connected
with a great deal of cruelty. There are more than twenty miscreants who
are well known to subsist by picking up dogs in the street. There are
generally two of them together with aprons rolled round their waists.
The dog is caught up at the corner of one of the streets, concealed in a
moment in the apron, and the thieves are far away before the owner
suspects the loss. These dogs, that have been used to every kind of
luxury, are crowded into dark and filthy cellars, where they become
infected by various diseases. The young ones have distemper, and the old
ones mange, and all become filled with vermin. There they remain until a
sufficient reward is offered for their recovery, or they are sent far
into the country, or shipped for France or some other foreign market.
Little or nothing is done by punishing the inferior rogues in this
traffic. The blow must be struck at those of a superior class. I will
not assert that every dog-dealer is in league with, and profits by, the
lower thieves; but it is true of a great many of them, and it is the
principal and most lucrative part of their trade. They are likewise
intimately connected with the dog-fights, and encourage them, for the
sake of their trade as dealers. An attempt should be made to bring the
matter home to these scoundrels. 
[Dog-stealing, we are more particularly informed by Col. Hawker, is
reduced to a perfect system in London, and carried on by a set of
fellows who, by their cunning and peculiar knack, are enabled to avoid
all detection in their nefarious traffic, and thus, by extortion of
rewards or sales of stolen dogs, reap a rich harvest for the whole
fraternity from the well-stored pockets of the numerous dog-fanciers of
the English capital.
The villains engaged in this business are known among themselves under
the too often abused sobriquet of "the Fancy," and assuming the garb of
different mechanics, prowl about the streets, oftentimes with the proper
tools in their hands, carelessly watching the movements of every dog
that passes by, ready to grab him up the first fitting opportunity. The
dog is then concealed till a suitable reward is offered for him, when,
through the intervention of a third person, a trusty agent of the
society, he is delivered over to his rightful owner, the actual rogue
never appearing in the whole transaction.
If no reward, or an insufficient one, is offered for the recovery of the
dog, he is either sent off to the country, or, perhaps, cautiously
exposed for sale in some distant quarter of the city, or perhaps killed
for his skin alone.
These gentry, however, prefer returning dogs to their owners for a
moderate compensation, as they thus know at what rate the animal is
valued, and cherish the hope of soon being able to steal him again, and
thus obtaining another reward.
There have been instances of a lady paying, in successive rewards, a sum
not less than fifteen guineas for a miserable little lap-dog not worth
as many shillings.
If anything is said about the law, or threats of prosecution held out in
the notice offering a reward for a "lost or stolen dog," the death of
the kidnapped animal is inevitable, as the "Fancy" prefer sacrificing an
occasional prize rather than run the risk of detection by some
enthusiastic or stubborn dog owner. These fellows, as well as thieves
generally, are said to have a method of quieting the fiercest watch-dogs
by throwing them a narcotic ball, which they call "puddening the
The following account, extracted from Hawker's work, will give the
American reader a 'perfect' insight into the maneuvering of these
"In the month of May, 1830, Mr. Lang lost a favourite setter. He
posted handbills offering two guineas reward; on hearing of which a
man came and told him the reward was not enough, but that if he would
make it four guineas he could find his dog, and the amount must be
deposited in the hands of a landlord who would procure him a
ticket-card. He should then be met to his appointment in some private
field, where he would receive his dog on condition that no questions
should be asked. Mr. Lang sent his shopman, about half-past ten at
night, to White Conduit Fields to meet the parties, who, on receiving
the ticket, delivered up the dog. But there was great hesitation in
transacting this affair, in consequence of the dog having on a lock to
a steel chain collar with Mr. Lang's name, and which, therefore,
induced them to proceed with extreme caution, through fear, as they
supposed, of detection for felony. The whole amount paid for
recovering this setter was L4 17s., L2 10s. of which went to the men
who had him. The rest was divided among others of the "Fancy". The
same person who gave Mr. Lang the information, said that if ever he
lost a dog, and applied to him, he could undertake to get him back
again within thirty-six hours, provided he would make it worth his
while to do so; because all dogs taken by the "Fancy" are brought to
their office and regularly booked by the secretary."
('Hawker on Shooting', p. 592.)--L.]
[Footnote 1: Plutarch relates that, at the theatre of Marcellus, a dog
was exhibited before the emperor Vespasian, so well instructed as to
exercise in every kind of dance. He afterwards feigned illness in a most
singular manner, so as to strike the spectators with astonishment. He
first exhibited various symptoms of pain; he then fell down as if dead,
and, afterwards seeming to revive, as if waking from a profound sleep,
and then sported about and showed various demonstrations of joy.]
[Footnote 2: Mr. Bishop, of Bond-street, has assured the public, that he
is able to prove that money has recently been extorted from the owners
of dogs by dog-stealers and their confederates, to the amount of more
than a thousand pounds. Surely this calls for the decided interposition
of the legislature. A strange case of atrocity and cruelty was related
by a gentleman to Mr. Bishop.
"A young dog of mine," says he, "was lost in London, and, being aware
that if a noise was made about it, a great price would be asked for
it, I gave out that I wanted to purchase one: I was shown my own dog.
I seized it; but there were several scoundrels present who professed
to belong to it, and threatened to kill the dog if I did not pay for
it. I proceeded to describe it as my own, stating that it had 'bad
back or double teeth'. Judge of my surprise when, after great
difficulty, and the dog crying greatly, its mouth was opened, and all
the back teeth had been taken out! I paid two pounds for it before
they would let me take it away; but, in consequence of the injuries it
had received, it died a few days afterward."]
* * * * *
INTRODUCTION TO CANINE PATHOLOGY.
BY THE EDITOR.
PREDISPOSITION TO, AND CAUSES OF, DISEASES IN DOGS.--THE
CLAIMS OF DOGS UPON US.
"Unnumbered accidents and various ills
Attend thy pack, hang hovering o'er their heads,
And point the way that leads to death's dark cave.
Short is their span, few at the date arrive
Of ancient Argus, in old Homer's song
So highly honour'd."
The dog from early youth, in fact oftentimes at the very period of
birth, is exposed to many dangerous and troublesome affections, the
result of causes not less complex and multifarious than those that exert
an influence over the human organization. Many diseases are the
consequence of their domesticity and the hereditary defects of their
progenitors, others are dependent upon accidental circumstances, bad
treatment, and improper nourishment. Not a few, however, of their most
mortal maladies are the production of contagion, infection, and other
like causes, all exercising a general tendency to disease difficult to
define and impossible to avoid.
Although every species of dog is more or less subject to certain
diseases peculiar to their race, those breeds of most value and more
particularly subservient to the will of man are liable to a greater
number of ills and casualties than other dogs, for the reason that they
are more frequently exposed to unnatural fatigue, extremes of heat and
cold, as also to the various dangers dependent upon the chase of wild
animals. Those diseases resulting from specific causes, either natural
to the race or artificially produced by the animal itself in a state of
morbid derangement, are most frequent and fatal, as witnessed in
distemper, rabies, mange, &c. The intimate connexion existing between
the diseases of our canine friends and those of the human race, as also
the strong similarity in the action of many drugs over the two systems,
render the study of one branch almost synonymous with that of the other.
A little attention, therefore, on the part of the physician will render
him quite familiar with and competent to relieve the many sufferings of
these our most faithful and grateful of companions, and at the same time
create an interest in a study that cannot fail to be productive of
pleasure as well as information.
This subject, though claiming the attention of many skilful and
intelligent persons in England and other countries, has scarce been
thought of among us, and the mere mention of an infirmary or hospital
for the accommodation of invalid dogs, would involuntarily create a
smile of incredulity or contempt upon the face of most of our
countrymen. Notwithstanding this display of ignorance and positive want
of humane feeling for animal suffering, or a just appreciation of canine
worth, we must beg leave to inform these unbelievers that such
institutions are quite numerous in many large cities of the old world;
and they must also learn that these institutions are conducted by
gentlemen of science upon a system not less regular and useful in this
particular branch, than similar establishments appropriated for the
relief of suffering humanity.
To these hospitals hundreds of valuable sick dogs are annually sent,
where they receive every attention, and are often snatched from the very
jaws of death, or prevented, when attacked by rabies or other frightful
affections, from doing mischief or propagating infection. Medicines the
most potent are administered to these interesting patients with the
utmost care, either as assuagers of temporary pain, or as remedial
agents in the cure of disease. Operations the most complex are performed
with the greatest skill, and every attention is bestowed upon these
invalids in their different wards, and no trouble is considered too
great to save the life and secure the services of a valuable and
As we have no such establishments in this country, and but a few persons
upon whom we can rely for assistance in case of need, it behooves every
lover of the dog to make himself familiar with, and the mode of treating
the most prominent affections of these companions of our sports, and at
the same time acquire a knowledge of the operations of certain medicines
upon the system in a state of health or disease, so that our trusty
followers may not be left to the tender mercies and physicking
propensities of ignorant stablemen, or the officious intermeddling of
the "pill-directing horse doctor."
The necessity of resorting to the assistance of either one or the other
of these worthies is equally unfortunate, as the former will most
generally kill the patient by slow degrees in forcibly and largely
administering the two modern specifics for all canine affections, viz.:
"soap pills and flowers of sulphur." While the latter, more bold but not
less ignorant than the former, and his practice is perhaps the
preferable of the two evils, will murder the dog out-right by the free
exhibition of calomel, nux vomica and other deleterious substances, of
the operation of which he has but little knowledge or conception. This
latter system, as before said, is the most preferable, as its adoption
secures for our favourite a speedy termination of his sufferings, and
also relieves our own minds from a state of suspense that illustrates
too forcibly the remark, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick."
REMEDIAL MEANS FOR THE CURE OF DISEASES.
There are but few remedies useful for the cure of diseases in the human
race that might not he employed by a skilful practitioner in overcoming
the same or different ailments in the dog. There are, however, several
drugs that cannot be used in the same proportions for the one as for the
other, without danger of producing fatal consequences, as instanced in
calomel, a medicine so often abused by those who pretend to a knowledge
of its administration in the maladies of dogs.
