Part 6 out of 10
The horrible spasms of the human being at the sight of, or the attempt
to swallow, fluids occur sufficiently often to prove the identity of the
disease in the biped and the quadruped; but not in one in fifty cases is
there, in the dog, the slightest reluctance to liquids, or difficulty in
In almost every case in which the dog utters any sound during the
disease, there is a manifest change of voice. In the dog labouring under
ferocious madness, it is perfectly characteristic. There is no other
sound that it resembles. The animal is generally standing, or
occasionally sitting, when the singular sound is heard. The muzzle is
always elevated. The commencement is that of a perfect bark, ending
abruptly and very singularly, in a howl, a fifth, sixth, or eighth
higher than at the commencement. Dogs are often enough heard howling,
but in this case it is the perfect bark, and the perfect howl rapidly
succeeding to the bark.
Every sound uttered by the rabid dog is more or less changed. The
huntsman, who knows the voice of every dog in his pack, occasionally
hears a strange challenge. He immediately finds out that dog, and puts
him, as quickly as possible, under confinement. Two or three days may
pass over, and there is not another suspicious circumstance about the
animal; still he keeps him under quarantine, for long experience has
taught him to listen to that warning. At length the disease is manifest
in its most fearful form.
There is another partial change of voice, to which the ear of the
practitioner will, by degrees, become habituated, and which will
indicate a change in the state of the animal quite as dangerous as the
dismal howl; I mean when there is a hoarse inward bark, with a slight
but characteristic elevation of the tone. In other cases, after two or
three distinct barks, will come the peculiar one mingled with the howl.
Both of them will terminate fatally, and in both of them the rabid howl
cannot possibly be mistaken.
There is a singular brightness in the eye of the rabid dog, but it does
not last more than two or three days. It then becomes dull and wasted; a
cloudiness steals over the conjunctiva, which changes to a yellow tinge,
and then to a dark green, indicative of ulceration deeply seated within
the eye. In eight and forty hours from the first clouding of the eye, it
becomes one disorganised mass.
There is in the rabid dog a strange embarrassment of general
sensibility--a seemingly total loss of feeling.
Absence of pain in the bitten part is an almost invariable accompaniment
of rabies. I have known a dog set to work, and gnaw and tear the flesh
completely away from his legs and feet. At other times the penis is
perfectly demolished from the very base. Ellis in his "Shepherd's Sure
Guide," asserts, that, however severely a mad dog is beaten, a cry is
never forced from him. I am certain of the truth of this, for I have
again and again failed in extracting that cry. Ellis tells that at the
kennel at Goddesden, some of the grooms heated a poker red hot, and
holding it near the mad hound's mouth, he most greedily seized it, and
kept it until the mouth was most dreadfully burned.
In the great majority of cases of furious madness, and in almost every
case of dumb madness, there is evident affection of the lumbar portion
of the spinal cord. There is a staggering gait, not indicative of
general weakness, but referable to the hind quarters alone, and
indicating an affection of the lumbar motor nerve. In a few cases it
approaches more to a general paralytic affection.
In the very earliest period of rabies, the person accustomed to dogs
will detect the existence of the disease.
The animal follows the flight, as has been already stated, of various
imaginary objects. I have often watched the changing countenance of the
rabid dog when he has been lost to every surrounding object. I have seen
the brightening countenance and the wagging tail as some pleasing vision
has passed before him; but, oftener has the countenance indicated the
mingled dislike and fear with which the intruder was regarded. As soon
as the phantom came within the proper distance he darted on it with true
A spaniel, seemingly at play, snapped, in the morning, at the feet of
several persons. In the evening he bit his master, his master's friend,
and another dog. The old habits of obedience and affection then
returned. His master, most strangely, did not suspect the truth, and
brought the animal to me to be examined. The animal was, as I had often
seen him, perfectly docile and eager to be caressed. At my suggestion,
or rather entreaty, he was left with me. On the following morning the
disease was plain enough, and on the following day he died. A
post-mortem examination took place, and proved that he was unequivocally
A lady would nurse her dog, after I had declared it to be rabid, and
when he was dangerous to every one but herself, and even to her from the
saliva which he plentifully scattered about. At length he darted at
every one that entered the room, until a footman keeping the animal at
bay with the poker, the husband of the lady dragged her from the room.
The noise that the dog made was then terrific, and he almost gnawed his
way through the door. At midnight his violence nearly ceased, and the
door was partially opened. He was staggering and falling about, with
every limb violently agitated. At the entreaty of the lady, a servant
ventured in to make a kind of bed for him. The dog suddenly darted at
him, and dropped and died.
A terrier, ten years old, had been ill, and refused all food for three
days. On the fourth day he bit a cat of which he had been unusually
fond, and he likewise bit three dogs. I was requested to see him. I
found him loose in the kitchen, and at first refused to go in, but,
after observing him for a minute or two, I thought that I might venture.
He had a peculiarly wild and eager look, and turned sharply round at the
least noise. He often watched the flight of some imaginary object, and
pursued with the utmost fury every fly that he saw. He searchingly
sniffed about the room, and examined my legs with an eagerness that made
me absolutely tremble. His quarrel with the cat had been made up, and
when he was not otherwise employed he was eagerly licking her and her
kittens. In the excess or derangement of his fondness, he fairly rolled
them from one end of the kitchen to another. With difficulty I induced
his master to permit me to destroy him.
It is not every dog, that in the most aggravated state of the disease
shows a disposition to bite. The finest Newfoundland dog that I ever saw
became rabid. He had been bitten by a cur, and was supposed to have been
thoroughly examined in the country. No wound, however, was found: the
circumstance was almost forgotten, and he came up to the metropolis with
his master. He became dull, disinclined to play, and refused all food.
He was continually watching imaginary objects, but he did not snap at
them. There was no howl, nor any disposition to bite. He offered himself
to be caressed, and he was not satisfied except he was shaken by the
paw. On the second day I saw him. He watched every passing object with
peculiar anxiety, and followed with deep attention the motions of a
horse, his old acquaintance; but he made no effort to escape, nor
evinced any disposition to do mischief. I went to him, and patted and
coaxed him, and he told me as plainly as looks and actions, and a
somewhat deepened whine could express it, how much he was gratified. I
saw him on the third day. He was evidently dying. He could not crawl
even to the door of his temporary kennel; but he pushed forward his paw
a little way, and, as I shook it, I felt the tetanic muscular action
which accompanies the departure of life.
On the other hand there are rabid dogs whose ferocity knows no bounds.
If they are threatened with a stick, they fly at, and seize it, and
furiously shake it. They are incessantly employed in darting to the end
of their chain, and attempting to crush it with their teeth, and tearing
to pieces their kennel, or the wood work that is within their reach.
They are regardless of pain. The canine teeth, the incisor teeth are
torn away; yet, unwearied and insensible to suffering, they continue
their efforts to escape. A dog was chained near a kitchen fire. He was
incessant in his endeavours to escape, and, when he found that he could
not effect it, he seized, in his impotent rage, the burning coals as
they fell, and crushed them with his teeth.
If by chance a dog in this state effects his escape, he wanders over the
country bent on destruction. He attacks both the quadruped and the
biped. He seeks the village street, or the more crowded one of the town,
and he suffers no dog to escape him. The horse is his frequent prey, and
the human being is not always safe from his attack. A rabid dog running
down Park-lane, in 1825, bit no fewer than five horses, and fully as
many dogs. He was seen to steal treacherously upon some of his victims,
and inflict the fatal wound. Sometimes he seeks the more distant
pasturage. He gets among the sheep, and more than forty have been
fatally inoculated in one night. A rabid dog attacked a herd of cows,
and five-and-twenty of them fell victims. In July, 1813, a mad dog broke
into the menagerie of the Duchess of York, at Oatlands, and although the
palisades that divided the different compartments of the menagerie were
full six feet in height, and difficult, or apparently almost impossible
to climb, he was found asleep in one of them, and it was clearly
ascertained that he had bitten at least ten of the dogs.
At length the rabid dog becomes completely exhausted, and slowly reels
along the road with his tail depressed, seemingly half unconscious of
surrounding objects. His open mouth, and protruding and blackened
tongue, and rolling gait sufficiently characterise him. He creeps into
some sheltered place and then he sleeps twelve hours or more. It is
dangerous to disturb his slumbers, for his desire to do mischief
immediately returns, and the slightest touch, or attempt to caress him,
is repaid by a fatal wound. This should be a caution never to meddle
with a sleeping dog in a way-side house, and, indeed, never to disturb
In an early period of the disease in some dogs, and in others when the
strength of the animal is nearly worn away, a peculiar paralysis of the
muscles of the tongue and jaws is seen. The mouth is partially open, and
the tongue protruding. In some cases the dog is able to close his mouth
by a sudden and violent effort, and is as ferocious and as dangerous as
one the muscles of whose face are unaffected. At other times the palsy
is complete, and the animal is unable to close his mouth or retract his
tongue. These latter cases, however, are rare.
A dog must not be immediately condemned because he has this open mouth
and fixed jaw. Bones constitute a frequent and a considerable portion of
the food of dogs. In the eagerness with which these bones are crushed,
spicula or large pieces of them become wedged between the molar teeth,
and form an inseparable obstacle to the closing of the teeth. The tongue
partially protrudes. There is a constant discharge of saliva from the
mouth, far greater than when the true paralysis exists. The dog is
continually fighting at the corners of his mouth, and the countenance is
expressive of intense anxiety, although not of the same irritable
character as in rabies.
I was once requested to meet a medical gentleman in consultation
respecting a supposed case of rabies. There was protrusion and
discoloration of the tongue, and fighting at the corners of the mouth,
and intense anxiety of countenance. He had been in this state for
four-and-twenty hours. This was a case in which I should possibly have
been deceived had it been the first dog that I had seen with dumb
madness. After having tested a little the ferocity or manageableness of
the animal, I passed my hand along the outside of the jaws, and felt a
bone wedged between two of the grinders. The forceps soon set all right
It is time to inquire more strictly into the post-mortem appearances of
rabies in the dog.
In dumb madness the unfailing accompaniment is, to a greater or less
degree, paralysis of the muscles of the lower jaw, and the tongue is
discoloured and swollen, and hanging from the mouth; more blood than
usual also is deposited in the anterior and inferior portion of it. Its
colour varies from a dark red to a dingy purple, or almost black. In
ferocious madness it is usually torn and bruised, or it is discoloured
by the dirt and filth with which it has been brought into contact, and,
not unfrequently, its anterior portion is coated with some disgusting
matter. The papillae, or small projections on the back of the tongue,
are elongated and widened, and their mucous covering evidently reddened.
The orifices of the glands of the tongue are frequently enlarged,
particularly as they run their course along the froenum of the tongue.
The fauces, situated at the posterior part of the mouth, generally
exhibit traces of inflammation. They appear in the majority of cases of
ferocious madness, and they are never deficient after dumb madness. They
are usually most intense either towards the palatine arch or the larynx.
Sometimes an inflammatory character is diffused through its whole
extent, but occasionally it is more or less intense towards one or both
of the terminations of the fauces, while the intermediate portion
retains nearly its healthy hue.
