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SIMPLE EPHEMERAL FEVER.
Symptoms.—This slight disease, known as “a common cold,” is ushered in by chilliness, with increased heat of surface, a quick pulse, and slightly hurried breathing. The appetite is not as good as usual, eyes look dull, bowels costive, urine scanty and high-coloured. There are often cough and slight running at the nose and eyes, and sometimes the other internal organs are attacked; or the disease goes on till a different form of fever is established, known as typhus, and this is particularly the case when many dogs are collected together, or when one or two are kept in a close kennel, and are neither properly ventilated nor cleaned.
Cause.—Exposure to wet or cold.
Treatment.—Complete rest. A gentle dose of opening medicine: (12) or (13) if the liver is torpid, (15) if acting. After this has acted, give slops, and if there is still much fever, one of the remedies (45) or (51). If there is much cough, give the draught (47) or the bolus (46).
The symptoms of influenza at first closely resemble those of the last-described attack, but as they depend upon some peculiar condition of the air which prevails at the time, and as they are more persistent, the name influenza is given. After the first few days, the running at the eyes and nose increases, and a cough is almost always present, which symptoms often persist for two or three weeks, leaving great prostration of strength at the end of that time, and often a chronic cough, which requires' careful treatment.
The cause is to be looked for in some peculiar state of the air, of the nature of which nothing is known at present.
Treatment. In the early stage, the remedies should be the same as for ordinary or simple “cold.” Towards the second week, a cough-bolus (46) or draught (47) will generally be required. When the strength is much reduced after the second week, and the cough is nearly gone, give a tonic pill (62) or mixture (63). Great care should be taken not to bring on a relapse by improper food, or by too early an allowance of exercise. Fresh air is of the utmost importance, but it must be taken at a slow pace, as a gallop will often undo all that has been effected in the way of a cure.
TYPHUS FEVER, OR DISTEMPER.
Having in previously published works proved the similarity of this disease to the typhus fever of man, and the identity of the
two methods of treatment, I shall take this for granted, more especially as it is now generally admitted.
The essence of the disease is some poison admitted from without, or developed within the blood, by which the various secretions are either totally checked, or so altered as no longer to purify the system. The exact nature of this poison is beyond our present state of knowledge, but from analogy there is little doubt that it resides in the blood. As in all cases of poison absorbed into the system, there is a most rapidly depressing effect upon the muscular powers, which is to be expected, inasmuch as their action requires a constant formation of new material from the blood; and as this is retarded in common with all other functions, the muscles waste away rapidly, and their contractions are not performed with any strength. The disease is sometimes contracted by infection, and at others developed within the body; just as in the case of fermentation in vegetable substances, there may be a ferment added to a saccharine solution, by which the process is hastened, although if left to itself it will come on in due course.
The symptoms are very various, but they may be divided into two sets, one of which comprises a set always attending upon distemper; while the other may or may not be present in any individual attack. The invariable symptoms are : a low insidious fever, with prostration of strength to a remarkable degree, in proportion to the duration and strength of the attack, and rapid emaciation, so that a thick muscular dog is often made quite thin and lanky in three days. As a part of the fever, there is
shivering, attended by quick pulse, hurried respiration, loss of appetite, and impaired secretions : but, beyond these three, are no signs which can be called positively invariable; though the running at the eyes and nose, and the short husky cough, especially after exercise, are very nearly always present. The accidental symptoms depend upon the particular complication which may exist ; for one of the most remarkable features in distemper is, that, coupled with the above invariable symptoms, there may be congestion, or inflammation of the head, chest, bowels, or skin. So that in one case the disease may appear to be entirely confined to the head, in another to the chest, and in a third to the bowels ; yet all are strictly from the same cause, and require the same general plan of treatment, modified according to the seat of the complication.
The ordinary course of an attack of distemper is as follows : that is, when contracted by contagion, or clearly epidemic. (On the other hand, when it is developed in consequence of neglect, it comes on at the end of some other attack of disease, which may have existed for an indefinite time.) Almost always the first thing noticed is a general dulness or lassitude, together with loss of appetite. In a day or two there is generally a peculiar husky cough, which sounds as if the dog were trying to get a piece of straw out of his throat, and always comes on at exercise after a gallop. With this there is also a tendency to sneeze, but not so marked as the “husk” or “tissuck” which may occur in common “cold” or influenza, but is then usually more severe, and also more variable in its severity ; soon going on to inflammation, or else entirely ceasing in a few days. In distemper, the strength and flesh rapidly fail and waste, while in common “cold,” the cough may continue for days without much alteration in either; and this is one of the chief characteristics of the true disease. There is, also, generally a black pitchy condition of the fæces, and the urine is scanty and high-coloured. The white of the eyes is always more or less reddened, the colour being of a bluish red cast, and the vessels being evidently gorged with blood. When the brain is attacked, the eyes are more injected than when the bowels or lungs are the seats of complication. The corners of the eyes have a small drop of mucus, and the nose runs more or less, which symptoins, as the disease goes on, are much aggravated, both being glued up by brownish matter, while the teeth also are covered with a blackish brown fur. Such are the regular symptoms of a severe attack of distemper, gradually increasing in severity to the third, fourth, or fifth week, when the dog dies from exhaustion, or from disease of the brain, lungs, or bowels, marked by peculiar signs in each case. In this course the disease may be described as passing through four stages or periods : 1st, That in which the poison is spreading through the system, called the period of incubation ; 2nd, That in which nature rouses her powers to expel it, called the period of reaction ; 3rd, The period of prostration, during which the powers of nature are exhausted, or nearly so, by the efforts which have been made; and