This article, though given with impunity to mankind in doses varying
from five grains to twenty grains, as also oftentimes administered to
horses in quantities three or four times as great, without any
appreciable effect, will not unfrequently, in minute doses of three
grains to four grains, produce the most violent symptoms in the
strongest dogs. We have seen severe vomiting and purging occasioned by
these small doses, and we once salivated a large mastiff by the
administration of two blue pills. It is thus that both the regular
physician, and even the veterinary surgeon, unacquainted with this
remarkable peculiarity, will make fatal mistakes; and how much oftener
must such blunders take place when we intrust our canine friends to the
care of stable-boys, or a "routine horse-doctor!"
Nux vomica, another medicine much used, and most important in the
treatment of all nervous affections, is particularly noxious to dogs
even in small quantities; a dose sufficient for a human subject under
some circumstances, would almost inevitably destroy the animal under the
same or analogous conditions.
A drachm of the powdered nux vomica is sufficient to destroy the largest
and most powerful dog, while a few grains will sometimes produce death
in a few minutes if administered to smaller animals.
We prescribed forty grains in a roll of butter for a worthless cur a
short time since, which, as expected, produced great anxiety, difficulty
of respiration, severe vomiting, tremors, spasmodic twitchings of the
muscles, convulsions, and ultimate death in the course of half an hour.
This powerful drug acts by causing a spasmodic stricture of the muscles
engaged in respiration, as no signs of inflammation are observable in
the stomach and other organs after death.
Spirits of turpentine, another remedy both simple and innocent in its
operations upon the human economy, and so frequently prescribed for the
expulsion of worms from the bowels, is a dangerous medicine for a dog,
and will often in very small quantities prove fatal.
Aloes, a medicine more extensively used in canine pathology than any
other in the materia medica, is also very peculiar in its operations
upon these animals, they being able to bear immense doses of it, in fact
quite sufficient to produce death if given to a hearty man.
Thus we might continue to enumerate other drugs which we have
ascertained, from practical observation as well as the experiments of
other, to exercise a peculiar action on the vital functions of the whole
canine race, quite at variance with that common to both man and the
other domestic animals.
In combating with the diseases of animals, the veterinary surgeon has
more to contend with than the regular physician, and, in fact, should
possess a knowledge and habit of observation even superior to the
former; although the responsibility of his calling, in a moral sense, is
much inferior to that of the other, as the importance of animal
existence, under no circumstances, can be placed in comparison with that
of human life: still acuteness of observation alone can direct him to
the main cause of suffering in the brute creation, as the animal, though
groaning under the most severe pains, cannot by any word of explanation
point out to us the seat, the probable cause, or peculiar
characteristics of such pain. We see that our dog is ill, he refuses his
food, retires gloomily to his house, looks sullen, breathes heavy, is no
longer delighted at our call. We cannot question him as to his feelings,
or ask him to point out the particular region of his sufferings; we
watch his motions, study his actions, and rely for our diagnosis upon
general symptoms deduced from close observation.
Besides these external ocular evidences of morbid action, we have, as in
the human subject, guides to direct us in forming a just opinion as to
the nature of a dog's indisposition.
The state of the circulation is the first thing that should command our
The pulse of dogs in health varies from one hundred to one hundred and
twenty strokes per minute, according to the size and peculiar
temperament of the animal, being more frequent in the small breeds.
The standard of the setter, pointer, hound, &c., may be stated at one
hundred and five.
The action of the heart may be felt by placing the hand immediately over
that organ, or applying the fingers to several points in the body and
limbs where the large arteries are somewhat superficial, as on the
inside of the fore-knee and the thigh of the hind-leg.
If the pulse in a state of rest exceeds the average standard in
frequency, regularity, and softness, and a general feeling of uneasiness
be present, together with reddened eyes, warm nose, and coated tongue,
we know at once that there is an unnatural derangement of the vital
functions, and that fever in some form is present. The next question to
determine is, upon what does this fever depend? whether it be
idiopathic, arising from morbific causes difficult to define, or whether
it be sympathetic, with some organic affection yet to be discovered.
The appearance of the tongue in canine diseases will often materially
assist us in forming a correct diagnosis; this organ in simple fever
loses its rose-colour and becomes pale and coated, the gums and faeces
also participate in this change.
If, however, the tongue be much furred, with a bright inflammatory
appearance around the edges, with high arterial excitement, and disgust
of food, with general anxiety and craving for water in small but
frequent quantities, inflammation of the stomach or bowels may be
suspected. If, on the other hand, the tongue remains brown and streaked,
with less action of the pulse, variable appetite and diminution of pain,
derangement of the liver may be apprehended.
If, in connection with some or all of the above symptoms, the breathing
be laboured and painful, with a disposition to remain in the erect or
sitting position, with great anxiety and general distress, we must look
to the pulmonic viscera as the seat of the disease.
Thus, by examining each and every individual symptom of disease, the
intelligent sportsman will soon be able to arrive at the proximate cause
of all this unnatural state of things, and then he will be competent to
administer such remedies as may seem most likely to afford relief.
Without these precautions, however, he would often be groping in the
dark, and, consequently, not unfrequently, apply those remedies more
calculated to aggravate than cure the malady.
* * * * *
DESCRIPTION OF THE SKELETON.
DISEASES OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM:--FITS; TURNSIDE, OR GIDDINESS, EPILEPSY;
CHOREA; RHEUMATISM AND PALSY.
[As with all the illustrations in this text, the canine skeleton and
legend to the diagram are displayed fully in the html version.]
DISEASES OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM.
24th Feb. 1814.--A pug was accustomed to howl frequently when his young
master played on the flute. If the higher notes were sounded, he would
leap on his master's lap, look in his face, and howl vehemently. To-day
the young man purposely blew the shrillest sound that he could. The dog,
after howling three or four times, began to run round the room, and over
the tables and chairs, barking incessantly. This he continued more than
When I saw him all consciousness of surrounding objects was gone. He was
still running feebly, but barking might and main.
I dashed a basin of cold water in his face, and he dropped as if he had
been shot. He lay motionless nearly a minute, and then began to struggle
and to bark; another cup of water was dashed in his face, and he lay
quite motionless during two minutes or more. In the mean time I had got
a grain each of calomel and tartar emetic, which I put on his tongue,
and washed it down with a little water. He began to recover, and again
began to yelp, although much softer; but, in about a quarter of an hour,
sickness commenced, and he ceased his noise. He vomited three or four
times, and lay frightened and quiet. A physic-ball was given him in the
evening, and on the following morning.
On the next day the young man put open the door, and sat himself down,
and began to prepare the flute; the dog was out in a moment, and did not
return during a couple of hours. On the following day he made his escape
again, and so the matter went on; but before the expiration of the week,
his master might play the flute if he pleased.
TURNSIDE, OR GIDDINESS.
This is a singular disease prevalent among cattle, but only occasionally
seen in the dog. He becomes listless, dull, off his food, and scarcely
recognises any surrounding object. He has no fit, but he wanders about
the room fur several hours at a time, generally or almost invariably in
the same direction, and with his head on one side. At first he carefully
avoids the objects that are in his way; but by degrees his mental
faculties become impaired; his sense of vision is confused or lost, and
he blunders against everything: in fact, if uninterrupted, he would
continue his strange perambulation incessantly, until he was fairly worn
out and died in convulsions.
I used to consider the complaint to be uniformly fatal. I have resorted
to every remedial measure that the case could suggest. I have bled, and
physicked and setoned, and blistered, and used the moxa; but all without
avail, for not in a single case did I save my patient.
No opportunity of 'post-mortem' examination was lost. In some cases I
have found spicula projecting from the inner plate of the skull, and
pressing upon or even penetrating the dura mater. I know not why the dog
should be more subject to these irregularities of cranial surface than
any of our other patients; but decidedly he is so, and where they have
pressed upon the brain, there has been injection of the membranes, and
sometimes effusion between them.
In some cases I have found effusion without this external pressure, and,
in some cases, but comparatively few, there has not been any perceptible
lesion. Hydatids have been found in the different passages leading to
the cranium, but they have not penetrated.
I used to recommend that the dog should be destroyed; but I met with two
or three favourable cases, and, after that, I determined to try every
measure that could possibly be serviceable. I bled, and physicked, and
inserted setons, and tried to prevent the utter exhaustion of the
animal. When he was unable longer to perform his circumvolutions, and
found that he was foiled, he laid himself down, and by degrees resumed
his former habits. He was sadly impatient and noisy; but in a few cases
he was cured.
[We have seen but two or three cases of this disease in dogs, are led to
believe that it is quite uncommon with our domestic animals. One case in
a valuable setter came on suddenly, and without any apparent cause
(except perhaps over-feeding), and terminated fatally in the course of a
in the dog assumes a most fatal character. It is an accompaniment, or a
consequence, of almost every other disease. When the puppy is undergoing
the process of dentition, the irritation produced by the pressure of the
tooth, as it penetrates the gum, leads on to epilepsy. When he is going
through the stages of distemper, with a very little bad treatment, or in
spite of the best, fits occur. The degree of intestinal irritation which
is caused by worms, is marked by an attack of epilepsy. If the usual
exercise be neglected for a few days, and the dog is taken out, and
suffered to range as he likes, the accumulation of excitability is
expended in a fit.
The dog is, without doubt, the most intellectual animal. He is the
companion and the friend of man: he exhibits, and is debased by some of
his vices; but, to a greater degree than many will allow, he exhibits
all the intelligence and the virtues of the biped. In proportion to his
bulk, the weight of his brain far exceeds that of any other
quadruped--the very smallest animals alone being excepted, in whom there
must be a certain accumulation of medullary matter in order to give
origin to the nerves of every system, as numerous in the minutest as in
him of greatest bulk.
As it has been said of the human being that great power and exertion of
the mental faculties are sometimes connected with a tendency to
epilepsy, and, as violent emotions of joy or of grief have been known to
be followed by it, I can readily account for its occurrence in the young
dog, when frightened at the chiding of his master, or by the dread of a
punishment which he was conscious that he had deserved. Then, too, I can
understand that, when breaking loose from long confinement, he ranges in
all the exuberance of joy; and especially when he flushes almost his
first covey, and the game falls dead before him, his mental powers are
quite overcome, and he falls into an epileptic fit.
The treatment of epilepsy in the dog is simple, yet often misunderstood.
It is connected with distemper in its early stage. It is the produce of
inflammation of the mucous passages generally, which an emetic and a
purgative will probably, by their direct medicinal effect, relieve, and
free the digestive passages from some source of irritation, and by their
mechanical action unburthen the respiratory ones.