There is one circumstance of not unfrequent occurrence, which will at
once decide the case--the presence of indigestible matter, probably
small in quantity, in the back part of the mouth. This speaks volumes as
to the depraved appetite of the patient, and the loss of power in the
muscles of the pharynx.
Little will depend on the tonsils of the throat. They occasionally
enlarge to more than double their usual size; but this is more in quiet
than in ferocious madness. The insatiable thirst of the rabid dog is
perhaps connected with this condition of them.
The epiglottis should be very carefully observed. It is more or less
injected in every case of rabies. Numerous vessels increase in size and
multiply round its edge, and there is considerable injection and
Inflammation of the edges of the glottis, and particularly of the
membrane which covers its margin, is often seen, and accounts for the
harsh guttural breathing which frequently accompanies dumb madness. The
inflammatory blush of the larynx, though often existing in a very slight
degree, deserves considerable attention.
The appearances in the trachea are very uncertain. There is occasionally
the greatest intensity of inflammation through the whole of it; at other
times there is not the slightest appearance of it. There is the same
uncertainty with regard to the bronchial tubes and the lungs; but there
is no characteristic symptom or lesion in the lungs.
Great stress has been laid on the appearance of the heart; but,
generally speaking, in nine cases out of ten, the heart of the rabid dog
will exhibit no other symptoms of disease than an increased yet variable
deepness of colour in the lining membrane of the ventricles. No
dependence can be placed on any of the appearances of the oesophagus;
and, when they are at the worst, the inflammation occupies only a
portion of that tube.
With regard to the interior of the stomach, if the dog has been dead
only a few hours the true inflammatory blush will remain. If
four-and-twenty hours have elapsed, the bright red colour will have
changed to a darker red, or a violet or a brownish hue. In a few hours
after this, a process of corrosion will generally commence, and the
mucous membrane will be softened and rendered thinner, and, to a certain
extent, eaten through. The examiner, however, must not attribute that to
disease which is the natural process of the cession of life.
Much attention should be paid to the appearance of the stomach and its
contents. If it contains a strange mingled mass of hair, and hay, and
straw, and horse-dung, and earth, or portions of the bed on which the
dog had lain, we should seldom err if we affirmed that he died rabid;
for it is only under the influence of the depraved appetite of rabies
that such substances are devoured. It is not the presence of every kind
of extraneous substance that will be satisfactory: pieces of coal, or
wood, or even the filthiest matter, will not justify us in pronouncing
the animal to be rabid; it is that peculiarly mingled mass of straw, and
hair, and filth of various kinds, that must indicate the existence of
When there are no solid indigesta, but a fluid composed principally of
vitiated bile or extravasated blood, there will be a strong indication
of the presence of rabies. When, also, there are in the duodenum and
jejunum small portions of indigesta, the detection of the least quantity
will be decisive. The remainder has been ejected by vomit; and inquiry
should be made of the nature of the matter that has been discharged.
The inflammation of rabies is of a peculiar character in the stomach. It
is generally confined to the summits of the folds of the stomach, or it
is most intense there. On the summits of the rugae there are effusions
of bloody matter, or spots of ecchymosis, presenting an appearance
almost like crushed black currants. There may be only a few of them; but
they are indications of the evil that has been effected.
From appearances that present themselves in the intestines, the bladder,
the blood-vessels, or the brain, no conclusion can be drawn; they are
simply indications of inflammation.
We now rapidly, and for a little while, retrace our steps. What is the
cause of this fatal disease, that has so long occupied our attention? It
is the saliva of a rabid animal received into a wound, or on an abraded
surface. In horses, cattle, sheep, swine, and the human being, it is
caused by inoculation alone; but, according to some persons, it is
produced spontaneously in other animals.
I will suppose that a wound by a rabid dog is inflicted. The virus is
deposited on or near its surface, and there it remains for a certain
indefinite period of time. The wound generally heals up kindly; in fact,
it differs in no respect from a similar wound inflicted by the teeth of
an animal in perfect health. Weeks and months, in some cases, pass on,
and there is nothing to indicate danger, until a degree of itching in
the cicatrix of the wound is felt. From its long-continued presence as a
foreign body, it may have rendered the tissue, or nervous fibre
connected with it, irritable and susceptible of impression, or it may
have attracted and assimilated to itself certain elements, and rabies is
The virus does not appear to have the same effect on every animal. Of
four dogs bitten by, or inoculated from, one that is rabid, three,
perhaps, would display every symptom of the disease. Of four human
beings, not more than one would become rabid. John Hunter used to say
not more than one in twenty; but that is probably erroneous. Cattle
appear to have a greater chance of escape, and sheep a still greater
The time of incubation is different in different animals. With regard to
the human being, there are various strange and contradictory stories.
Some have asserted that it has appeared on the very day on which the
bite was inflicted, or within two or three days of that time. Dr.
Bardsley, on the other hand, relates a case in which twelve years
elapsed between the bite and the disease. If the virus may lurk so long
as this in the constitution, it is a most lamentable affair. According
to one account, more than thirty years intervened. The usual time
extends from three weeks to six or seven months.
In the dog I have never seen a case in which plain and palpable rabies
occurred in less than fourteen days after the bite. The average time I
should calculate at five or six weeks. In three months I should consider
the animal as tolerably safe. I am, however, relating my own experience,
and have known but two instances in which the period much exceeded three
months. In one of these five months elapsed, and the other did not
become affected until after the expiration of the seventh month.
The quality and the quantity of the virus may have something to do with
this, and so may the predisposition in the bitten animal to be affected
by the poison. If it is connected with oestrum, the bitch will probably
become a disgusting, as well as dangerous animal; if with parturition,
there is a strange perversion of maternal affection--she is incessantly
and violently licking her young, continually shifting them from place to
place; and, in less than four-and-twenty hours, they will be destroyed
by the reckless manner in which they are treated. In both cases the
development of the disease seems to wait on the completion of her time
of pregnancy. It appears in the space of two months after the bite, if
her parturition is near at hand, or it is delayed for double that time,
if the period of labour is so far distant.
The duration of the disease is different in different animals. In man it
has run its course in twenty-four hours, and rarely exceeds seventy-two.
In the horse from three to four days; in the sheep and ox from five to
seven; and in the dog from four to six.
Of the real nature of the rabid virus, we know but little. It has never
been analysed, and it would be a difficult process to analyse it. It is
not diffused by the air, nor communicated by the breath, nor even by
actual contact, if the skin is sound. It must be received into a wound.
It must come in contact with some tissue or nervous fibre, and lie
dormant there for a considerable, but uncertain period. The absorbents
remove everything around; whatever else is useless, or would he
injurious, is taken away, but this strange substance is unchanged. It
does not enter into the circulation, for there it would undergo some
modification and change, or would be rejected. It lies for a time
absolutely dormant, and far longer than any other known poison; but, at
length, the tissue on which it has lain begins to render it somewhat
sensible, and assimilates to itself certain elements. The cicatrix
begins to be painful, and inflammation spreads around. The absorbents
are called into more powerful action; they begin to attack the virus
itself, and a portion of it is taken up, and carried into the
circulation, and acquires the property of assimilating other secretions
to its own nature, or it is determined to one of the secretions only; it
alters the character of that secretion, envenoms it, and gives it the
power of propagating the disease.
Something like this is the history of many animal poisons. In variola
and the vaccine disease the poison is determined to the skin, in
glanders to the Schneiderian membrane, and in farcy to the superficial
absorbents. Each in its turn becomes the depot of the poison. So it is
with the salivary glands of the rabid animal; in them it is formed, or
to them it is determined, and from them, and them alone, it is
communicated to other animals.
Professor Dick, in his valuable Manual of Veterinary Science, states
some peculiar views, and those highly interesting, respecting the
disease of rabies. He holds it to be essentially an inflammatory
affection, attacking peculiarly the mucous membrane of the nose, and
extending thence through the cribriform plate of the ethmoid bones to
the interior part of the brain, and so giving rise to a derangement of
the nervous system as a necessary consequence. This train of symptoms
constitutes mainly, if not wholly, the essence of an occasional epidemic
not unlike some forms of influenza or epizootic disease, and the bite of
a rabid animal is not always, to an animal so bitten, the exciting cause
of the disease, but merely an accidental concomitant in the prevailing
disorder. Also the disease hydrophobia, produced in man, is not always
the result of any poison introduced into his system, but merely the
melancholy, and often fatal result of panic fear, and of the disordered
slate of the imagination. Those who are acquainted with the effects of
sympathy, and imitation, and panic, in the production of nervous
disorders, will readily apprehend the meaning of the Professor.
Some of these diseases speedily run their course and exhaust themselves.
Cowpox and farcy, in many instances, have this character. Perhaps, to a
certain degree, this may be affirmed of all of them. I have seen cases,
which I could not mistake, in which the symptoms of rabies were one
after another developed. The dog was plainly and undeniably rabid, and I
had given him up as lost; but, after a certain period, the symptoms
began to be less distinct; they gradually disappeared, and the animal
returned to perfect health. This may have formed one ground of belief in
the power of certain medicines, and most assuredly it gives
encouragement to perseverance in the use of remedial measures.
It has then been proved, and I hope demonstratively, that rabies is
propagated by inoculation. It has also been established that although
every animal labouring under this disease is capable of communicating
it, yet, with very few exceptions, it can be traced to the bite of the
dog. It has still further been shown that the malady, generally appears
at some period between the third and seventh month from the time of
inoculation. At the expiration of the eighth month, the animal may be
considered to be safe; for there is only one acknowledged case on
record, in which the disease appeared in the dog after the seventh month
from the bite had passed.
Then it would appear that if a species of quarantine could be
established, and every dog confined separately for eight months, the
disease would be annihilated in our country, or could only reappear in
consequence of the importation of some infected animal. Such a course of
proceeding, however, could never be enforced either in the sporting
world or among the peasantry. Other measures, however, might be resorted
to in order to lessen the devastations of this malady; and that which
first presents itself to the mind as a powerful cause of rabies is the
number of useless and dangerous dogs that are kept in the country for
the most nefarious and, in the neighbourhood of considerable towns, the
most brutal purposes; without the slightest hesitation, I will affirm
that rabies is propagated, nineteen times out of twenty, by the cur and
the lurcher in the country, and the fighting-dog in towns.
A tax should be laid on every useless dog, and doubly or trebly heavier
than on the sporting-dog. No dog except the shepherd's should be exempt
from this tax, unless, perhaps, it is the truck-dog, and his owner
should be compelled to take out a license; to have his name in large
letters on his cart; and he should be heavily fined if the animal is
found loose in the streets, or if he is used for fighting.
The disease is rarely propagated by petted and house-dogs They are
little exposed to the danger of inoculation; yet, we pity, or almost
detest, the folly of those by whom their favourites are indulged, and
spoiled even more than their children.
We will now suppose that a person has had the misfortune to be bitten by
a rabid dog: what course is he to pursue? What preventive means are to
be adopted? Some persons, and of no mean standing in the medical world,
have recommended a ligature. The reply would be, that this ligature must
be worn during a very inconvenient and dangerous period of time. The
virus lies in the wound inert during many successive weeks and months.