When it is symptomatic of a weak state of the constitution, or connected
with the after stages of distemper, the emeto-purgative must be
succeeded by an anodyne, or, at least, by that which will strengthen,
but not irritate the patient.
A seton is an admirable auxiliary in epilepsy connected with distemper;
it is a counter-irritant and a derivative, and its effects are a
salutary discharge, under the influence of which inflammation elsewhere
will gradually abate.
I should, however, be cautious of bleeding in distemper fits. I should
be fearful of it even in an early stage, because I well know that the
acute form of that general mucous inflammation soon passes over, and is
succeeded by a debility, from the depression of which I cannot always
rouse my patient. When the fits proceed from dentition, I lance the
jaws, and give an emetic, and follow it up with cooling purgative
medicine. When they are caused by irregular and excessive exercise, I
open the bowels and make my exercise more regular and equable. When they
arise from excitation, I expose my patient more cautiously to the
influence of those things which make so much impression on his little
but susceptible mind.
If the fit has resisted other means, bleeding should be resorted to. A
fit in other animals is generally connected with dangerous determination
of blood to the head, and bleeding is imperative. A fit in the dog may
be the consequence of sudden surprise and irritation. If I had the means
I should see whether I could not break the charm; whether I could not
get rid of the disturbance, by suddenly affecting the nervous system,
and the system generally, in another way. I would seize him by the nape
of the neck, and, with all my force, dash a little cold water in his
face. The shock of this has often dispersed the epileptic agency, as it
were by magic. I would give an emeto-purgative; a grain or a grain and a
half of calomel and the same quantity of tartar emetic: I would soothe
and coax the poor animal. Then,--and if I saw it at the beginning, I
would do it early,--if the fit was more dependent upon, or was beginning
to be connected with, determination of blood to the head, and not on any
temporary cause of excitation or irritation, I would bleed freely from
The following singular case of epilepsy is narrated by M.W. Leblanc:
A dog of small size, three years old, was very subject to those
epileptic fits that are so frequent among dogs. After a considerable
period, the fits would cease, and the animal recover the appearance of
perfect health; but the more he advanced in age the more frequent were
the fits, which is contrary to that which usually happens.
The last fit was a very strong one, and was followed by peculiar
symptoms. The animal became dispirited. The eyes lost their usual lively
appearance, and the eyelids were often closed. The dog was very drowsy,
and, during sleep, there were observed, from time to time, spasmodic
movements, principally of the head and chest. 'He always lay down on the
left side'. When he walked, he had a marked propensity to turn to the
M. Leblanc employed purgatives, a seton to the back part of the neck,
and the application of the cautery to the left side of the forehead; but
nothing would stop the progress of the disease, and he died in the
course of two months after the last fit. The nearer he approached his
end the smaller were the circles that he took; and, in the latter part
of his existence, he did little more than turn as if he were on a pivot,
and, when the time arrived that he could walk no more, he used to lay
himself down on the right side.
On the 'post-mortem' examination, a remarkable thickness of the meninges
was found on almost the whole of the left lobe of the brain. The dura
mater, the two leaves of the arachnoid membrane, and the pia mater did
not constitute more than one membrane of the usual thickness, and
presented a somewhat yellow colouring. The cerebral substance of the
left lobe appeared to be a little firmer than that of the right lobe.
The fissures of the cerebral devolutions were much less deep than those
of the other side The red vessels which ran in the fissures were of
smaller size, and in some places could scarcely be discovered.
[Confinement, over-feeding, blows on the head or spine, drying up of old
ulcers, repelling of cutaneous affections, or, in fact, anything that is
liable to derange the general health of the animal, will produce
We formerly had a beagle hound of very active temperament, which we were
necessarily obliged to keep much confined while in the city; and to
restrain her from running too wildly when taken into the streets, we
were in the habit of coupling her with a greyhound of much milder
disposition. Not being willing to submit lamely to this unpleasant check
upon her liberty, she was ever making fruitless attempts to escape,
either by thrusting herself forwards, or obstinately pulling backwards.
These efforts resulted on several occasions in fits, produced by
congestion of the brain, owing to the pressure of the collar on the
neck, thereby interrupting the circulation, and inducing an influx of
blood to those parts. We were ultimately obliged to abandon this method
of restraint, which nearly proved fatal to our much-admired beagle: she
being suddenly seized with one of these fits on a hot summer's day in
one of our principal thoroughfares, the crowd of ignorant bystanders
concluded it to be a case of rabies, and nothing but my taking her up in
my arms, and carrying her from the scene of action, saved her from
falling a victim to their ignorance.
If the disease appears dependent upon plethora the result of confinement
and gross living, the animal must be reduced by bleeding and purging,
low diet, and exercise. If, however, the malady proceeds from weakness,
as is sometimes the case in bitches while suckling a large litter, it
will be necessary to relieve her of some of the pups, and supply her
with the most nutritious diet, as also administer tonic balls; the
following will answer.
[Symbol: Rx]: Extract of Gentian, Quassia, aa (each) grs. V, made into
two pills, and one or two given morning and evening;
[Symbol: Rx]: Powdered Columbo. Carbonate of Iron, aa, grs. V, made
into two pills, and one given morning and evening, or more frequently if
A seton placed in the poll will often prevent these attacks,
particularly when depending upon slight cerebral irritation,
accompanying distemper and mange. Blisters and frictions to the spine
are also serviceable.--L.]
This is an irregular reception or distribution of nervous power--a
convulsive involuntary twitching of some muscle or set of muscles. It is
an occasional consequence of distemper that has been unusually severe or
imperfectly treated, and sometimes it is seen even after that disease
has existed in its mildest form.
[This nervous affection, more commonly known as St. Vitus' dance, is not
a rare disease, and we doubt not that examples of it have been seen by
most of our readers, more particularly in young dogs affected with
This malady is characterized by sudden involuntary twitchings of the
different muscles of the body, the disease being sometimes confined to
one limb, sometimes to two, and frequently pervades the whole system,
giving the dog a distressing and painful appearance. These involuntary
motions, it is very true, are generally restricted during sleep,
although in old chronic cases of long standing they often continue in
full activity without any remission whatever. The disease is not
attended with fever, and all the functions generally remain for a
considerable time unimpaired.--L.]
It first appears in one leg or shoulder, and is long, or perhaps
entirely, confined to that limb. There is a singular spasmodic jerking
action of the limb. It looks like a series of pulsations, and averages
from forty to sixty in a minute. Oftener, perhaps, than otherwise, both
legs are similarly affected. When the animal is lying down, the legs are
convulsed in the way that I have described, and when he stands there is
a pulsating depressing or sinking of the head and neck. In some cases,
the muscles of the neck are the principal seat of the disease, or some
muscle of the face; the temporal muscle beating like an artery; the
masseter opening and closing the mouth, the muscles of the eyelid, and,
in a few cases, those of the eye itself being affected. These convulsive
movements generally, yet not uniformly, cease during sleep, but that
sleep is often very much disturbed. If the case is neglected, and the
dog is in a debilitated state, this spasmodic action steals over the
whole frame, and he lies extended with every limb in constant and
In the majority of cases, such an expenditure of nervous and muscular
power slowly destroys the strength of the animal, and he dies a mere
skeleton; or the disease assumes the character of epilepsy, or it quiets
down into true palsy.
In the most favourable cases, no curative means having been used, the
dog regains his flesh and general strength; but the chorea continues,
the spasmodic action, however, being much lessened. At other times, it
seems to have disappeared; but it is ready to return when the animal is
excited or attacked by other disease. In a variety of instances, there
is the irritable temper which accompanies chorea in the human being, and
most certainly when the disease has been extensive and confirmed.
Chorea, neglected or improperly treated, or too frequently pursuing its
natural course, degenerates into paralysis agitans. There is a tremulous
or violent motion of almost every limb. The spasms are not relaxed, but
are even increased during sleep, and when the animal awakes, he rises
with agitation and alarm. There is not a limb under the perfect control
of the will; there is not a moment's respite; the constitution soon
sinks, and the animal dies. No person should be induced to undertake the
cure of such a case: the owner should be persuaded to permit a speedy
termination to a life which no skill can render comfortable.
Chorea is oftenest observed in young dogs, and especially after
distemper; and it seems to depend on a certain degree of primary or
sympathetic inflammatory affection of the brain.
Chorea is often very plainly a consequence of debility: either the
distribution of nervous power is irregular, or the muscles have lost
their power of being readily acted upon, or have acquired a state of
morbid irritability. The latter is the most frequent state. Their action
is irregular and spasmodic, and it resembles the struggles of expiring
nature far more than the great and uniform action of health. It is not
the chorea that used to be described, in which there was an irresistible
impulse to excessive action, and which was best combated by complete
muscular exhaustion; but the foundation of this disease is palpable
[Rickets, bad feeding, cold and damp housing, worms in the alimentary
canal, mange, and other chronic affections, are all forerunners of this
In the treatment of chorea there must be no bleeding, no excessive
purgation, but aperients or alteratives, merely sufficient to keep the
faeces in a pultaceous state, so as to carry off any source of irritation
to the intestinal canal, and particularly some species of worms, too
frequent sources of irritation there. To these should be added
nutritious food, gentle exercise, tonic medicines, and general comforts.
Counter-irritants may be applied--such as blisters over the head, and
setons, extending from poll to poll--the application of turpentine, or
the tincture of cantharides; but all of these will frequently be of no
effect, and occasionally a rapid and fearful increase of irritability
will ensue: antispasmodics are in this case of no use, and narcotics are
altogether powerless. As for tonics, iron and gentian have been
serviceable to a certain extent, but they have never cured the
complaint. The nitrate of silver will be the sheet-anchor of the
practitioner, and if early used will seldom deceive him. It should be
combined with ginger, and given morning and night, in doses varying from
one-sixth to one-third of a grain, according to the size of the dog.
The condition and strength of the dog, and the season of the year, will
be our best guides. If the patient has not lost much flesh, and is not
losing it at the time that we have to do with him, and has few symptoms
of general debility, and spring or summer are approaching we may with
tolerable confidence predict a cure; but, if he has been rapidly losing
ground, and is doing so still, and staggers about and falls, there is no
medicine that will restore him.
5th October, 1840.--A pointer, eighteen months old, had had the
distemper, but not severely, and was apparently recovering when he
suddenly lost all voluntary power over his limbs. He was unable to get
up, and his legs were in constant, rapid, and violent motion. This
continued three days, during which he had refused all food, when, the
dog being in the country, my advice was asked. I ordered a strong emetic
to be given to him, and after that a dose of Epsom salts, the insertion
of a seton, and, in addition to this, our usual tonic was to be given
twice every day. His food to consist chiefly of good strong soup, which
was to be forced upon him in a sufficient quantity.
In two days he was able to get up and stagger about, although frequently
falling. His appetite returned. He continued to improve, and most
rapidly gained strength and especially flesh. A very peculiar,
high-lifting, clambering, and uncertain motion of the legs remained,
with an apparent defect of sight, for he ran against almost everything.
In six weeks the seton was removed, and the dog remained in the same
state until the 7th of December. The uncertain clambering motion was now
increasing, and likewise the defect of sight. He ran against almost
every person and every thing. The cornea was transparent, the iris
contracted, there was no opacity of the lens, or pink tint of the
retina, but a peculiar glassy appearance, as unconscious of everything
around it. An emetic was given, and, after that, an ounce of sulphate of
8th. He was dreadfully ill after taking the salts; perhaps they were not
genuine. For two days he panted sadly, refused his food, and vomited
that which was forced upon him. His muzzle was hot; he could scarcely
stand; he lost flesh very rapidly. An emetic was given immediately, and
a distemper-ball daily.
16th. He soon began rapidly to recover, until he was in nearly the same
state as before, except that the sight was apparently more deficient.
The sulphate of magnesia was given every fourth day, and another seton
21st. He continued the medicine, and evidently improved, the sight
returning, and the spasms being considerably less. The distemper-ball
4th January, 1841.--The spasms were better; but the vision did not
improve. In the afternoon he fell into a momentary fit. He almost
immediately rose again, and proceeded as if nothing had happened. An
ounce of Epson salts was given, and then the tonic balls as before.
22d. The spasms were lessened, the clambering gait nearly ceased, but
the vision was not improved. The seton was removed, and only an
additional dose of salts given.
27th. The spasms suddenly and very considerably increased. The left side
appeared now to be particularly affected. The left leg before and behind
were most spasmed, the right scarcely at all so. The vision of the left
eye was quite gone. The dog had been taken to Mr. Alexander's, the
oculist, who attributed the affection of the eye and the general
spasmodic disease to some pressure on the brain, and recommended the
trial of copious and repeated bleeding.
28th. The dog was dull; the spasms appeared to have somewhat increased
and decidedly to affect the left side. Fever-balls were ordered to be
29th. Considerable change took place. At three o'clock this morning I
was disturbed by a noise in the hospital. The poor fellow was in a
violent fit. Water was dashed in his face, and a strong emetic given;
but it was not until seven o'clock that the fit had ceased; he lay until
eleven o'clock, when the involuntary spasms were almost suspended. When
he was placed on his feet, he immediately fell; he then gradually
revived and staggered about. His master brought a physician to see him,
who adopted Mr. Alexander's idea and urged bleeding. Ten ounces of blood
were immediately taken; the dog refused to eat.
1st February.--The strength of the animal was not impaired, but the
spasms were more violent, and he lay or wandered about stupid and almost
unconscious. I subtracted eight ounces more of blood.
2d. The spasms were fully as violent, and no amendment in the vision.
Eight ounces more of blood were subtracted without benefit. A fever-ball
was ordered to be given.
3d. No amendment; but the bleeding having been carried to its full
extent, I again resorted to the tonic balls, which were given morning
and night. The dog was well fed and the seton replaced.
5th. A very considerable amendment is evident.
9th. The spasms rapidly subsided and almost disappeared. Vision was not
perfectly restored; but the dog evidently saw with his left eye. He was
taken away, and tonic balls sent with him and ordered to be continued.
6th March.--The dog had improved in strength and no spasmodic affection
remained; he likewise evidently saw with his left eye. The tonic-balls
had been discontinued for a week, and his master hoped that all would
turn out well, when suddenly, while at home, he was seized with a fit
that lasted ten minutes. A strong emetic was given, which brought up a
vast quantity of undigested food. A strong purging-ball was given to him
in the evening.
13th. The dog had lain slightly spasmed for two or three days, when they
all at once ceased, and the animal appeared as well as before. Suddenly
he was taken with another fit, and again a vast quantity of food was
vomited. These spasms remained two days, but on the 21st the fit
returned with the same discharge of food. Courses of purgatives were
then determined on. A strong dose of sulphate of magnesia was given
every third day. After four doses had been given, it was impossible to
force any more upon him. The syrup of buckthorn was tried, but the
fourth dose of that it was impossible to give. The dog was then sent
into the country; no fit occurred, but there were occasional spasms.
23d September.--He was brought back to town, and I saw him. During the
last month he had had many fits. His owner at length consented that the
actual cautery should be applied to his head. The searing-iron for
doctoring was used, and applied red-hot to the centre of the head. It
was exceedingly difficult so to confine the dog as to make the
application effectual, without destroying the skin.
Under the influence of the sudden violent pain, he wandered about for
more than two hours, and then the spasms returned with greater force
than usual. He refused all food.
We determined to try the cautery to its full extent. We chained him up
in the morning, and penetrated through the skin with the budding-iron.
The spasms were dreadfully violent, and he was scarcely able to walk or
to stand. This gradually subsided, and then he began to run round and
round, and that increased to an extraordinary velocity: he would then
lie for a while with every limb in action. The owner then yielded to all
our wishes, and he was destroyed with prussic acid. No morbid appearance
presented itself in the brain; but, on the inner plate of the right
parietal bone, near the sagittal suture, were two projections, one-sixth
of an inch in length, and armed with numerous minute spicula. There was
no peculiar inflammation or vascularity of any other part of the brain.
[We once cured a case quite accidentally, by throwing a pup into a cold
stream of water, and making him swim ashore; we do not recommend the
plan, although we should be willing to try it again with one of our own
dogs. The animal should be forced to swim till nearly exhausted, and
wrapped up in blankets on coming out of the water. The intense alarm
created in the pup, together with the violent struggle and coldness of
the water, all act as revulsives to the disease, which, if purely
nervous, may be overcome by these powerful agents.
If the dog be weak, and the stomach deranged, the following tonic balls
will answer a good purpose:
[Symbol: Rx]: Carbonate of Iron.
Ground Ginger, aa, grs. X, made into two pills, one given morning and
evening, or more frequently according to the age or size of the
RHEUMATISM AND PALSY.
I do not know any animal so subject to 'rheumatism' as the dog, nor any
one in which, if it is early and properly treated, it is so manageable.
[We agree with our author, that the canine family are exceedingly liable
to inflammation of the fibrous and muscular structures of the body, and
there is no disease from which they suffer more, both in their youth and
old age, than rheumatism. No particular species of dogs are more subject
to its attacks than others, all being alike victims to its ravages. Mr.
Blaine remarks, that the bowels always sympathize with other parts of
the body suffering under this disease, and that inflammation will always
be found existing in the abdominal viscera, if rheumatism be present,
and the lower bowels will be attended with a painful torpor, which he
designates as rheumatic colic. We ourselves noticed, that old setters
particularly, when suffering from this disease, are frequently attacked
with an acute diarrhoea, or suffer from obstinate constipation attended
by griping pains, but did not know that this state of things was so
uniform an accompaniment to the other affection. There are two varieties
of rheumatism, the 'acute' and 'chronic', both of which are attended
with either general fever or local inflammation. The attacks usually
come on rather suddenly, the joints swell, the pulse becomes full and
tense, the parts tender, and the eyes blood-shot, the stomach deranged,
and the bowels costive. Severe lancinating pain runs through the
articulation, and along the course of the larger muscles, the tongue is
coated, the muzzle hot and dry, and the poor animal howls with agony.
The breathing becomes laboured, all food is rejected, and if you attempt
to move the sufferer he sends forth piteous cries of distress. 'The
causes' of this serious affection are very numerous; among the most
usual and active agents may be enumerated, exposure to atmospherical
vicissitudes, remaining wet and idle after coming from the water, damp
kennels, suppressed perspiration, metastasis of eruptive diseases,
luxurious living, laziness and over-feeding. These and many other causes
are all busy in the production of this disease. Duck dogs on the
Chesapeake, we have noticed as often suffering from this affection,
owing no doubt to the great exposure they are obliged to endure; but few
of them arrive at old age without being martyrs to the chronic form.
'Chronic rheumatism', generally the result of the other form of disease,
is most usually met with in old dogs: it is attended with little fever,
although the local inflammation and swelling is sometimes considerable.
The pain is often stationary in one shoulder or loin, at other times
shifts about suddenly to other portions of the body. The muscles are
tender and the joints stiff, the animal seems lame till he becomes
healed, and limber when all appearance of the disease vanishes. In old
cases the limbs become so much enlarged, and the joints so swollen, that
the dog is rendered perfectly useless, and consequently increases his
sufferings by idleness. 'This form of the disease is known as gout.'
Treatment of 'acute rheumatism'--bleeding largely is very important in
this affection, and if followed up with two or three purges of aloes,
gamboge, colocynth and calomel will arrest the progress of this disease.
Rx. Extract of Colocynth 3 [Symbol: scruple] i.
Calomel grs. x.
Powdered Gamboge grs. ii.
Socet. Aloes grs. x.
Made into four pills, two to be given at night, and the other the
following morning. If these medicines should not be handy, give a large
purging ball of aloes, to be followed by a full dose of salts. When the
inflammatory action is not sufficiently high to demand depletion, warm
bathing, friction and keeping the dog wrapped up in blankets before a
fire will generally afford relief. If the pain appear very severe, it
will be necessary to repeat the baths at short intervals: great
attention must be paid to the state of the bowels: if a diarrhoea
supervenes, it must not he checked too suddenly, by the use of
astringent medicines, but rather corrected by small doses of oil and
magnesia. If constipation attended with colic be the character of the
affection, small quantities of oil and turpentine in connexion with warm
enemata will be the proper remedies. If paralysis should occur, it will
be found very difficult to overcome, but must be treated, after the
reduction of inflammation, upon principles laid down under the head of
this latter affection. Blisters to the spine, setons, electricity,
'Treatment of chronic rheumatism'--warm baths are useful, and warm
housing absolutely necessary, attention to diet, and an occasional purge
of blue mass and aloes, together with electricity, acupuncture,
rubefacient applications to the spine, &c.--L.]