Dr. Haygarth first suggested that a long-continued stream of warm water
should be poured upon the wound from the mouth of a kettle. He says that
the poison exists in a fluid form, and therefore we should suppose that
water would be its natural solvent. Dr. Massey adds to this, that if the
wound is small, it should be dilated, in order that the stream may
descend on the part on which the poison is deposited. We are far,
however, from being certain that this falling of water on the part, may
not by possibility force a portion of the virus farther into the
texture, or cause it to be entangled with other parts of the wound. 
There is a similar or stronger objection to the cupping-glass of Dr.
Barry. The virus, forced from the texture with which it lies in contact
by the rush of blood from the substance beneath, is too likely to
inoculate, or become entangled with, other parts of the wound.
There is great objection to suction of the wound; for, in addition to
this possible entanglement, the lips, or the mouth, may have been
abraded, and thus the danger considerably aggravated. There also remains
the undecided question as to the absorption of the virus through the
medium of a mucous surface.
Excision of the part is the mode of prevention usually adopted by the
human surgeon, and to a certain extent it is a judicious practice. If
the virus is not received into the circulation, but lies dormant in the
wound for a considerable time, the disease cannot supervene if the
inoculated part is destroyed.
This operation, however, demands greater skill and tact than is
generally supposed. It requires a determination fully to accomplish the
desired object; for every portion of the wound with which the tooth
could possibly have come into contact, must be removed. This is often
exceedingly difficult to accomplish, on account of the situation and
direction of the wound. The knife must not enter the wound, or it will
be likely to be itself empoisoned, and then the mischief and the danger
will be increased instead of removed. Dr. Massey was convinced of the
impropriety of this when he advised that,
"should the knife by chance enter the wound that had been made by the
dog's tooth, the operation should be recommenced with a clean knife,
otherwise the sound parts will become inoculated."
If the incision is made freely and properly round the wound, and does
not penetrate into it, yet the blood will follow the knife, and a
portion of it will enter into the wound caused by the dog, and will come
in contact with the virus, and will probably be contaminated, and will
then overflow the original wound, and will be received into the new
incision, and will carry with it the seeds of disease and death:
therefore it is, that scarcely a year passes without some lamentable
instances of the failure of incisions. It has occurred in the practice
of the most eminent surgeons, and seems scarcely or not all to impeach
the skill of the operator.
Aware of this, there are very few human practitioners who do not use the
caustic after the knife. Every portion of the new wound is submitted to
its influence. They do not consider the patient to be safe without this
second operation. But has the question never occurred to them, that if
the caustic is necessary to give security to the operation by incision,
the knife might have been spared, and the caustic alone used?
The veterinary surgeon, when operating on the horse, or cattle, or the
dog, frequently has recourse to the actual cautery. I could, perhaps,
excuse this practice, although I would not adopt it, in superficial
wounds; but I do not know the instrument that could be safely used in
deeper ones. If it were sufficiently small to adapt itself to the
tortuous course of little wounds, it would be cooled and inert before it
could have destroyed the lower portions of them. If it were of
sufficient substance long to retain the heat, it would make a large and
fearful chasm, and probably interfere with the future usefulness of the
animal. The result of the cases in which the cautery has been used
proves that in too many instances it is an inefficient protection. The
rabid dog in Park Lane has already been mentioned. He bit several horses
before he could be destroyed. Caustic was applied to one of them, and
the hot iron to the others. The first was saved, almost all the others
were lost. A similar case occurred last spring; the caustic was an
efficacious preventive; the cautery was perfectly useless. What caustic
then should be applied? Certainly not that to which the surgeon usually
has recourse--a liquid one. Certainly not one that speedily deliquesces;
for they are both unmanageable, and, what is a more important
consideration, they may hold in solution, and not decompose the poison,
and thus inoculate the whole of the wound. The application which
promises to be successful, is that of the 'lunar caustic'. It is
perfectly manageable, and, being sharpened to a point, may be applied
with certainty to every recess and sinuosity of the wound.
Potash and nitric acid form a caustic which will destroy the substances
with which they come in contact, but the combination of this caustic and
the animal fibre will be a soft or semi-fluid mass. In this the virus is
suspended, and with this it lies or may be precipitated upon the living
fibre beneath. Then there is danger of re-inoculation; and it would seem
that this fatal process is often accomplished. The eschar formed by the
lunar caustic is dry, hard, and insoluble. If the whole of the wound has
been fairly exposed to its action, an insoluble compound of animal fibre
and the metallic salt is produced, in which the virus is wrapped up, and
from which it cannot be separated. In a short time the dead matter
sloughs away, and the virus is thrown off with it.
Previous to applying the caustic it will sometimes be necessary to
enlarge the wound, in order that every part may be fairly got at; and
the eschar having sloughed off, it will always be prudent to apply the
caustic a second time, but more slightly, in order to destroy any part
that may not have received the full influence of the first operation, or
that, by possibility, might have been inoculated during the operation.
Mr. Smerdon, in the Medical and Physical Journal, March 1820, thus
"All the morbid poisons that require to lie dormant a certain time
before their effects are manifested, pass into the system through the
medium of the absorbents," (we somewhat differ from Mr. Smerdon here,
but his reasoning is equally applicable to the nervous system,) "and
if the absorbents are excited, their action is increased. I am
satisfied that even in a venereal sore the application of a caustic,
instead of destroying the disease, causes its rapid extension. Then,"
asks he, "if the virus on a small venereal sore is rendered more
active by the caustic, is it not highly probable that the same law
holds good with respect to the poison of rabies?"
The sooner the caustic is applied the better; but I should not hesitate
to have recourse to it even after the constitution has become affected.
It is related in the Medico-Chirurgical Annals of Altenburg (Sept.
1821), that two men were bitten by a rabid dog. One became hydrophobous
and died; the other had evident symptoms of hydrophobia a few days
afterwards. A surgeon excised the bitten part, and the disease
disappeared. After a period of six days the symptoms returned. The wound
was examined; considerable fungus was found sprouting from its bottom.
This was extirpated. The hydrophobia symptoms were again removed, and
the man did well. This is a most instructive case.
In the Journal Pratique de Medecine Veterinaire, M. Damalix gives an
interesting account of the effect of a bite of a rabid dog on a horse.
On the 8th of July, 1828, a fowl-merchant, proceeding to the market of
Colmar, was attacked by a dog, who, after some fruitless efforts to get
into the cart, bit the horse on the left side of the face, and fled
precipitately. A veterinary surgeon was sent for, who applied the
cautery to the horse, gave him some populeum ointment, and bled him.
Everything appeared to go on well, and on the 16th the wounds were
On the 25th a great alteration took place. The horse was careless and
slow; he sometimes refused to go at all, and would not attend in the
least to the whip, which had never occurred before. In the evening the
wounds opened spontaneously, an ichorous and infectious pus run from
them; there was salivation and utter loss of appetite: strange fancies
seemed to possess him; he showed a desire to bite his master. The
veterinary surgeon might approach him with safety; but the moment his
owner or the children appeared, he darted at them, and would have torn
them in pieces. The disease now took on the appearance of acute
glanders; livid and fungous wounds broke out; the stable was saturated
with an infectious smell, the horse refused his food, or was unable to
eat. The mayor at last interfered, and the animal was destroyed. In the
Treatises on The Horse, Cattle, and Sheep, in former volumes, accounts
are fully given of this dreadful malady in these animals. It may not be
uninteresting to give a hasty sketch of it in some of the inferior
'Rabies in the Rabbit.'--I very much regret that I never instituted a
course of experiments on the production and treatment of rabies in this
animal. It would have been attended with little expense or danger, and
some important discoveries might have been made. Mr. Earle, in a case in
which he was much interested, inoculated two rabbits with the saliva of
a dog that had died rabid. They were punctured at the root of the ears.
One of the rabbits speedily became inflamed about the ears, and the ears
were paralysed in both rabbits. The head swelled very much, and
extensive inflammation took place around the part where the virus was
inserted. One of them died without exhibiting any of the usual symptoms
of the disease; the other, after a long convalescence, survived, and
eventually recovered the use of his ears. Mr. Earle very properly
doubted whether this was a case of rabies.
Dr. Capello describes, but in not so satisfactory a manner as could be
wished, a case of supposed rabies in one of these animals. A rabbit and
a dog lived together in a family. They were strange associates; but such
friendships are not unfrequent among animals. The dog became rabid, and
died. A man bitten by that dog became hydrophobous, and died. No one
dreamed of the rabbit being in danger, and he ran about the house as
usual; but, one day, he found his way to the chamber of the mistress of
the house, with a great deal of viscid saliva running from his mouth,
furiously attacked her, and left the marks of his violence on her leg.
He then ran into a neighbouring stable, and bit the hind-legs of a horse
several times. Finally, he retreated to a corner of the stable, and was
there found dead. Neither the lady nor the horse eventually suffered.
'Rabies in the Guinea-pig'.--A man suspected of being hydrophobous was
taken to the Middlesex Hospital. He was examined before several of the
medical students; one of whom, in order to make more sure of the affair,
inoculated a guinea-pig with the saliva taken from the man's mouth. The
guinea-pig had been usually very playful, and fond of being noticed;
but, on the eleventh day after this inoculation, he began to be dull and
sullen, retiring into his house, and hiding himself as much as he could
in a corner. On the following day he became out of temper, and even
ferocious in his way; he bit at everything that was presented to him,
gnawed his cage, and made the most determined efforts to escape. Once or
twice his violence induced convulsions of his whole frame; and they
might be produced at pleasure by dashing a little water at him. In the
course of the night following he died.
'Rabies in the Cat'.--Fortunately for us, this does not often occur; for
a mad cat is a truly ferocious animal. I have seen two cases, one of
them to my cost; yet, I am unable to give any satisfactory account of
the progress of the disease. The first stage seems to be one of
sullenness, and which would probably last to death; but from that
sullenness it is dangerous to rouse the animal. It probably would not,
except in the paroxysm of rage, attack any one; but during that paroxysm
it knows no fear, nor has its ferocity any bounds.
A cat, that had been the inhabitant of a nursery, and the playmate of
the children, had all at once become sullen and ill-tempered. It had
taken refuge in an upper room, and could not be coaxed from the corner
in which it had crouched. It was nearly dark when I went. I saw the
horrible glare of her eyes, but I could not see so much of her as I
wished, and I said that I would call again in the morning.
I found the patient, on the following day, precisely in the same
situation and the same attitude, crouched up in a corner, and ready to
spring. I was very much interested in the case; and as I wanted to study
the countenance of this demon, for she looked like one, I was foolishly,
inexcusably imprudent. I went on my hands and knees, and brought my face
nearly on a level with hers, and gazed on those glaring eyes, and that
horrible countenance, until I seemed to feel the deathly influence of a
spell stealing over me. I was not afraid, but every mental and bodily
power was in a manner suspended. My countenance, perhaps, alarmed her,
for she sprang on me, fastened herself on my face, and bit through both
my lips. She then darted down stairs, and, I believe, was never seen
again. I always have nitrate of silver in my pocket, even now I am never
without it; I washed myself, and applied the caustic with some severity
to the wound; and my medical adviser and valued friend, Mr. Millington,
punished me still more after I got home. My object was attained,
although at somewhat too much cost, for the expression of that brute's
countenance will never be forgotten.