A warm bath--perchance a bleeding--a dose or two of the castor-oil
mixture, and an embrocation composed of spirit of turpentine, hartshorn,
camphorated spirit, and laudanum, will usually remove it in two or three
days, unless it is complicated with muscular sprains, or other lesions,
such as the 'chest-founder' of kennels.
This chest-founder is a singular complaint, and often a pest in kennels
that are built in low situations, and where bad management prevails.
Where the huntsman or whippers-in are too often in a hurry to get home,
and turn their dogs into the kennel panting and hot; where the beds are
not far enough from the floor, or the building, if it should be in a
sufficiently elevated situation, has yet a northern aspect and is
unsheltered from the blast, chest-founder prevails; and I have known
half the pack affected by it after a severe run, the scent breast-high,
and the morning unusually cold. It even occasionally passes on into
The veterinary surgeon will be sometimes consulted respecting this
provoking muscular affection. His advice will comprise--dryness,
attention to the bowels, attention to the exercise-ground, and perhaps,
occasionally, setons--not where the huntsman generally places them, on
the withers above, but on the brisket below, and defended from the teeth
of the dog by a roller of a very simple construction, passing round the
chest between the fore legs and over the front of the shoulders on
The pointer, somewhat too heavy before, and hardly worked, becomes what
is called chest-foundered. From his very make it is evident that, in
long-continued and considerable exertion, the subscapular muscles will
be liable to sprain and inflammation. There will be inflammation of the
fasciae, induration, loss of power, loss of nervous influence and palsy.
Cattle, driven far and fast to the market, suffer from the same causes.
[By palsy, we mean a partial or complete loss of the powers of motion or
sensation in some portion of the muscular system: this affection is very
common to the canine race, and very few of them reach an advanced age
without having at some time in their life experienced an attack of this
The loins and hind legs suffer oftener than other parts, in fact we do
not recollect ever meeting with paralysis of the fore limbs alone.
Although the limbs become perfectly powerless, and are only dragged
after the animal by the combined efforts of the fore legs and back, it
is seldom that they lose their sensibility.--L.]
Palsy is frequent, as in the dog. However easy it may be to subdue a
rheumatic affection, in its early stage, by prompt attention, yet if it
is neglected, it very soon simulates, or becomes essentially connected
with, or converted into, palsy.
No animal presents a more striking illustration of the connexion between
intestinal irritation and palsy than the dog. He rarely or never has
enteritis, even in its mildest form, without some loss of power over the
hinder extremities. This may at first arise from the participation of
the lumbar muscles with the intestinal irritation; but, if the disease
of the bowels continues long, it will be evident enough that it is not
pain alone that produces the constrained and incomplete action of the
muscles of the hind extremities, but that there is an actual loss of
nervous power. A dog is often brought to the veterinary surgeon, with no
apparent disease about him except a staggering walk from weakness of the
hind limbs. He eats well and is cheerful, and his muzzle is moist and
cool; but his belly is tucked up, and there are two longitudinal cords,
running parallel to each other, which will scarcely yield to pressure.
The surgeon orders the castor-oil mixture twice or thrice daily, until
the bowels are well acted upon, and, as soon as that is accomplished,
the dog is as strong and as well as ever. Perhaps his hind limbs are
dragged behind him; a warm bath is ordered, he is dosed well with the
castor-oil mixture, and, if it is a recent case, the animal is well in a
few days. In more confirmed palsy, the charge, or plaster on the loins,
is added to the action of the aperient on the bowels. The process may be
somewhat slow, but it is seldom that the dog does not ultimately and
It is easy to explain this connexion, although we should have scarcely
supposed that it would have been so intimate, had not frequent
experience forced it on our observation. The rectum passes through the
pelvis. Whatever may be said of that intestine, considering its vertical
position in the human being, it is always charged with faeces in the
quadruped. It therefore shares more in the effect, whatever that may be,
which is produced by the retention of faeces in the intestinal canal, and
it shares also in the inflammatory affection of other parts of the
canal. Almost in contact with this viscus, or at least passing through
the pelvis, are the crural nerves from the lumbar vertebrae, the
obtusator running round the rim of the pelvis, the glutal nerve
occupying its back, and the sciatic hastening to escape from it. It is
not difficult to imagine that these, to a certain degree, will
sympathize with the healthy and also the morbid state of the rectum; and
that, when it is inert, or asleep, or diseased, they also may be
powerless too. Here is something like fact to establish a very important
theory, and which should be deeply considered by the sportsman and the
[Loss of the contractile power of the sphincters of the bladder and
rectum, sometimes attends this disease, and involuntary evacuations are
constantly taking place, or costiveness and retention are the
Mr. Dupuy has given a valuable account of the knowledge we possess of
the diseases of the spinal marrow in our domestic quadrupeds.
He has proved:
1. That in our domestic animals the spinal marrow is scarcely ever
affected through the whole of its course.
2. That the dorsal and lumbar regions are the parts oftenest affected.
3. That inflammation of the spinal marrow of these regions always
produces palsy, more or less complete, of the abdominal members.
4. That, in some cases, this inflammation is limited to the inferior or
superior parts of the spinal marrow, and that there is loss only of
feeling or of motion.
5. That sometimes animals die of palsy without any organic lesion.
[Blows on the head, producing effusion on the brain, poisoning by lead,
inflammation of the spinal marrow, affections of the nerves, caries of
the spine, costiveness and affections of the bowels, are all productive
of palsy. If the disease proceeds from rheumatism, or other inflammatory
affections, independent of any organic lesion, the disease, if taken
early, is not difficult to overcome in the young subject. Warm baths,
bleeding, purging, and stimulating applications to the parts and along
the spine, will answer. Castor oil and turpentine is a good purge: where
the malady depends upon costiveness, purges of aloes should be
administered in connexion with warm enemata, stimulating frictions along
the spine, and hot baths. Croton oil dropped on the tongue will also be
of great benefit: if there should be effusion or compression from
fracture of the bones of the cranium, nothing but trephining will be of
any service, as we can hardly hope for the absorption of the matter, and
the removal of the spicula of bone can alone afford relief to the
patient. Paralysis arising from poisoning should be treated as described
under the head of mineral poisons. Chronic cases of paralysis arising
from want of tone of the nerves and spinal marrow, repeated blistering,
introduction of the seton along the spine, electricity, &c., have all
been tried with some success.
Strychnia, from its peculiar effects upon the animal economy, and its
almost exclusive direction to the nerves of motion, makes it a medicine
particularly applicable to the treatment of this disease. It may be
given in all stages of the malady, but is most serviceable after the
reduction of inflammatory action, and when we are convinced that the
disease depends upon want of tone in the motor muscles.
Great care should be had in its administration, as it is a powerful
poison in too large doses, to a large dog; commence with a quarter of a
grain in pill, three times daily, and gradually increase to a half grain
or more if the animal seems to bear it well. But it should be
discontinued immediately on the appearance of any constitutional
symptoms, such as spasmodic twitchings of the eyelids or muzzle.--L.]
11th February, 1835.--A Persian bitch, at the Zoological Gardens, who
was well yesterday, now staggers as she walks, and has nearly lost the
use of her hind legs. Gave a good dose of the castor-oil mixture.
18th. She is materially worse and drags her hind legs after her. I would
fain put on a charge, but the keeper does not like that her beautiful
coat should be spoiled, and wishes to try what gentle exercise will do.
She certainly, after she has been coaxed a great deal, will get on her
legs and stagger on fifty yards or more. Gave the castor-oil mixture
19th. She is a little stronger, and walks a little better. Continue the
mixture. Embrocate well with the rheumatic mixture--sp. tereb., sp.
camph., liq. ammon., et tinct. opii--and give gentle exercise.
2d March.--She does improve, although slowly; the charge is therefore
postponed. Continue treatment.
30th. She is considerably better. Continue the mixture, and use the
embrocation every second day.
10th April--She has mange in the bend of her arm, and on her chest. Use
the sulphur ointment and alterative balls, and omit the embrocation and
mixture. In less than a week she nearly recovered from her lameness, and
ran about almost as well as ever.
30th. She runs about very fairly, but the mange has assumed that
character of scurvy which I do not know how to grapple with. Continue
the alterative balls, and the ointment.
18th May.--The mange has disappeared, but the palsy is returning; she
staggers slightly, and droops behind. Give the castor-oil mixture and
use the embrocation.
14th June.--Mange quite gone, but palsy continues to a very considerable
degree. I want to use the plaster; but the keeper pleads for a little
delay. Continue the treatment.
1st July.--I have at length determined to have recourse to the charge. A
piece of thick sheep's leather was fitted lo her loins and haunches.
18th. She appears to be improving, but it is very slowly.
31st. Very little change. The plaster keeps on well: she has no power
over her hind limbs; but she eats and drinks as well as ever.
23d August.--No change. Give her half a grain of strychnia, morning and
26th That singular secretion of milk, to which the bitch is subject nine
weeks after oestrum, is now appearing. Her mammae are enlarged, and I
can squeeze a considerable quantity of milk out of the teats. Give an
aloetic pill, and continue the strychnia.
31st. The secretion of milk continues. There is slight enlargement and
some heat of the mammae; but she feeds as well as ever. Increase the
dose of strychnia to three-quarters of a grain.
On the following day she was found dead. In making the usual
longitudinal incision through the integuments of the abdomen a
considerable quantity of milky fluid, mingled with blood, followed the
knife. There was very slight enlargement of the teats, but intense
inflammation of the whole of the mammary substance. The omentum, and
particularly the portion opposite to the external disease, was also
inflamed. Besides this there was not a vestige of disease.
This is an interesting case and deserves record. I fear that justice was
not done to the animal at the commencement of the paralytic affection.
In nineteen cases out of twenty in the dog, the constant but mild
stimulus of a charge over the lumbar and sacral regions removes the
deeper-seated inflammation of the spinal cord or its membranes, when the
palsy is confined to the hind extremities, and has not been sufficiently
long established to produce serious change of structure. The charge
should have been applied at first. The almost total disappearance of the
palsy during the cutaneous disease, which was attended with more than
usual inflammation of the integument, is an instructive illustration of
the power of counter-irritation, and of what might possibly have been
effected in the first case; for much time was lost before the
application of the charge, and when at length it was applied, it and the
strychnia were powerless.
I consider the following case as exceedingly valuable, at least with
reference to the power of strychnia in removing palsy:--
19th August, 1836.--A fine Alpine dog was suddenly attacked with a
strange nervous affection. He was continually staggering about and
falling. His head was forcibly bent backward and a little on one side,
almost to his shoulder. A pound of blood was abstracted, a seton
inserted from ear to ear, and eight grains of calomel administered.
21st. He has perfectly lost the use of every limb. He has also
amaurosis. perfect blindness, which had not appeared the day before. He
hears perfectly, and he eats, and with appetite, when the food is put
into his mouth. Gave him two large spoonfuls of the castor-oil mixture
daily; this consists of three parts of castor-oil, two of syrup of
buck-thorn, and one of syrup of white poppies.
23d. A little better; can lift his head and throw it upon his side, and
will still eat when fed. Continue the mixture, and give half a grain of
24th. Little change.
27th. No change, except that he is rapidly losing flesh. Continue the
31th. The strychnia increased to three-fourths of a grain morning and
night. The castor-oil mixture continued in its full quantity. He was
fed well, but there was a sunken, vacant expression of countenance.
2d September.--He can move his head a little, and has some slight motion
in his limbs.
4th. He can almost get up. He recognises me for the first time. His
appetite, which was never much impaired, has returned: this is to be
attributed to strychnia, or the seton, or the daily aperient mixture.
They have all, perhaps, been serviceable, but I attribute most to the
strychnia; for I have rarely, indeed, seen any dog recover from such an
attack. Continue the treatment.
6th. Fast recovering. Medicine as before.
14th. Improving, but not so fast as before. Still continue the
28th. Going on slowly, but satisfactorily. Remove the seton, but
continue the other treatment.
13th October.--Quite well.
* * * * *
We are now arrived at one of the most important subjects in veterinary
pathology. In other cases the comfort and the existence of our quadruped
patients are alone or chiefly involved, but here the lives of our
employers, and our own too, are at stake, and may be easily, and too
often are, compromised. Here also, however other portions of the chain
may be overlooked or denied, we have the link which most of all connects
the veterinary surgeon with the practitioner of human medicine; or,
rather, here is the circumscribed but valued spot where the veterinary
surgeon has the vantage-ground.
In describing the nature, and cause and treatment of rabies, it will be
most natural to take the animal in which it oftenest appears, by which
it is most frequently propagated; the time at which the danger
commences, and the usual period before the death of the patient.
Some years ago a dog, naturally ferocious, bit a child at Lisson Grove.
The child, to all appearance previously well, died on the third day, and
an inquest was to be held on the body in the evening. The Coroner
ordered the dog to be sent to me for examination The animal was,
contrary to his usual habit, perfectly tractable. This will appear to be
of some importance hereafter. I examined him carefully. No suspicious
circumstance could be found about him. There was no appearance of
rabies. In the mean time the inquest took place, and the corpse of the
child was carefully examined. One medical gentleman thought that there
were some suspicious appearances about the stomach, and another believed
that there was congestion of the brain.
The owner of the dog begged that the animal might not be taken from him,
but might accompany him home. He took him home and destroyed him that no
experiments might be made.
With great difficulty we procured the carcass, and from some
inflammatory appearances about the tongue and the stomach, and the
presence of a small portion of indigestible matter in the stomach, we
were unanimously of opinion that the dog was rabid.
I do not mean to say that the child died hydrophobous, or that its death
was accelerated by the nascent disease existing in the dog. There was
probably some nervous affection that hastened the death of the infant,
and the dog bit the child at the very period when the malady first began
to develop itself. On the following day there were morbid lesions enough
to prove beyond doubt that he was rabid.
This case is introduced because I used afterwards to accompany every
examination of supposed or doubtful rabies with greater caution than I
probably had previously used.
It is occasionally very difficult to detect the existence of rabies in
its nascent state. In the year 1813, a child attempted to rob a dog of
its morning food, and the animal resisting the theft, the child was
slightly scratched by its teeth. No one dreamed of danger. Eight days
afterwards symptoms of rabies appeared in the dog, the malady ran its
course, and the animal died. A few days afterwards the child
sickened--undoubted characteristics of rabies were observed--they ran
their course and the infant was lost.
There are other cases--fortunately not numerous--in the records of human
surgery, resembling this. A person has been bitten by a dog, he has paid
little or no attention to it, and no application of the caustic has been
made. Some weeks, or even months, have passed, he has nearly or quite
forgotten the affair, when he becomes languid and feverish, and full of
fearful apprehensions, and this appearing perhaps during several days,
or more than a week. The empoisonment has then ceased to be a local
affair, the virus has entered into the circulation, and its impression
is made on the constitution generally. Fortunately the disposition to
bite rarely develops itself until the full establishment of the disease,
otherwise we might sometimes inquire whether it were not our duty to
exterminate the whole race of dogs.
The following case deserves to be recorded. On the 21st of October,
1813, a dog was brought to me for examination. He had vomited a
considerable quantity of coagulated blood. I happened to be particularly
busy at the moment, and not observing anything peculiar in his
countenance or manner, I ordered some astringent sedative medicine, and
said that I would see him again in the afternoon.
In the course of the afternoon he was again brought. The vomiting had
quite ceased. His mouth seemed to be swollen, and, on examining him, I
found that some of his incisor teeth, both in the upper and lower jaw,
had been torn out. This somewhat alarmed me; and, on inquiring of the
servant, I was told that he suspected that they had had thieves about
the house on the preceding night, for the dog had torn away the side of
his kennel in attempting to get at them. I scolded him for not having
told me of this in the morning; and then, talking of various things, in
order to prolong the time and to be able closely to watch my patient, I
saw, or thought I saw, but in a very slight degree, that the animal was
tracing the fancied path of some imaginary object. I was then truly
alarmed, and more especially since I had discovered that in the giving
of the physic in the morning the man's hand had been scratched; a youth
had suffered the dog to lick his sore finger, and the animal had also
been observed to lick the sore ear of an infant. He was a remarkably
affectionate dog, and was accustomed to this abominable and inexcusable
I insisted on detaining the dog, and gave the man a letter to the
surgeon, telling him all my fears. He promptly acted on the hint, and
before evening, the proper means were taken with regard to all three.
I watched this dog day after day. He would not eat, but he drank a great
deal more water than I liked. The surgeon was evidently beginning to
doubt whether I was not wrong, but he could not dispute the occasional
wandering of the eye, and the frequent spume upon the water. On the 26th
of October, however, the sixth day after his arrival, we both of us
heard the rabid howl burst from him: he did not, however, die until the
30th. I mention this as another instance of the great difficulty there
is to determine the real nature of the case in an early stage of the
M. Perquin relates an interesting case. A lady had a greyhound, nine
years old, that was accustomed to lie upon her bed at night, and cover
himself with the bed-clothes. She remarked, one morning, that he had
torn the covering of his bed, and, although he ate but little, drank
oftener, and in larger quantity, than he was accustomed to do. She led
him to a veterinary surgeon, who assured her that there was nothing
serious the matter. On the following day, he bit her fore-finger near
the nail, as she was giving him something to eat. She led him again to
the veterinary surgeon, who assured her that she needed not to be under
the least alarm, and as for the little wound on her finger, it was of no
consequence. On the following day, the 27th of December, the dog died.
He had not ceased to drink most abundantly to the very last.
On the 4th of February, as the lady was dining with her husband, she
found some difficulty in deglutition. She wished to take some wine, but
was unable to swallow it.
On the 5th, she consulted a surgeon. He wished her to swallow a little
soup in his presence. She attempted to do it, but could not accomplish
her object after many an effort. She then fell into a state of violent
agitation, with constriction of the pharynx, and the discharge of a
viscid fluid from the mouth.
On the 7th, she died, four days after the first attack of the disease,
and in a state of excessive loss of flesh.
There can be no doubt that both the dog and his mistress died rabid, the
former having communicated the disease to the latter; but there is no
satisfactory account of the manner in which the dog became diseased. 
Joseph Delmaire, of Looberghe, twenty-nine years old, was, on the 6th of
October, 1836, bitten in the hand by a dog that he met with in the
forest, and that was evidently rabid. On the following morning, he went
to a medical man of some repute in the country, who washed the wound,
and scarified it, and terminated the operation by tracing a bloody cross
on the forehead of the patient.
He returned home, but he was far from being satisfied. The image of the
dog that had attacked him was always before him, and his sleep was
troubled with the most frightful dreams. So passed four-and-twenty days,
when Delmaire, rising from his bed, felt the most dreadful trepidation;
he panted violently; it seemed as if an enormous weight oppressed his
chest, and from time to time there was profound sighing and sobbing. He
complained every moment that he was smothered. He attempted to drink,
but it was with great difficulty that a few drops of barley-water were
swallowed. His mouth was dry, his throat burning, his thirst excessive,
and all that he attempted to swallow was rejected with horror.
At nine o'clock at night he was largely bled. His respiration was more
free, but the dread of every fluid remained. After an hour's repose, he
started and felt the most fearful pain in every limb--his whole body was
agitated with violent convulsions. The former place of bleeding was
reopened, and a great quantity of blood escaped. The pulse became small
and accelerated. The countenance was dreadful--the eyes were starting
from their sockets--he continually sprung from his seat and uttered the
most fearful howling. A quantity of foam filled his mouth, and compelled
a continued expectoration. In his violent fits, the strength of six men
was not sufficient to keep him on his bed. In the midst of a sudden
recess of fury he would disengage himself from all that were attempting
to hold him, and dash himself on the floor; there, freed from all
control, he rolled about, beat himself, and tore everything that he
could reach. In the short intervals that separated these crises, he
regained possession of his reasoning powers: he begged his old father to
pardon him, he talked to him and to those around with the most intense
affection, and it was only when he felt that a new attack was at hand,
that he prayed them to leave him. At length his mental excitation began
to subside; his strength was worn out, and he suffered himself to be
placed on his bed. The horrible convulsions from time to time returned,
but the dread of liquors had ceased. He demanded something to drink.
They gave him a little white wine, but he was unable to swallow it; it
was returned through his nostrils. The poor fellow then endeavoured to
sleep; but it was soon perceived that he had ceased to live.