The later symptoms of rabies in this animal, no one, perhaps, has had
the opportunity of observing: we witness only the sullenness and the
'Rabies in the Fowl'.--Dr. Ashburner and Mr. King inoculated a hen with
the saliva from a rabid cow. They made two incisions through the
integument, under the wings, and then well rubbed into these cuts the
foam taken from the cow's mouth. She was after this let loose among
other fowls in the poultry-yard. The incisions soon healed, and their
places could with difficulty be discovered. Ten weeks passed over, when
she was observed to refuse her food, and to run at the other fowls. She
had a strange wild appearance, and her eyes were blood-shot. Early on
the following morning her legs became contracted, so that she very soon
lost the power of standing upright. She remained sitting a long time,
with the legs rigid, refusing food and water, and appearing very
irritable when touched. She died in the evening, immediately after
drinking a large quantity of water which had been offered to her.
'Rabies in the Badger'.--Hufeland, in his valuable Journal of Practical
Medicine, relates a case of a rabid female badger attacking two boys.
She bit them both, but she fastened on the thigh of one of them, and was
destroyed in the act of sucking his blood. The poor fellow died
hydrophobous, but the other escaped. This fact, certainly, gives us no
idea of the general character of the disease in this animal; but it
speaks volumes as to its ferocity.
'Rabies in the Wolf'.--Rabies is ushered in by nearly the same symptoms,
and pursues the same course in the wolf us in the dog, with this
difference, which would be readily expected, that his ferocity and the
mischief which he accomplishes are much greater. The dog hunts out his
own species, and his fury is principally directed against them;
although, if he meets with a flock of sheep, or a herd of cattle, he
readily attacks them, and, perhaps, bites the greater part of them. The
dog, however, frequently turns out of his way to avoid the human being,
and seldom attacks him without provocation. The wolf, on the contrary,
although he commits fearful ravages among the sheep and cattle, searches
out the human being as his favorite prey. He conceals himself near the
entrance to the village, and steals upon and wounds every passenger that
he can get at. There are several accounts of more than twenty persons
having been bitten by one wolf; and there is a fearful history of
sixteen persons perishing from the bite of one of these animals. This is
in perfect agreement with the account which I have given of the
connexion between the previous temper and habits of the rabid dog, and
the mischief that he effects under the influence of this malady. The
wolf, as he wanders in the forest, regards the human being as his
persecutor and foe; and, in the paroxysm of rabid fury, he is most eager
to avenge himself on his natural enemy. Strange stories are told of the
arts to which he has recourse in order to accomplish his purpose. In the
great majority of cases he steals unawares upon his victim, and the
mischief is effected before the wood-cutter or the villager is conscious
of his danger.
The following observations and experiments respecting rabies, by Dr.
Hertwich, Professor at the Veterinary School at Berlin, are well worthy
1. Out of fifty dogs that had been inoculated with virus taken from a
rabid animal of the same species, fourteen only were infected.
2. In the cases where inoculation had been practised without effect, no
reason could be assigned why the disease should not have taken place.
This consequently proves that the malady is similar to others of a
contagious nature, and that there must exist a predisposition in the
individual to receive the disease before it can occur. In one
experiment, a mastiff dog, aged four years, was inoculated without
exhibiting any symptoms of the malady, while seven others, who had been
inoculated at the same time and place, soon became rabid. Several of
these animals had been inoculated several times before any symptoms
showed themselves, while in others, on the contrary, once was
3. It appears that in a state of doubtful rabies, one or two accidental
or artificial inoculations are not sufficient to create a negative proof
of its existence.
4. This disease has never ben communicated to an individual from one
infected by means of the perspirable matter; this, therefore, is a proof
that the contagious part of the disease is not of a volatile nature.
5. It does not only exist in the saliva and the mucus of the mouth, but
likewise in the blood and the parenchyma of the salivary glands; but not
in the pulpy substance of the nerves.
6. The power of communicating infection is found to exist in all stages
of the confirmed disease, even twenty-four hours after the decease of
the rabid animal.
7. The morbid virus, when administered internally, appears to be
incapable of communicating this disease; inasmuch as of twenty dogs to
whom was given a certain quantity, not one exhibited the least symptom
8. The application of the saliva upon recent wounds appears to have been
as often succeeded by confirmed rabies as when the dog had been bitten
by a rabid animal.
9. It cannot now be doubled that the disease is produced by the wound
itself, as was supposed by M. Girard of Lyons, not by the fright of the
individual, according to the opinion of others, but only from the
absorption of the morbid virus from its surface.
10. Several experiments have proved to me the little reliance there is
to be placed on the opinions of Baden and Capello, who believe that, in
those dogs who become rabid after the bite of an animal previously
attacked with this disease, the contagious properties of the saliva is
not continued, but only exists in those primarily bitten.
11. During the period of incubation of the virus there are no morbid,
local, or general alterations of structure or function to be seen in the
infected animal; neither are there any vesicles to be perceived on the
inferior surface of the tongue, nor any previous symptoms which are
found in other contagious diseases.
12. This disease is generally at its height at the end of fifty days
after either artificial or accidental inoculation; and the author has
never known it to manifest itself at a later period.
13. It is quite an erroneous idea to suppose that dogs in a state of
health are enabled to distinguish, at first sight, a rabid animal,
inasmuch as they never refuse their food when mixed with the secretions
of those infected. 
The following singular trial respecting the death of a child by
hydrophobia is worth quoting:
'Jones v. Parry.'--The plaintiff is a labourer, who gets only fourteen
shillings a week to support himself and his family. The defendant is his
neighbour, and keeps a public-house. This was an action brought by the
plaintiff to recover damages against the defendant for the loss of his
son, who was bitten by the defendant's dog, and afterwards became
affected with rabies, of which disease he died.
It appeared in the evidence that the defendant's dog had, some time ago,
been bitten by another dog; in consequence of which this dog was tied in
the cellar, but the length of the rope which was allowed him enabled him
to go to a considerable distance. The plaintiff's child knew the dog,
having often played with him when he was at large. Some time ago the
child crossed the street, near to the place where the dog was fastened,
who rushed out of the place in which he was confined to where the child
stood, sprung upon him, and bit him sadly in the face, and afterwards
violently shook him. The child being thus wounded, a surgeon was sent
for, who, after having dressed him, and attended him for a certain time,
gave directions that he should be taken to the sea-side, and bathed in
the salt water.
This having been continued for some time, the child was brought home,
and, at the expiration of a month from the day on which he was bitten,
became evidently and strangely ill. The surgeon proved beyond all
shadow of doubt thai the child laboured under rabies; that he had the
never-failing symptoms of that dreadful affliction; and that a little
while before he expired, he even barked like a dog. The surgeon's charge
to the father for his attendance was'L1. 6s. 6d.', which, together with
the charge of the undertaker for the funeral of the child, amounted to
between six and seven pounds. Application was made to the defendant to
defray this expense, which at first he expressed a willingness to comply
with, but afterwards refused; upon which this action was brought.
After some time the defendant offered to pay the plaintiff the sum of
'L6. 3s. 6d.', and the expense of the funeral and the surgeon, provided
the plaintiff would bear the expenses of the lawsuit, which he was not
in a condition to do, as probably it would amount to more than that
money. On this account, therefore, the action was now brought into
court. There was no proof that the defendant knew or suspected his dog
to be mad, previously to his attacking the boy; but an animal known to
have been bitten by a mad dog, ought either to have been at once
destroyed, or so secured that it was impossible for him to do mischief.
Lord Kenyon observed to the jury, that this was one of those causes
which came home to the feelings of all, yet must not be carried farther
than justice demanded. A cause like this never, perhaps, before occurred
in a court of justice; but there had been many resembling it in point of
principle. If a dog, known to be ill-tempered and vicious, did any
person an injury without provocation, there could be no question that
the owner of the dog was answerable, in a court of justice, for the
injury inflicted. Here was a worse case. The dog by whom the child was
bitten had been attacked by another that was undeniably rabid. His
master was aware of this, and placed him in a state of partial
confinement--a confinement so lax, and so inefficient, that this poor
child had broken through it, and was bitten and died. What other people
would have done in such a situation he could not tell; but, if he were
asked what he would do, he answered, he certainly would kill the dog,
however much of a favourite he had been, because no atonement was within
the reach of his fortune to make to the injured party for such a
dreadful visitation of Providence as this. It was not enough for the
owner of such a dog to say, he took precaution to prevent mischief: he
ought to have made it impossible that mischief could happen; and,
therefore, as soon as there was any reasonable suspicion that the dog
was rabid, he ought to have destroyed him.
But, if the owner wished to save the animal, until he was satisfied of
the actual state of the case, he ought to have secured him, so that
every individual might be safe. Whether the defendant thought he had
done all that was necessary, his lordship did not know; but this he
knew, that the dog was not perfectly secured, otherwise this misfortune
could not have happened.
The care which the defendant took in this case was not enough, and,
therefore, he had no doubt that this action was maintainable. The jury
would judge what damages they ought to give. He would refer this to
their feelings. They could not avoid commiserating the distress of the
family of this poor man. He should, however, observe to the jury, that
they must not give vindictive damages; but still he did not think that
damages merely to the amount of 'L6'. or 'L7'., which was stated to be
the expense of the funeral, &c., would at all meet the justice of the
case. He was inclined to advise them to go beyond that, although he did
not plead vindictive damages. There would be costs to be defrayed by the
plaintiff, well known in the profession under the head of "extra costs,"
even although he had a verdict. If the verdict had been at his disposal,
he would have taken care that these costs should have been borne by the
party that had been the cause of the injury. That appeared to him to be
the justice of the case.
He trusted that none who heard him would doubt his sincerity, when he
said, he lamented the misfortune which had given birth to this action;
and, with that qualification of the case, he must say that he was not
sorry that this action had been brought. He thanked the plaintiff for
bringing it; for it might be of public benefit. It would teach a lesson
that would not soon be forgotten, "That a person, who knowingly keeps a
vicious, dangerous animal, should be considered to be answerable for all
the acts of that animal." There were instances in which very large
damages had been given to repair such injuries. He did not say that the
present case called for large damages; but, if other cases of the same
kind should be brought into court after this had been made public, he
hoped the jury would go beyond the ordinary limits, and give verdicts
which might operate 'in terrorem' on the offending parties.
Verdict for the plaintiff--damages L36. 
A child was bitten by a rabid dog at York, and became hydrophobous. All
possibility of relief having vanished, the parents, desirous of putting
an end to the agony of their child, or fearful of its doing mischief,
smothered it between two pillows. They were tried for murder, and found
guilty. They were afterwards pardoned; but the intention of the
prosecutor was that of deterring others from a similar practice, in a
like unfortunate situation .
In 1821, a physician, at Poissy, was sentenced to pay 8000 francs (L320)
to a poor widow whose husband died of hydrophobia, in consequence of a
bite from the physician's dog, he knowing that the dog had been bitten,
yet not confining him.