The early symptoms of rabies in the dog are occasionally very obscure.
In the greater number of cases, these are sullenness, fidgetiness, and
continual shifting of posture. Where I have had opportunity, I have
generally found these circumstances in regular succession. For several
consecutive hours perhaps he retreats to his basket or his bed. He shows
no disposition to bite, and he answers the call upon him laggardly. He
is curled up and his face is buried between his paws and his breast. At
length he begins to be fidgety. He searches out new resting-places; but
he very soon changes them for others. He takes again to his own bed; but
he is continually shifting his posture. He begins to gaze strangely
about him as he lies on his bed. His countenance is clouded and
suspicious. He comes to one and another of the family and he fixes on
them a steadfast gaze as if he would read their very thoughts. "I feel
strangely ill," he seems to say: "have you anything to do with it? or
you? or you?" Has not a dog mind enough for this? If we have observed a
rabid dog at the commencement of the disease, we have seen this to the
There is a species of dog--the small French poodle--the essence of whose
character and constitution is fidgetiness or perpetual motion.
If this dog has been bitten, and rabies is about to establish itself, he
is the most irritative restless being that can be conceived of; starting
convulsively at the slightest sound; disposing of his bed in every
direction, seeking out one retreat after another in order to rest his
wearied frame, but quiet only for a moment in any one, and the motion of
his limbs frequently stimulating chorea and even epilepsy.
A peculiar delirium is an early symptom, and one that will never
deceive. A young man had been bitten by one of his dogs; I was requested
to meet a medical gentleman on the subject: I was a little behind my
time; as I entered the room I found the dog eagerly devouring a pan of
sopped bread. "There is no madness here," said the gentleman. He had
scarcely spoken, when in a moment the dog quitted the sop, and, with a
furious bark sprung against the wall as if he would seize some imaginary
object that he fancied was there. "Did you see that?" was my reply.
"What do you think of it?" "I see nothing in it," was his retort: "the
dog heard some noise on the other side of the wall." At my serious
urging, however, he consented to excise the part. I procured a poor
worthless cur, and got him bitten by this dog, and carried the disease
from this dog to the third victim: they all became rabid one after the
other, and there my experiment ended. The serious matter under
consideration, perhaps, justified me in going so far as I did.
This kind of delirium is of frequent occurrence in the human patient.
The account given by Dr. Bardsley of one of his patients is very
appropriate to on profit purpose:
"I observed that he frequently fixed his eyes with horror and affright
on some ideal object, and then, with a sudden and violent emotion,
buried his head beneath the bed-clothes. The next time I saw him
repeat this action, I was induced to inquire into the cause of his
terror. He asked whether I had not heard howlings and scratchings. On
being answered in the negative, he suddenly threw himself on his
knees, extending his arms in a defensive posture, and forcibly threw
back his head and body. The muscles of the face were agitated by
various spasmodic contractions; his eye-balls glazed, and seemed ready
to start from their sockets; and, at the moment, when crying out in an
agonizing tone, 'Do you not see that black dog?' his countenance and
attitude exhibited the most dreadful picture of complicated horror,
distress, and rage that words can describe or imagination paint."
I have again and again seen the rabid dog start up after a momentary
quietude, with unmingled ferocity depicted on his countenance, and
plunge with a savage howl to the end of his chain. At other times he
would stop and watch the nails in the partition of the stable in which
he was confined, and fancying them to move he would dart at them, and
occasionally sadly bruise and injure himself from being no longer able
to measure the distance of the object. In one of his sudden fits of
violence a rabid dog strangled the Cardinal Crescence, the Legate of the
Pope, at the Council of Trent in 1532.
M. Magendie has often injected into the veins of an hydrophobous dog as
much as five grains of opium without producing any effect; while a
single grain given to the healthy dog would suffice to send him almost
One of Mr. Babington's patients thought that there was a cloud of flies
about him. "Why do you not kill those flies!" he would cry; and then he
would strike at them with his hand, and shrink under the bed-clothes, in
the most dreadful fear.
There is also in the human being a peculiarity in this delirium which
seems to distinguish it from every other kind of mental aberration.
"The patient," in Mr. Lawrence's language, "is pursued by a thousand
phantoms that intrude themselves upon his mind; he holds conversation
with imaginary persons; he fancies himself surrounded with
difficulties, and in the greatest distress. These thoughts seem to
pass through his mind with wonderful rapidity, and to keep him in a
state of the greatest distress, unless he is quickly spoken to or
addressed by his name, and, then, in a moment the charm is broken;
every phantom of imagination disappears, and at once he begins to talk
as calmly and as connectedly as in perfect health."
So it is with the dog, whether he is watching the motes that are
floating in the air, or the insects that are annoying him on the walls,
or the foes that he fancies are threatening him on every side--one word
recalls him in a moment. Dispersed by the magic influence of his
master's voice, every object of terror disappears, and he crawls towards
him with the same peculiar expression of attachment that used to
Then comes a moment's pause--a moment of actual vacuity--the eye slowly
closes, the head droops, and he seems as if his fore feet were giving
way, and he would fall: but he springs up again, every object of terror
once more surrounds him--he gazes wildly around--he snaps--he barks, and
he rushes to the extent of his chain, prepared to meet his imaginary
The expression of the countenance of the dog undergoes a considerable
change, principally dependent on the previous disposition of the animal.
If he was naturally of an affectionate disposition, there will be an
anxious, inquiring countenance, eloquent, beyond the power of resisting
its influence. It is made up of strange suppositions as to the nature of
the depression of mind under which he labours, mingled with some passing
doubts, and they are but passing, as to the concern which the master has
in the affair; but, most of all, there is an affectionate and confiding
appeal for relief. At the same time we observe some strange fancy,
evidently passing through his mind, unalloyed, however, by the slightest
portion of ferocity.
In the countenance of the naturally savage brute, or him that has been
trained to be savage, there is indeed a fearful change; sometimes the
conjunctiva is highly injected; at other times it is scarcely affected,
hut the eyes have an unusually bright and dazzling appearance. They are
like two balls of fire, and there is a peculiar transparency of the
hyaloid membrane, or injection of that of the retina.
A very early symptom of rabies in the dog, is an extreme degree of
restlessness. Frequently, he is almost invariably wandering about,
shifting from corner to corner, or continually rising up and lying down,
changing his posture in every possible way, disposing of his bed with
his paws, shaking it with his mouth, bringing it to a heap, on which he
carefully lays his chest, or rather the pit of his stomach, and then
rising up and bundling every portion of it out of the kennel. If he is
put into a closed basket, he will not be still for an instant, but turn
round and round without ceasing. If he is at liberty, he will seem to
imagine that something is lost, and he will eagerly search round the
room, and particularly every corner of it, with strange violence and
In a very great portion of cases of hydrophobia in the human being,
there is, as a precursory symptom, uneasiness, pain, or itching of the
bitten part. A red line may also be traced up the limb, in the direction
of the lymphatics. In a few cases the wound opens afresh.
The poison is now beginning fatally to act on the tissue, on which it
had previously lain harmless. When the conversation has turned on this
subject, long after the bitten part has been excised, pain has darted
along the limb. I have been bitten much oftener than I liked, by dogs
decidedly rabid, but, proper means being taken, I have escaped; and yet
often, when I have been over-fatigued, or a little out of temper, some
of the old sores have itched and throbbed, and actually become red and
The dog appears to suffer a great deal of pain in the ear in common
canker. He will be almost incessantly scratching it, crying piteously
while thus employed. The ear is, oftener than any other part, bitten by
the rabid dog, and, when a wound in the ear, inflicted by a rabid dog,
begins to become painful, the agony appears to be of the intensest kind.
The dog rubs his ear against every projecting body, he scratches it
might and main, and tumbles over and over while he is thus employed.
The young practitioner should be on his guard there. Is this dreadful
itching a thing of yesterday, or, has the dog been subject to canker,
increasing for a considerable period. Canker both internal and external
is a disease of slow growth, and must have been long neglected before it
will torment the patient in the manner that I have described. The
question as to the length of time that an animal has thus suffered will
usually be a sufficient guide.
The mode in which he expresses his torture will serve as another
direction. He will often scratch violently enough when he has canker,
but he will not roll over and over like a football except he is rabid.
If there is very considerable inflammation of the lining membrane of the
ear, and engorgement and ulceration of it, this is the effect of canker;
but if there is only a slight redness of the membrane, or no redness at
all, and yet the dog is incessantly and violently scratching himself, it
is too likely that rabies is at hand.
In the early stage of rabies, the attachment of the dog towards his
owner seems to be rapidly increased, and the expression of that feeling.
He is employed, almost without ceasing, licking the hands, or face, or
any part he can get at. Females, and men too, are occasionally apt to
permit the dog, when in health, to indulge this filthy and very
dangerous habit with regard to them. The virus, generated under the
influence of rabies, is occasionally deposited on a wounded or abraded
surface, and in process of time produces a similar disease in the person
that has been so inoculated by it. Therefore it is that the surgeon so
anxiously inquires of the person that has been bitten, and of all those
to whom the dog has had access, "Has he been accustomed to lick you?
have you any sore places about you that can by possibility have been
licked by him?" If there are, the person is in fully as much danger as
if he had been bitten, and it is quite as necessary to destroy the part
with which the virus may have come in contact. A lady once lost her life
by suffering her dog to lick a pimple on her chin.
There is a beautiful species of dog, often the inhabitant of the
gentleman's stable--the Dalmatian or coach dog. He has, perhaps, less
affection for the human species than any other dog, except the greyhound
and the bull-dog; he has less sagacity than most others, and certainly
less courage. He is attached to the stable; he is the friend of the
horse; they live under the same roof; they share the same bed; and, when
the horse is summoned to his work, the dog accompanies every step. They
are certainly beautiful dogs, and it is pleasing to see the thousand
expressions of friendship between them and the horse; but, in their
continual excursions through the streets, they are exposed to some
danger, and particularly to that of being bitten by rabid dogs. It is a
fearful business when this takes place. The coachman probably did not
see the affray; no suspicion has been excited. The horse rubs his muzzle
to the dog, and the dog licks the face of the horse, and in a great
number of cases the disease is communicated from the one to the other.
The dog in process of time dies, the horse does not long survive, and,
frequently too, the coachman shares their fate. I have known at least
twenty horses destroyed in this way.
A depraved appetite is a frequent attendant on rabies in the dog. He
refuses his usual food; he frequently turns from it with an evident
expression of disgust; at other times, he seizes it with greater or less
avidity, and then drops it, sometimes from disgust, at other times
because he is unable to complete the mastication of it. This palsy of
the organs of mastication, and dropping of the food, after it has been
partly chewed, is a symptom on which implicit confidence may be placed.
Some dogs vomit once or twice in the early period of the disease: when
this happens, they never return to the natural food of the dog, but are
eager for everything that is filthy and horrible. The natural appetite
generally fails entirely, and to it succeeds a strangely depraved one.
The dog usually occupies himself with gathering every little bit of
thread, and it is curious to observe with what eagerness and method he
sets to work, and how completely he effects his object. He then attacks
every kind of dirt and filth, horse-dung, his own dung, and human
excrement. Some breeds of spaniels are very filthy feeders without its
being connected with disease, but the rabid dog eagerly selects the
excrement of the horse, and his own. Some considerable care, however,
must be exercised here. At the period of dentition, and likewise at the
commencement of the sexual affection, the stomach of the dog, and
particularly that of the bitch, sympathises with, or shares in, the
irritability of the gums, and of the constitution generally, and there
is a considerably perverted appetite. The dog also feels the same
propensity that influences the child, that of taking hard substances
into the mouth, and seemingly trying to masticate them. Their pressure
on the gums facilitates the passage of the new teeth. A young dog will,
therefore, be observed gathering up hard substances, and, if he should
chance to die, a not inconsiderable collection of them is sometimes
found in the stomach. They are, however, of a peculiar character; they
consist of small pieces of bone, slick, and coal.
The contents of the stomach of the rabid dog, are often, or generally,
of a most filthy description. Some hair or straw is usually found, but
the greater part is composed of horse-dung, or of his own dung, and it
may be received as a certainly, that if he is found deliberately
devouring it, he is rabid.
Some very important conclusions may be drawn from the appearance and
character of the urine. The dog, and at particular times when he is more
than usually salacious, may, and does diligently search the urining
places; he may even, at those periods, be seen to lick the spot which
another has just wetted; but, if a peculiar eagerness accompanies this
strange employment, if, in the parlour, which is rarely disgraced by
this evacuation, every corner is perseveringly examined, and licked with
unwearied and unceasing industry, that dog cannot be too carefully
watched, there is great danger about him; he may, without any other
symptom, be pronounced to be decidedly rabid. I never knew a single
mistake about this.
Much has been said of the profuse discharge of saliva from the mouth of
the rabid dog. It is an undoubted fact that, in this disease, all the
glands concerned in the secretion of saliva, become increased in bulk
and vascularity. The sublingual glands wear an evident character of
inflammation; but it never equals the increased discharge that
accompanies epilepsy, or nausea. The frothy spume at the corners of the
mouth, is not for a moment to be compared with that which is evident
enough in both of these affections. It is a symptom of short duration,
and seldom lasts longer than twelve hours. The stories that are told of
the mad dog covered with froth, are altogether fabulous. The dog
recovering from, or attacked by a fit, may be seen in this state; but
not the rabid dog. Fits are often mistaken for rabies, and hence the
The increased secretion of saliva soon passes away. It lessens in
quantity; it becomes thicker, viscid, adhesive, and glutinous. It clings
to the corners of the mouth, and probably more annoyingly so to the
membrane of the fauces. The human being is sadly distressed by it, he
forces it out with the greatest violence, or utters the falsely supposed
bark of a dog, in his attempts to force it from his mouth. This symptom
occurs in the human being, when the disease is fully established, or at
a late period of it. The dog furiously attempts to detach it with his
It is an early symptom in the dog, and it can scarcely be mistaken in
him. When he is fighting with his paws at the corners of his mouth, let
no one suppose that a bone is sticking between the poor fellow's teeth;
nor should any useless and dangerous effort be made to relieve him. If
all this uneasiness arose from a bone in the mouth, the mouth would
continue permanently open instead of closing when the animal for a
moment discontinues his efforts. If after a while he loses his balance
and tumbles over, there can be no longer any mistake. It is the saliva
becoming more and more glutinous, irritating the fauces and threatening
To this naturally and rapidly succeeds an insatiable thirst. The dog
that still has full power over the muscles of his jaws continues lo lap.
He knows not when to cease, while the poor fellow labouring under the
dumb madness, presently to be described, and whose jaw and tongue are
paralysed, plunges his muzzle into the water-dish to his very eyes, in
order that he may get one drop of water into the back part of his mouth
to moisten and to cool his dry and parched fauces. Hence, instead of
this disease being always characterised by the dread of water in the
dog, it is marked by a thirst often perfectly unquenchable. Twenty years
ago, this assertion would have been peremptorily denied. Even at the
present day we occasionally meet with those who ought to know better,
and who will not believe that the dog which fairly, or perhaps eagerly,
drinks, can be rabid.
January 22d, 1815.--A Newfoundland dog belonging to a gentleman in
Piccadilly was supposed to have swallowed a penny-piece on the 20th. On
the evening of that day he was dull, refused his food, and would not
follow his master.
21st. He became restless and pouting, and continually shifting his
position. He would not eat nor would he drink water, but followed his
mistress into her bed-room, which he had never done before, and eagerly
lapped the urine from her chamber-pot. He was afterwards seen lapping
his own urine. His restlessness and panting increased, He would neither
eat nor drink, and made two or three attempts to vomit.
22d. He was brought to me this evening. His eyes were wild, the
conjunctiva considerably inflamed, and he panted quickly and violently.
There was a considerable flow of saliva from the corners of his mouth.
He was extremely restless and did not remain in one position half a
minute. There was an occasional convulsive nodding motion of the head.
The eyes were wandering, and evidently following some imaginary object;
but he was quickly recalled from his delirium by my voice or that of his
master. In a few moments, however, he was wandering again. He had
previously been under my care, and immediately recognised me and offered
me his paw. His bark was changed and had a slight mixture of the howl,
and there was a husky choking noise in the throat.
I immediately declared that he was rabid, and with some reluctance on
the part of his master, he was left with me.
23d, 8 A. M. The breathing was less quick and laborious. The spasm of
the head was no longer visible. The flow of saliva had stopped and there
was less delirium. The jaw began to be dependent: the rattling, choking
noise in his throat louder. He carried straw about in his mouth. He
picked up some pieces of old leather that lay within his reach and
carefully concealed them under his bed. Two minutes afterwards he would
take them out again, and look at them, and once more hide them. He
frequently voided his urine in small quantities, but no longer lapped
it. A little dog was lowered into the den, but he took no notice of it.
10 P. M. Every symptom of fever returned with increased violence. He
panted very much, and did not remain in the same posture two seconds. He
was continually running to the end of his chain and attempting to bite.
He was eagerly and wildly watching some imaginary object. His voice was
hoarser--more of the howl mixing with it. The lips were distorted, and
the tongue very black. He was evidently getting weaker. After two or
three attempts to escape, he would sit down for a second, and then rise
and plunge to the end of his chain. He drank frequently, yet but little
at a time, and that without difficulty or spasm.
12 P. M. The thirst strangely increased. He had drunk or spilled full
three quarts of water. There was a peculiar eagerness in his manner. He
plunged his nose to the very bottom of his pan, and then snapped at the
bubbles which he raised. No spasm followed the drinking. He took two or
three pieces from my hand, but immediately dropped them from want of
power to hold them. Yet he was able for a moment suddenly to close his
jaws. When not drinking he was barking with a harsh sound, and
frequently started suddenly, watching, and catching at some imaginary
24th, A. M. He was more furious, yet weaker. The thirst was insatiable.
He was otherwise diligently employed in shattering and tearing
everything within his reach. He died about three o'clock.
It is impossible to say what was the origin of this disease in him. It
is not connected with any degree or variation of temperature, or any
particular state of the atmosphere. It is certainly more frequent in the
summer or the beginning of autumn than in the winter or spring, because
it is a highly nervous and febrile disease, and the degree of fever, and
irritability, and ferocity, and consequent mischief are augmented by
increase of temperature. In the great majority of cases, the inoculation
can be distinctly proved. In very few can the possibility be denied. The
injury is inflicted in an instant. There is no contest, and before the
injured party can prepare to retaliate, the rabid dog is far away.
It can easily be believed that when a favourite dog has, but for a
moment, lagged behind, he may be bitten without the owner's knowledge or
suspicion. A spaniel belonging to a lady became rabid. The dog was her
companion in her grounds at her country residence, and it was rarely out
of her sight except for a few minutes in the morning, when the servant
took it out. She was not conscious of its having been bitten, and the
servant stoutly denied it. The animal died. A few weeks afterwards the
footman was taken ill. He was hydrophobous. In one of his intervals of
comparative quietude he confessed that, one morning, his charge had been
attacked and rolled over by another dog; that there was no appearance of
its having been bitten, but that it had been made sadly dirty, and he
had washed it before he suffered it again to go into the drawing-room.
The dog that attacked it must have been rabid, and some of his saliva
must have remained about the coat of the spaniel, by which the servant
was fatally inoculated.
Another case of this fearful disease must not be passed over. A dog that
had been docile and attached to his master and mistress, was missing one
morning, and came home in the evening almost covered with dirt. He slunk
to his basket, and would pay no attention to any one. His owners thought
it rather strange, and I was sent for in the morning. He was lying on
the lap of his mistress, but was frequently shifting his posture, and
every now and then he started, as if he heard some strange sound. I
immediately told them what was the matter, and besought them to place
him in another and secure room. He had been licking both their hands. I
was compelled to tell them at once what was the nature of the case, and
besought them to send at once for their surgeon. They were perfectly
angry at my nonsense, as they called it, and I took my leave, but went
immediately to their medical man, and told him what was the real state
of the case. He called, as it were accidentally, a little while
afterwards, and I was not far behind him. The surgeon did his duty, and
In May, 1820, I attended on a bitch at Pimlico. She had snapped at the
owner, bitten the man-servant and several dogs, was eagerly watching
imaginary objects, and had the peculiar rabid howl. I offered her water.
She started back with a strange expression of horror, and fell into
violent convulsions that lasted about a minute. This was repeated a
little while afterwards, and with the same result. She was destroyed.