[Our author having written so extensively upon the subject of rabies, it
would seem superfluous in us to attempt to add anything more upon a
subject so ably and practically handled by one having so great
opportunities to make personal observations. However, to allay the
feelings of many of our dogkilling citizens, we will not hesitate to
assert that we do not place as much credence in the frequency of rabies
as is generally done; but, on the other hand, are strongly led to
believe that the accounts of this much-dreaded malady are greatly
exaggerated both in this country and in England.
That there may be a few cases of rabies in our country in the course of
a year, we do not doubt; but, at the same time, we are satisfied that
the affection in its genuine form is quite rare, and that the great hue
and cry made every season about mad dogs, is more the result of
ignorance and fright than of reality.
Our limits in this publication would not allow us sufficient space to
enlarge upon the many pathological questions naturally arising from a
minute examination of this subject, more particularly as our views are
somewhat at variance with the generally received opinion, and which, of
course, we would be forced to express with considerable diffidence,
owing to the impossibility of collecting such evidence as might seem
necessary to substantiate any peculiar doctrine.
That tetanus, hysteria, and other spasmodic affections have often been
mistaken for rabies, there is no doubt, and we can easily imagine the
mental effect produced upon an individual of a highly nervous
temperament, by the knowledge of his being bitten by an animal known to
be hydrophobic; and we can, without difficulty, reconcile with our best
judgment the belief 'that the workings of such an individual's
imagination, occasioned by the never-ceasing dread of the horrid malady
to which he is now exposed, might be sufficient to produce a train of
symptoms somewhat resembling the actual state of rabies.'
For the benefit of these nervous unfortunates, we might say to them,
that the statistics of this affection show a very considerable ratio in
favour of escape from inoculation when bitten, or of entire recovery
even after the development of the disease, and that there are many
other ills in the catalogue of medicine that they should take equal
pains to provide against as lyssa canina. We doubt not that the minds of
many will be relieved, when informed that John Hunter mentions an
instance, in which, out of twenty persons bitten by a rabid dog, only
one suffered from the malady; and that of fifty-nine dogs inoculated by
Professor Hertwick at the veterinary school of Berlin, only fourteen
were affected; and of eleven patients entrusted to the care of M. Blaise
of Cluny, seven recovered after exhibiting greater or less degrees of
It may prove interesting to our readers, to insert in these pages an
account of the first two cases of rabies known in Philadelphia, and as
related to us by a venerable and much-esteemed citizen, who is well
known in the scientific world as a gentleman of deep research, and we
agree with him in opinion, that this much-dreaded disease is most
frequently the result of like causes, or rather that like symptoms often
induce the belief of the presence of this malady, when, in fact, no such
disease does exist.
Towards the close of the last century, there lived a tailor in Front
street, near Market, in the midst of the most respectable people of that
period; among the number was our esteemed friend Mr. Hembel, as also
Judge Tilghman. This tailor possessed an ill-tempered little spaniel,
who, lounging about the street-door, attacked every one that passed by,
snapping and snarling in the most worrisome manner, more particularly at
every little urchin that invaded his "right of pavement," and not
unfrequently biting them or tearing their clothes from their back. The
owner of the dog was appealed to on many occasions by the neighbours,
begging that the quarrelsome brute should either be disposed of or kept
within doors. To all these solicitations and warnings the little tailor
paid no heed, but continued stitching his breeches and cribbing his
customers' goods, while the ugly little spaniel, without interruption,
amused himself by snapping at and biting the heels of the passers-by.
The nuisance at last became insufferable, and Judge Tilghman applied to
Mr. Hembel to assist him in getting rid of this troublesome brute; the
latter gentleman advised the administration of a small quantity of
strychnia, concealed in a portion of meat, which proposition was agreed
upon and immediately carried into execution. A short time after the
administering of this dose the spaniel sickened, and retired from his
post to the kitchen, which was in the basement, and where an Irish
domestic was engaged in washing; the dog appeared uneasy for a time, and
suddenly, being taken with the involuntary muscular convulsions that
so frequently follow the administration of this powerful drug, ran
around the kitchen yelping and howling at a most terrible rate, and
ultimately, to the no small discomfiture and amazement of the maid,
sprang up into the wash-tub, at which unceremonious caper, on the part
of the dog, the woman became greatly alarmed and ran out into the
street, followed by the whole household, crying mad dog, which soon
produced an uproar in the neighbourhood, no one daring to satisfy
himself as to the correctness of the report, and all, perhaps, too
ignorant of the subject to discern the real cause of the animal's
singular behaviour. The tailor, still bearing a strong attachment to his
unfortunate favourite, and being somewhat more daring than his
neighbours, ventured, at length, to peep into the kitchen to see the
state of affairs, and seeing the dog still convulsed and foaming at the
mouth, was more than ever confirmed in the belief of hydrophobia, and
knowing full well the biting propensities of the animal, independent of
rabies, concluded, much to the relief of every one, to shoot him. The
next step in the programme was the dragging out and consigning of the
patient to a watery grave, which was accomplished by placing, with a
pair of tongs, a noose over the head of the animal, and thus hauling him
out of the basement window amid the cheers of the assembled populace who
soon cast him into the Delaware.
The second case of rabies as related to us by Mr. Hembel was as
follows:--In 1793 the barbers of the city were in the habit of going
around to the various boarding-houses for the purpose of shaving the
visitors in their apartments, instead of accommodating them, as at the
present time, in their own establishments.
One of these knights of the razor, living also in Front street, when
going to and from a fashionable boarding-house in the vicinity, was not
unfrequently assailed by a small cur who often took him by the heels
when hurrying along.
To get rid of this annoying little animal as speedily and secretly as
possible, he had recourse to the powers of strychnia, which produced in
a very short time similar effects upon the poor victim, and the result
was another great hue and cry about mad dogs.
These authentic and remarkable cases of hydrophobia were heralded in all
the papers of the day, which, from that time forward, were filled with
notes of caution to all dog-owners.
Of the 'treatment' of rabies we will make but a few remarks, as of the
immense number of specifics proposed for this disease, amounting in all
to several hundred, few or none can be relied on to the exclusion of the
others; but those medicines, perhaps, known as opiates or
anti-spasmodics, claim a larger share of attention than any others in
combating the disease after its development. In looking over the very
original works of Jacques Du Fouilloux, a worthy cynegetical writer of
the sixteenth century, we find a prescription that was supposed by many
to be an infallible specific for this disease, and as it appears to us
quite as certain in its effects on the animal economy as many others of
the inert substances that have been lauded to the skies both in our
country and in other parts of the world as antidotes, we take the
liberty of transcribing it, as also of adding a translation of his
'Autre recepte par mots preservants la rage.'
'Ay appris vne recepte d'vn Gentil-homme, en Bretaigne, lequel faisoit
de petits escriteaux, ou n'y auoit seulement que deux lignes, lesquels
il mettoit en vne omellette d'oeufs, puis les faisoit aualer aux chiens
qui auorient este mords de chiens enragez, et auoit dedans l'escriteau,
'Y Ran Quiran Cafram Cafratrem, Cafratrosque'. Lesquels mots disoit
estre singuliers pour empescher les chiens de la rage, mais quant a moi
ie n'y adiouste pas foy.
I have learned a recipe from a nobleman of Brittany, which is composed
of a written charm, in which there are only two lines; these he put in
an omelet of eggs, he then made the dogs that had been bitten by a rabid
animal swallow them. There was on the paper "'Y Ran Quiran Cafram
Cafratrem, Cafratrosque'". These words were said to be singularly
efficacious in preventing madness in dogs, but for my part I do not
Although our quaint author considered the above charm even too
marvellous for his belief, we give below his own prescription in which
he placed implicit confidence, but, no doubt, on trial it would prove
'"as singularly efficacious" as the other'.
Baing pour lauer, les chiens, quand ils ont este mords des chiens
enragez, de peur qu'ils enragent.
Quand les chiens sont mords ou desbrayez de chiens enragez, il faut
incontinent emplir vne pippe d'eau, puis prendre quatre boisseaux de sel
et les ietter dedans, en meslaut fort le sel auec vn baston pour le
faire fondre soudainement: et quand il sera fondu, faut mettre le chien
dedans, et le plonger tout, sans qu'il paroisse rien, par neuf fois:
puis quand il sera bien laue, faut le laisser aller, cela l'empeschera
When a dog has been bitten or scratched by another affected with
madness, we must immediately take a tub of water and throw into it four
bushels of salt, stirring it briskly with a stick to make it dissolve
quickly. When the salt shall be dissolved, put the dog into the bath,
and plunge him well nine times, so that the bath shall cover him each
time; now that he is well washed you may let him go, as this will
prevent his becoming rabid.
Having given publicity to the two preceding valuable receipts, we must
be pardoned for adding our own views upon this point, as a caution to
those who may not feel sufficient faith in the remedies above mentioned.
The wound should be thoroughly washed and cleansed as soon as possible
after the bite is inflicted: no sucking of the parts, as is advised by
many, for the purpose of extracting the poison, as the presence of a
small abrasion of the lips or interior of the mouth would most assuredly
subject the parts to inoculation. If the wound be ragged, the edges may
be taken off with a pair of sharp scissors; the wound must then be
thoroughly cauterized with nitrate of silver (lunar caustic), being sure
to introduce the caustic into the very depths of the wound, so that it
will reach every particle of poison that may have insinuated itself into
the flesh. If the wound is too small to admit of the stick of caustic,
it may be enlarged by the knife, taking care, however, not to carry the
poison into the fresh cut, which can be avoided by wiping the knife at
each incision. Should the wound be made on any of the limbs, a bandage
may be placed around it during the application of these remedies, the
more effectually to prevent the absorption of the virus. Nitrate of
silver is a most powerful neutralizer of specific poisons, and the
affected parts will soon come away with the slough, no dressings being
necessary, except perhaps olive oil, if there should be much
inflammation of the parts. If the above plan be pursued, the patient
need be under no apprehension as to the result, but make his mind
perfectly easy on the point. This is the course generally pursued by the
veterinary surgeons of Europe, and there are but few of them who have not,
some time in their practice, been bitten and often severely lacerated by
rabid animals; nevertheless, we never hear of their having suffered any
bad effects from such accidents. If caustic be not at hand, the wound
may be seared over with red-hot iron, which will answer as good a
purpose, although much more painful in its operation. Mr. Blaine, in
closing his able and scientific article on this subject, very justly
"Would I could instil into such minds the 'uncertainty' of the disease
appearing at all; that is, even when no means have been used; and the
'perfect security' they may feel who have submitted to the preventive
treatment detailed. I have been bitten several times, Mr. Youatt
several also; yet in neither of us was any dread occasioned: our
experience taught us the 'absolute certainty' of the 'preventive'
means; and such I take on me to pronounce they always prove, when
performed with dexterity and judgment." We acknowledge ourselves a
convert to this gentleman's doctrine; and feel satisfied that if the
above course be adopted, there need be no fear whatever of the
development of this frightful affection.--L.]
[Footnote 1: 'La Folie des Animaux', by M. Perquin.]
[Footnote 2: The physician Apollonius, having been bitten by a rabid
dog, induced another dog to lick the wound,
"ut idem medicus esset qui vulneris auctor fuit."]
[Footnote 3: 'Journal Pratique de Med. Vet.']
[Footnote 4: 'Sporting Magazine', vol. xviii. p. 186.]
[Footnote 5: Daniel's 'Rural Sports', vol. i. p. 220.]
* * * * *
THE EYE AND ITS DISEASES.
The diseases that attack the same organ are essentially different, in
different animals, in their symptoms, intensity, progress, and mode of
treatment. In periodic ophthalmia--that pest of the equine race and
opprobrium of the veterinary profession--the cornea becomes suddenly
opaque, the iris pale, the aqueous humour turbid, the capsule of the
lens cloudy, and blindness is the result. After a time, however, the
cornea clears up, and becomes as bright as ever; but the lens continues
impervious to light, and vision is lost.
Ophthalmia in the dog presents us with symptoms altogether different.
The conjunctiva is red; that portion of it which spreads over the
sclerotica is highly injected, and the cornea is opaque. As the disease
proceeds, and even at a very early period of its progress, an ulcer
appears on the centre; at first superficial, but enlarging and deepening
until it has penetrated the cornea, and the aqueous humour has escaped.
Granulations then spring from the edges of the ulcer, rapidly enlarge,
and protrude through the lids. Under proper treatment, however, or by a
process of nature, these granulations cease to sprout; they begin to
disappear; the ulcer diminishes; it heals; scarcely a trace of it can be
seen; the cornea recovers its perfect transparency, and vision is not in
the slightest degree impaired.
There is a state of the orbit which requires some consideration. It is
connected with the muscles employed in mastication. Generally speaking,
the food of the dog requires no extraordinary degree of mastication, nor
is there usually any great time employed in this operation. That muscle
which is most employed in the comminution of the food, namely, the
temporal muscle, has its action very much limited by the position of the
bony socket of the eye; yet sufficient room is left for all the force
that can be required. In some dogs, either for purposes of offence or
defence, or the more effectual grasping of the prey, a sudden violent
exertion of muscular power, and a consequent contraction of the temporal
muscle, are requisite, but for which the imperfect socket of the orbit
does not seem to afford sufficient scope and room. There is an admirable
provision for this in the removal of a certain portion of the orbital
process of the frontal bone on the outer and upper part of the external
ridge, and the substitution of an elastic cartilage. This cartilage
momentarily yields to the swelling of the muscles; and then, by its
inherent elasticity, the external ridge of the orbit resumes its
pristine form. The orbit of the dog, the pig, and the cat, exhibits this
The horse is, to a certain extent, also an illustration of this. He
requires an extended field of vision to warn him of the approach of his
enemies in his wild state, and a direction of the orbits somewhat
forward to enable him to pursue with safety the headlong course to which
we sometimes urge him; and for this purpose his eyes are placed more
forward than those of cattle, sheep, or swine. That which Mr. Percivall
states of the horse is true of our other domesticated animals:
"The eyeball is placed within the anterior or more capacious part of
the orbit, nearer to the frontal than to the temporal side, with a
degree of prominence peculiar to the individual, and, within certain
limits, variable at his will."
In many of the carnivorous animals the orbit encroaches on the bones of
the face. A singular effect is also produced on the countenance, both
when the animal is growling over his prey and when he is devouring it.
The temporal muscle is violently acted upon; it presses upon the
cartilage that forms part of the external ridge; that again forces
itself upon and protrudes the eye, and hence the peculiar ferocity of
expression which is observed at that time. The victims of these
carnivorous animals are also somewhat provided against danger by the
acuteness of sight with which they are gifted. Adipose matter also
exists in a considerable quantity in the orbit of the eye, which enables
it to revolve by the slightest contraction of the muscles.
We should scarcely expect to meet with cases of fracture of the orbital
arch in the dog, because, in that animal, cartilage, or a
cartilago-ligamentous substance, occupies a very considerable part of
that arch; but I have again and again, among the cruelties that are
practised on the inferior creation, seen the cartilage partly, or even
entirely, torn asunder. I have never been able satisfactorily to
ascertain the existence of this during life; but I have found it on
those whom I have recommended to be destroyed on account of the brutal
usage which they had experienced. Blows somewhat higher, or on the thick
temporal muscle of this animal, will very rarely produce a fracture.
A few cases of disease in the eye may be interesting and useful.
'Case' I.--The eyes of a favourite spaniel were found inflamed and
impatient of light. Nothing wrong had been perceived on the preceding
day. No ulceration could be observed on the cornea, and there was but a
slight mucous discharge. An infusion of digitalis, with twenty times the
quantity of tepid water, was employed as a collyrium, and an aloetic
ball administered. On the following day the eyes were more inflamed, The
collyrium and the aloes were employed as before, and a seton inserted in
Three or four days afterwards the redness was much diminished, the
discharge from the eye considerably lessened, and the dog was sent home.
The seton, however, was continued, with an aloetic ball on every third
or fourth day.
Two or three days after this the eyes were perfectly cured and the seton
'Case' II.--The eye is much inflamed and the brow considerably
This was supposed to be caused by a bite. I vainly endeavoured to bring
the lid over the swelling. I scarified the lid freely, and ordered the
bleeding to be encouraged by the constant application of warm water, and
physic-ball to be given.
On the following day the brow was found to be scarcely or at all
reduced, and the eye could not be closed. I drew out the haw with a
crooked needle, and cut it off closely with sharp scissors. The excised
portion was as large as a small-kidney-bean. The fomentation was
continued five days afterwards, and the patient then dismissed cured.
'Case' III.--A pointer was brought in a sad state of mange. Redness,
scurf, and eruptions were on almost every part. Apply the mange ointment
and the alterative and physic balls. On the following day there was an
ulcer on the centre of the cornea, with much appearance of pain and
impatience of light. Apply an infusion of digitalis, with the liquor
plumbi diacetatis. He was taken away on the twelfth day, the mange
apparently cured, and the inflammation of the eye considerably lessened.
A fortnight afterwards this also appeared to be cured.
'Case' IV.--A spaniel had been bitten by a large dog. There was no wound
of the lids, but the eye was protruded from the socket. I first tried
whether it could be reduced by gentle pressure, but I could not
accomplish it. I then introduced the blunt end of a curved needle
between the eye and the lid; and thus drawing up the lid with the right
hand, while I pressed gently on the eye with the left hand, I
accomplished my object. I then subtracted three ounces of blood and gave
a physic-ball. On the following day the eye was hot and red, with some
tumefaction. The pupil was moderately contracted, but was scarcely
affected by any change of light. The dog was sent home, with some
extract of goulard, and a fortnight afterwards was quite well.
'Case' V.--A dog received a violent blow on the right eye. Immediate
blindness occurred, or the dog could apparently just discern the
difference between light and darkness, but could not distinguish
particular objects. The pupil was expanded and immovable. A
pink-coloured hue could be perceived on looking earnestly into the eye.
A seton was introduced into the poll, kept there nearly a month, and
often stimulated rather sharply. General remedies of almost every kind
were tried: depletion was carried to its full extent, the electric fluid
was had recourse to; but at the expiration of nine weeks the case was
abandoned and the dog destroyed. Permission to examine him was refused.
I have, in two or three instances, witnessed decided cases of dropsy of
the eye, accumulation of fluid taking place in both the anterior and
posterior chambers of the eye; there was also effusion of blood in the
chambers, but in one case only was there the slightest benefit produced
by the treatment adopted, and in that there was gradual absorption of
the effused fluid.
About the same time there was another similar case. A pointer had
suddenly considerable opacity of one eye, without any known cause: the
other eye was not in the least degree affected. The dog had not been out
of the garden for more than a week. The eye was ordered to be fomented
with warm water.
On the following day the inflammation had increased, and the adipose
matter was protruded at both the inner and outer canthus. The eye was
bathed frequently with a goulard lotion. On the fourth day the eyeball
was still more inflamed, and the projections at both canthi were
increased. A curved needle was passed through both eyes, and there was
considerable bleeding. On the following day the inflammation began to
subside. At the expiration of a week scarcely any disease remained, and
the eye became as transparent as ever.
A curious ease of congenital blindness was brought to my infirmary. A
female pointer puppy, eight weeks old, had both her eyes of their
natural size and formation, but the inner edge of the iris was strangely
diseased. The pupil was curiously four-cornered, and very small. There
hung out of the pupil a grayish-white fibrous matter, which appeared to
be the remainder of the pupillary membrane.
Six months afterwards we examined her again, and found that the pupil
was considerably enlarged, and properly shaped, and the white skin had
vanished. In the back-ground of the eye there was a faint yellow-green
light, and the dog not only showed sensibility to light, but some
perception of external objects. At this period we lost sight of her.
A very considerable improvement has taken place with regard to the
treatment of the enlarged or protruded ball of the eye. A dog may get
into a skirmish, and have his eye forced from the socket. If there is
little or no bleeding, the case will probably be easily and successfully
The eye must, first, be thoroughly washed, and not a particle of grit
must be left. A little oil, a crooked needle, and a small piece of soft
rag should be procured. The blunt end of the needle should he dipped
into the oil, and run round the inside of the lid, first above and then
below. The operator will next--his fingers being oiled--press upon the
protruded eye gently, yet somewhat firmly, changing the pressure from
one part of the eye to the other, in order to force it back into the
If, after a couple of minutes' trial, he does not succeed, let him again
oil the eye on the inside and the out, and once more introduce the blunt
end of the needle, attempting to carry it upwards under the lid with two
or three fingers pressing on the eye, and the points of pressure being
frequently changed. In by far the greater number of cases, the eye will
If it is impracticable to cause the eye to retract, a needle with a
thread attached must be passed through it, the eye being then drawn as
forward as possible and cut off close to the lids. The bleeding will
soon cease and the lids perfectly close.
'Ophthalmia' is a disease to which the dog is often liable. It is the
result of exposure either to heat or to cold, or violent exertion; it is
remedied by bleeding, purging, and the application of sedative medicine,
as the acetate of lead or the tincture of opium. When the eye is
considerably inflamed, in addition to the application of tepid or cold
water, either the inside of the lids or the white of the eye may be
lightly touched with the lancet. From exposure to cold, or accident or
violence, inflammation often spreads on the eye to a considerable
degree, the pupil is clouded, and small streaks of blood spread over the
opaque cornea. The mode of treatment just described must be pursued.
The crystalline lens occasionally becomes opaque. There is cataract. It
may be the result of external injury or of internal predisposition. Old
dogs are particularly subject to cataract. That which arises from
accident, or occasionally disease, may, although seldom, be reinstated,
especially in the young dog, and both eyes may become sound; but, in the
old, the slow-growing opacity will, almost to a certainty, terminate in
There is occasionally an enlargement of the eye, or rather an
accumulation of fluid within the eye, to a very considerable extent. No
external application seems to have the slightest effect in reducing the
bulk of the eye. If it is punctured, much inflammation ensues, and the
eye gradually wastes away.
In 'amaurosis', the eye is beautifully clear, and, for a little while,
this clearness imposes upon the casual observer; but there is a peculiar
pellucid appearance about the eye--a preternatural and unchanging
brightness. In the horse, the sight occasionally returns, but I have
never seen this in the dog.
The occasional glittering of the eyes of the dog has been often
observed. The cat, the wolf, some carnivora, and also sheep, cows, and
horses, occasionally exhibit the same glittering. Pallas imagined that
the light of these animals emanated from the nervous membrane of the
eye, and considered it to be an electrical phenomenon. It is found,
however, in every animal that possesses a 'tapetum lucidum'. The
shining, however, never takes place in complete darkness. It is neither
produced voluntarily, nor in consequence of any moral emotion, but
solely from the reflection that falls on the eye.
[The eye and its diseases being so concisely treated by Mr. Youatt, we
are emboldened to add a more full and particular treatise on this
interesting subject, couched in language the most simple, and we trust
sufficiently plain to be understood by the most unscientific patron of
the canine race.
THE EYE AND ITS DISEASES.
THE NICTITATING MEMBRANE.
It is somewhat astonishing that an organ, so delicate and so much
exposed as the eye of the hunting dog necessarily is, should not more
frequently be attacked with disease, or suffer from the thorns,
poisonous briars, and bushes that so constantly oppose their progress
while in search of game. Nature, ever wise in her undertakings, while
endowing this organ with extreme sensibility, also furnished it with the
means of protecting itself in some measure against the many evils that
so constantly threaten its destruction.
The plica semilunaris, haw or nictitating membrane, though not as
largely developed in the dog as in some other animals, is, nevertheless,
of sufficient size to afford considerable protection to the ball of the
eye, and assists materially in preventing the accumulation of seeds and
other minute particles within the conjunctiva. This delicate membrane is
found at the inner canthus of the eye, and can be drawn at pleasure over
a portion of the globe, so as to free its surface from any foreign
substances that might be upon it. Although the eye of the dog is
attacked by many diseases, almost as numerous as those of the human
being, still they are much less frequent and far more tractable.
OPTHAMALIA--SIMPLE INFLAMMATION OF THE EYE.
In its mild form this disease is frequently met with, and easily yields
to the administration of the proper remedies, but when it appears as an
epidemic, in a kennel, it proves more stubborn. The discharge in
epidemic ophthalmia, when carried from one dog to the eyes of another,
no doubt is contagious, and, therefore, it is necessary to separate dogs
as much from each other as possible during any prevalent epidemic of
The disease announces itself by slight redness of the conjunctiva,
tenderness to light, and increased flow of the secretions.
The eyeball appears retracted in its socket, and more moist and
transparent than usual. The infected vessels of the conjunctiva form a
species of net-work, and can be moved about with this membrane, showing
that the inflammation is entirely superficial, and not penetrating the
other coverings of the eye. Extravasation of blood within the
conjunctiva, (bloodshot,) is also not an uncommon appearance, but is
frequently the first symptom that draws our attention to the malady.
As the disease progresses, the conjunctiva becomes more vascular, the
photophobia intolerable, the cornea itself becomes opaque, and sometimes
exhibits a vascular appearance. There is considerable itching of the
ball, as evinced by the disposition of the dog to close the eye. If the
disease progresses in its course, unchecked by any remediate means, the
cornea may lose its vitality, ulceration commence, and the sight be for
ever destroyed by the bursting and discharge of the contents of the eye.
'Causes.'--Simple canine opthalmia proceeds from many causes, distinct
in their character, but all requiring pretty much the same treatment.
Bad feeding, bad lodging, want of exercise, extremes of heat, and cold,
are the most active agents in producing this affection.
'Treatment.'--The disease in its mild form is very tractable, and
requires but little attention; soothing applications, in connexion with
confinement to an obscure apartment and low diet, will generally correct
the affection in its forming stage.
In all inflammations of the eye, tepid applications we consider
preferable to cold, the latter producing a temporary reaction, but no
permanent good, while the former exerts a soothing and relaxing
influence over the tissues and parts to which they are applied.
Weak vinegar and water, with a small proportion of laudanum, we have
frequently seen used with advantage as a wash in this complaint.
When there is fever, it will be necessary to bleed, and purge.
Scarifying the conjunctiva with the point of a lancet, has been resorted
to by some veterinary surgeons with success.
When the disease assumes this form, the discharge from the eyes is
lessened, and becomes more thick, the conjunctiva is not of such a
bright arterial red, but more of a brick-dust colour, and the inner side
of the lids when exposed will present small prominences and ulcerations.
'Treatment.'--More stimulating collyria will now be necessary, as
solutions of sulphate of zinc, copper, acetate of lead, &c. See No. 1,
2, 3, of the Collyria. The direct application of sulphate of copper, or
nitrate of silver, will often be of great benefit in changing the action
of the parts.
The lids should be turned down and brushed over two or three times with
the above articles in substance, and the dog restrained for a few
moments to prevent him from scratching during the temporary pain
inflicted upon him by the application.
Laudanum dropped in the eye will also prove very beneficial, allaying
the itching and pain, at the same time stimulating the organs to renewed
action. If the disease does not succumb under this treatment, a seton
placed in the pole will generally conquer it.
is produced by wounds of poisoned briars, stings of insects, bites of
other dogs, the scratching of cats, or the actual presence of foreign
bodies in the eye itself, which latter cause frequently occurs, and is
often overlooked by the sportsman.
'Treatment'.--This species of ophthalmia is best subdued by the
application of emollient poultices, depletion, purgation and cooling
washes. If a seed, small briar, or other substance has got in under the
lids, or inserted itself in the globe of the eye, the dog keeps the eye
closed, it waters freely, and in a short time becomes red and inflamed.
The removal of the article alone, will generally produce a cure;
sometimes it is necessary to use a cooling wash and administer a purge
or two. Great care should he had for the extraction of extraneous
substances from the eyes of dogs, as their presence often causes great
suffering to the animal even while diligently employed in the field. The
writer has seen dogs more than once rendered useless while hunting, by
grass, cloverseeds, or other small particles burying themselves under
'Ophthalmia of Distemper'.--This species of inflammation will be spoken
of when treating of this latter affection.
arises from the presence of some other disease located in another
portion of the body, as derangement of the stomach, mange, surfeit, &c.
The presence of one of these affections will indicate the cause of the
'Treatment'.--Soothing applications to the organ itself, and remedies
for the removal of the primary affection.
though not a common affection in the canine race, is occasionally met
with; several cases have come under the observation of the writer, and
no doubt there are but few dog-fanciers who have not seen the eyeballs
of some dog suffering with this malady, ready to start from their
This affection depends upon a superabundance of the humours of the eye,
occasioned by over-secretion, or a want of power in the absorbent
vessels to carry off the natural secretions of the parts.
Old dogs are more apt to suffer from this disease than young dogs:
nevertheless, the latter are not by any means exempt; we once saw a pup,
a few days old, with the globe of the eye greatly extended by this
As the disease progresses, the eye becomes more hard and tender, the
sight is greatly impaired, and ultimately, if not arrested, the eye
bursts, discharges its contents, and total blindness ensues, greatly to
the relief of the poor animal.
'Treatment'.--This disease is very intractable, and is to be combated by
saline purges, bleeding, and stimulating application to the organ
itself. Mercurial ointment, rubbed over the eyebrow, will assist in
stimulating the absorbents.
When the disease has progressed for a long time, and the pain, as is
often the case, seems intense, it will save the animal great suffering,
by opening the ball and allowing the humours to escape. This may be done
by puncturing the cornea or the sclerotic coat with a needle. Setons
introduced along the spine would have a good effect.
occasionally occurs throughout a whole litter, no doubt being entailed
upon the progeny of those dogs who have defective vision, or who are old
and infirm at the time of copulation. The best and only remedy is speedy
consists in the partial or complete opacity of the crystalline lens; it
results from numerous causes, and is more frequent in the old than the
young subject. In old dogs both eyes are usually attacked, producing
absolute blindness, while in young animals one eye alone is generally
'Causes.'--Old age, hard work, and bad feeding, are the agents most
active in the production of this affection; it generally comes on
slowly, but sometimes very quickly.
When the disease occurs in young dogs, it is generally the result of
wounds or blows over the head, convulsions and falls.
'Treatment.'--Little can be accomplished towards curing this disease
either in the old or young dog, as the disease, in spite of all our
efforts, will run its course, and terminate in total opacity of the
lens. Mild purging, blistering on the neck, introduction of the seton,
and blowing slightly stimulating powders into the eye, will sometimes
arrest the progress of the disease in the young dog.
ULCERATIONS ON THE CORNEA
are sometimes very troublesome, and if not put a stop to, will often
cause opacity and blindness, if not total destruction of the eye.
Slightly stimulating washes and purges are useful; the careful
application of nitrate of silver will often induce the ulcer to heal; it
must be put on very nicely and gently.
SPOTS ON THE CORNEA
are the result of ulcers and inflammation. If they do not materially
interfere with vision, they had better be left alone.
Powdered sugar and a small quantity of alum blown into the eye daily
through a quill, we have seen used with much success.
AMAUROSIS--GUTTA SERENA OR GLASS EYE,
A partial or complete paralysis of the optic nerves of either side is
not a frequent disease. It usually comes on gradually, but sometimes may
appear in the course of a few hours from the effects of wounds or
convulsions. When the paralysis is complete, total blindness of course
ensues. The intimate connection, or sympathy, existing between the
nerves of either eye, is so peculiar that disease of one is quickly
followed by a corresponding disease in the other.
Amaurosis, therefore, ordinarily ends in total blindness. The disease is
characterized by a dilated stage of the pupil, which seldom contracts
under the effect of any degree of light thrown upon it. The coats and
humours of the eye are perfectly transparent, in fact appear to be more
pellucid than natural.
'Causes.'--This affection is produced in many different ways; among the
most common causes may be mentioned wounds on the head, or of the parts
surrounding the nerve, strains, falls, disease of the bone, convulsions,
and epileptic fits.
We have seen a case produced by a tumour, which occupied the posterior
portion of the orbit, and caused the organ to be somewhat protruded from
its proper position, giving the eye the appearance of hydrophthalmia,
for which it was taken, the existence of the tumour never for a moment
being suspected. In this case there was partial amaurosis in both sides,
although nothing of disease could be discovered in the left eye.
Amaurosis is a very deceptive disease, the nerves alone being affected;
the humours and coverings of the eye remaining perfectly transparent and
natural, imposes upon the inexperienced observer, but is easily detected
by those who have witnessed the disease in others. There is a singular
watery appearance and vacant stare about the eye of the dog that cannot
be mistaken. This peculiarity is owing, no doubt, to the enlargement of
the pupil, as before observed.
'Treatment'.--When proceeding from blows, convulsions, or inflammation
of the nerve itself, bleeding will be serviceable, as also purging and
blistering. If the disease should appear without any symptom, or other
cause, to lead us to believe that there is any local affection, the
antiphlogistic course should be laid aside, and resort be had to local
and constitutional tonic applications, and revulsive frictions to the
nape of the neck and spine. A seton may also be applied; and electricity
has been recommended in such cases, no doubt arising from want of tone
in the general system.
This affection, in spite of every effort, is very unmanageable, and but
seldom yields to any course of treatment. Strychnia has been used
lately, both internally and externally, in the cure of this complaint;
it may be sprinkled over a blistered surface immediately above the eye,
in the proportion of a grain morning and evening; it may also be
administered inwardly at the same time, in doses from the half a grain
to a grain twice a day.
EXTIRPATION OF THE EYE.
It sometimes becomes necessary, from the diseased state of this organ,
that it should be taken completely from its socket. This operation,
though frightful, perhaps, to consider, is very simple in its
application, and may be performed without difficulty by any one
accustomed to the use of the knife. The animal is to be held firmly, as
before directed, and an assistant to keep the lids widely extended.
If the lids cannot be drawn well over the eye, owing to enlargement of
the ball caused by disease, they may be separated by an incision at the
external angle. A curved needle armed with a thread is now to be passed
entirely through the eye, being careful to include sufficient of the
sound parts within its grasp to prevent its tearing out. This finished,
the needle may be detached, and the ends of the thread being united, the
movements of the eye can be governed by means of this ligature: then
proceed as follows:
1st. The assistant keeping the lids well separated, the operator draws
the eye upward and outward, and then inserting the scalpel at the inner
and lower angle of the eye, with a gentle sweep separates the ball from
the lids, extending the incisions through to the external canthus.
2d. The ball is now to be drawn inwardly and downward, while the
scalpel, continuing the circular movement as far as the internal
canthus, separates the upper lid.
3d. The muscles and optic nerves still bind this organ to the orbit,
which attachments can easily be destroyed by the scalpel, by pulling the
eye forward sufficiently to reach them. If the eye has been extirpated
on account of any malignant disease, it is necessary to remove every
particle of muscle from the orbit; and when the disease has extended
itself to the lids, it will also be proper to remove that portion of
them included in the affection.
The hemorrhage from the operation is trifling, and may generally be
arrested by the pressure of the fingers, or the insertion of a conical
ball of lint within the socket, which may be allowed to remain two or
three days if necessary. If there is nothing to apprehend from
hemorrhage, it is only necessary to draw the lids together, and unite
that portion which has been separated by a suture, and place a hood over
We do not recommend the stuffing of the orbit with lint, except in case
of hemorrhage, as its presence will sometimes produce violent
inflammation, which may extend to the brain. The cavity of the eye will,
in a measure, be filled up by newly formed matter. The dog must be
restricted to a low cooling diet, and have administered two or three
ULCERATIONS OF THE EYELIDS
are often met with in old mangy, ill-fed animals, and are difficult to
overcome, except by curing the the primary affection, which is often no
easy task. The lids become enlarged, puffy, and tender, the lashes fall
out, and the edges present an angry reddish appearance.
'Treatment'--Must be directed, in the first place, to the curing of the
old affection, by which, in connection with blisters, purging,
stimulating washes, &c., a cure may be effected. When the swelling of
the lids is considerable, scarifying them with the point of a lancet
will often be of much service. Ointment of nitrate of silver may also be
smeared on the edges.
WARTS ON THE EYELIDS
sometimes make their appearance; they may be lifted up with the forceps,
and excised with a knife or scissors, and the wound touched with nitrate
of silver. The same treatment will answer for those warts, or little
excrescences, that sometimes come on the inside of the lids.
ENTROPIUM--INVERSION OF THE EYELIDS.
This disease we do not find mentioned by any of the writers on canine
pathology: nevertheless, we are led to believe that it is not an
uncommon form of ophthalmia; and we must express our surprise that it
should have escaped the attention of such close observers as Blain and
The acute form of the disease resulting from, or attending, simple
ophthalmia, we have often witnessed, but the chronic form, of which we
more particularly speak, is more rare. We have seen three cases of the
latter, and, no doubt, might have found many more if our opportunities
of studying canine pathology were equal to those of the English writers.
The inversion of the eyelids upon the globe is accompanied with pain and
irritation, swelling and inflammation, both of the lids and eye, which
ultimately renders the dog almost useless, if not entirely blind.
'Causes'.--Neglected chronic ophthalmia was, no doubt, the cause of the
disease in two cases, a setter and a pointer, while the other, in a
hound, was the result of an acute attack of ophthalmia brought on by
scalding with hot pitch thrown upon the animal. Some of this substance
entered the eye, while a large portion adhered to the muzzle and lids.
The eye, as well as the lids, became inflamed; the latter, being puffed
up and contracted on their edges, were necessarily drawn inwards from
the tension of the parts, and double entropium was thus produced. The
inflammation and tumefaction of the parts continued for a considerable
time, and when ultimately reduced by the application of tepid
fomentations, the skin appeared greatly relaxed; and the muscular fibres
having lost their power of support or contractility, owing to their long
quiescence, seemed no longer able to keep their lids in their proper
situation; the edges therefore remained in the abnormous position
By this strange condition of the parts, the eyeball continued greatly
irritated by the constant friction of the lashes; water was continually
flowing over the lids, and from its irritating character produced
considerable excoriation of the face and muzzle. The conjunctiva
remained inflamed, the cornea in due course became ulcerous, and the eye
was ultimately destroyed by the discharge of its contents. This was the
course and final termination of the disease in the case of the hound
above referred to, all of which disastrous results might have been
prevented by proper management.
'Treatment.'--When in England, we sent to the United States a fine bred
pointer dog, designed as a present for one of our sporting friends. This
animal travelled from Leeds to Liverpool, chained on top of the railroad
cars; the journey occupied several hours, daring which the weather was
cold and boisterous, and we noticed on his arrival at the latter place
that his eyes were watering and somewhat inflamed. On examining them
more particularly, we were enabled to extract several pieces of cinder
from under the lids, which seemed to relieve him somewhat. He went to
sea, in the care of the steward, on the following day; and remained on
deck exposed to the inclemency of the weather during a long voyage. When
he arrived in Philadelphia, the inflammation, we were informed, was very
considerable, occasioned by the presence of some other small particles
of cinder that may have escaped our attention before shipping him. The
presence of these foreign substances in the eye, in connection with the
salt spray and irritating atmosphere, greatly aggravated the ophthalmia,
and resolved it into a chronic affection, which ultimately resulted in
"Fop" was hunted during the same autumn, which no doubt increased the
malady to a considerable extent; and before the hunting season was over,
the dog was rendered almost useless: the lids becoming so much swollen
and the irritation so considerable, that it was deemed cruel to allow
him to go into the field.
When we saw him some time in the course of the same winter, the lower
lids of both eyes were completely inverted on their globes, and the
conjunctival inflammation and flow of tears considerable.
The eyes seemed contracted within their sockets, and at times were
nearly hidden from view, the corneas were somewhat opaque, the
photophobia intolerable, and the animal showed evident signs of extreme
pain, by his restless anxiety and constant efforts at scratching and
rubbing the eyes.
Under the judicious application of cooling astringent collyria, and
other remediate means, the irritation and pain of the parts were
relieved, and the lids somewhat retracted.
"Fop" remained in this condition till the following autumn, suffering at
times considerably from the increased inflammation and tumefaction of
the lids, which continued obstinately to persist, insomuch that when
turned out by the pressure of the fingers on them, they immediately
contracted, and were forced inwards on the ball when freed from the
Finding that no external application was of any permanent benefit, we
resolved to have resort to the same operation we saw practised in the
Parisian hospitals for the cure of a similar malformation in the human
To insure quiet we enclosed the body of the dog in a case, made
stationary and sufficiently small to prevent struggling, with the head
firmly fixed by a sliding door, as represented in the accompanying
The mouth was kept closed by a small strap passed around the muzzle.
This method of fixing a strong dog, we consider the best ever adopted
for all nice operations on the face. The first step in the operation was
to pinch up a portion of the lax skin of the diseased lid and pass three
needles, armed with silk ligatures, successively through the base of the
One needle approximating the external canthus, another the internal, and
a third midway between these two points, as represented in the annexed
The next step was lo raise up the integuments included in the ligature,
and, by means of a pair of sharp scissors, cut off the super-abundant
skin as near to the ligatures as possible; having care however to leave
sufficient substance included in the ligatures, to prevent their
sloughing out before adhesion has taken place. The next and last step of
the operation was, to draw the edges of the wound together by tying each
ligature, which procedure immediately secured the lid and held it firmly
in its natural position. The ligatures were now cut short, and a large
wire muzzle, covered over with some dark substance on the operated eye,
being put on him, and his legs hobbled with a piece of strong twine,
more effectually to prevent his scratching the head, "Fop" was then set
at liberty, and soon became reconciled to this eye-shade.
The hemorrhage was trifling, the wound healed up by the first intention
and the ligatures were drawn away in a few days, when a perfect cure was
effected--the conjunctiva having lost its inflammatory appearance, and
the cornea having again become quite transparent.
The other eye was operated on in the same way and with like success. In
the first operation we cut away the loose flaccid integuments only;
whereas, in the second, we snipped small longitudinal fibres from the
cartilage itself, and the operation consequently was more perfect, if
possible, than in the first instance.
The eyes were now perfectly restored, and remained well during the whole
of the shooting season, after which we lost sight of our patient, he
having accompanied one of our friends as a "compagnon de voyage" on a
commercial expedition to Santa Fe, and, when on his return, had the
misfortune to lose "Fop," who was carried off into captivity by some
prowling Camanches, who no doubt have long since sacrificed him to the
Great Spirit in celebrating the buffalo or wolf dance.
PROTRUSION OF THE EYE
The eye may be forced from its orbit by wounds or the bites of other
If not materially injured, the ball should be cleaned with a little
tepid water, or by wiping off with a fine silk or cambric handkerchief,
and immediately replaced within its socket; otherwise the inflammation
and swelling of the lids will soon prevent its easy admission. When
handling the protruded eye, the fingers should be dipped in olive oil or
When sufficient time has elapsed from the occurrence of the accident to
prevent the ball being replaced, owing to the swelling and contraction
of the lids, an incision may be made at the external angle of the eye,
so as to divide the lids, which will then admit the eye into its natural
position. If not, the lid itself can be raised up and slit far enough to
allow its being drawn over the globe. As considerable inflammation
generally follows this accident, it will be prudent to bleed the animal
and confine him.
We have seen eyes replaced, that have been out of their sockets for
several hours, perfectly recover their strength and brilliancy.
Some dogs, particularly several breeds of spaniels, have naturally weak
eyes, attended by an over-secretion and constant flow of tears, more
particularly when exposed to the sun. When there is no disease of the
lachrymal duct, the secretion may be diminished and the eyes
strengthened by the daily application of some slightly tonic wash, as
No. 1, 2, 3, &c.
The lachrymal duct is a small canal, leading from the internal angle of
the eye to the nostrils, and is the passage through which the tears
escape from the eye. This duct may become closed by inflammation of the
lining membrane of the nose, caries of the bone, ulcers, fungous
growths, or by the presence of some extraneous substance impacted in it.
The tears, no longer having a natural outlet, are necessarily forced
over the lids, accompanied, not unfrequently, by a good deal of purulent
This canal, when thus obstructed from some one of the above causes,
often forms an ulcerous opening at its upper extremity, just below the
internal canthus, for the escape of the pus that usually collects in a
sac at that point. This perforation is called "Fistula Lachrymalis." The
tears, entering the canal at its punctum, are carried along till they
pass out at the fistulous opening.
Treatment'.--This is a very troublesome affection, and has been