When horses, cattle, or any of our domestic animals are wounded, the treatment may be very simple, and much the same as in the human race. It is extremely improper to follow a practice that is common in many parts of the country among farriers, cow-doctors, and even shepherds--that of applying to the wound, or putting into the sore part, sommon salts, powder of blue vitriol, or tar, or cloths dipped in spirits, as brandy, rum, etc., or turpentine, or any other stimulant articles; for all such very much increase the pain, and, by irritating the sore, may increase the inflammation, even to the length of inducing mortification. Though the treatment may be varied recording to circumstances, yet, in most cases, it may be sufficient to take notice of the following particulars: It will be proper to wash away any foulness or dirt about the part, and to examine particularly its condition.
Should any large bloodvessel be cut, and discharging copiously, it will be right to stop it, by some lint or sponge, with moderate compression or bandaging, at the same time, and not taking it off for two or three days. Should the pressure fail of effect, caustic applications, such as the lunar caustic, or even the actual cautery, the point of a thick wire, sufficiently heated, may be tried; or, if a surgeon be at hand, the vessel may be taken up by the crooked needle, with waxed thread, and then tied.
Where there is no danger of excessive bleeding, and a mere division of the parts, or a deep gash or cut, it will be right to adjust the parts, and keep them together by a strip of any common adhesive plaster; or, when this will not do by itself; the lips of the wound, especially if it be a clean cut, may be closed by one or more stitches, with a moderately coarse needle and thread, which in each stitch may be tied, and the ends left of a proper length, so that they can be afterwards removed, when the parts adhere. It is advised to tie the threads, because sometimes the wounded part swells so mush that it is difficult to get them cut and drawn out, without giving pain and doing some mischief.
If the part will allow a roller or bandage to be used, to keep the lips of it together, this may likewise be employed; for, by supporting the sides of the wound, it would lessen any pain which the stitches occasion. With this treatment the wound heals often in a short time, or in a few days, rarely exceeding five or six, and sooner in the young and healthy than in the old and relaxed, and sooner in the quiet and motionless than in the restless and active.
Should the wound be large and inflammation, with the discharge of matter, likely to take place, it may still be proper, by gentle means, to bring the divided parts near to each other, and to retain them in their natural situation by means of a bandage. This should not be made too tight, but merely to support the part. In this way, and by avoiding stimulant applications, the wound will heal more readily than otherwise, and the chance of any blemishes following will be diminished. Washes of spirits, brandy, and the like, Friar's balsam, spirit of wine and camphor, turpentine, or any other such irritating applications, are highly improper, and sometimes makes a fresh clean wound (that would readily heal almost of itself) inflame and perhaps mortify, or become a bad sore.
Over the whole sore, or where the part is bruised or where there is a tendency to suppuration, a poultice should be applied and kept on by suitable bandages. The poultice may be made of any kind of meal, fine bran, bruised linseed, or of mashed turnips, carrots, etc. The following has been found useful as a common poultice: "Fine bran 1 quart; pour on a sufficient quantity of boiling water to make a thin paste; to this add of linseed powder enough to give it a proper consistence." The poultice may be kept on for a week or ten days, or even longer, if necessary, changing it once or twice a day, and cleaning the wound, when the poultice is removed, by washing it by means of a soft rag or linen cloth, with water not more than blood warm (some sponges are too rough for this purpose); or, where the wound is deep, the water may be injected into it by a syringe, in order to clean it from the bottom.
In the course of a few days, when the wound, by care and proper management with the poultices, begins by put on a healthy appearance, and seems to be clean and of a reddish color, not black or bloody, then there may be applied an ointment made of tallow, linseed oil, beeswax, and hogs' lard, in such proportions as to make it of a consistence somewhat firmer than butter. The ointment should be spread on some soft clean tow, and when applied to the sore it ought never to be tied hard upon it (which is done too frequently and very improperly), but only fixed by a bandage of a proper length and breadth (for a mere cord is often improper), so close and securely as to keep it from slipping off. This application may be changed once a day, or, when nearly well and discharging but little, once in two days.
Put into a well-glazed earthen vessel 2 ounces of beeswax; melt it over a clear fire, and add 2 ounces of resin, when that is melted, put in half a pound of hogs, lard; to this put 4 ounces of turpentine; keep stirring all the time with a clean stick or wooden spatula. When all is well mixed stir in 1 ounce of finely powdered verdigris. Be careful it does not boil over. Strain it through a coarse cloth, and preserve it in a gallipot. This ointment is very good for old and recent wounds whether in flesh or hoof; also galled backs, cracked heels, mallenders, sallenders, bites, broken knees, etc.
When the wounded part begins to discharge a whitish, thick matter, and is observed to fill up, the general treatment and dressings to the sore now mentioned should be continued, and in the course of the cure the animal, when free of fever may be allowed better provision, and may take gentle exercise. If the animal be feeble from the loss of blood originally, or from the long continuance of a feverish state, produced by the inflammation attending the wound, or from weakness arising from confinement, or connected with its constitution naturally, and if the wound appear to be in a stationary state, very pale and flabby on its edges, with a thin discharge, then better food may be given to it; and if still no change should be observed, along with the better food, the wound may be treated somewhat differently from what has been already advised. The ointment may be made more stimulant, by adding to it some resin and less beeswax, or, what would be more stimulant still, some common turpentine; for it is only in very rare eases that oil of turpentine can be requisite. The effects of an alteration in the mode of treatment should be particularly remarked, and stimulants should be laid aside, continued, or increased, according as may be judged proper. Before changing the dressings applied to the wound or before rendering them more stimulant and active by using heating applications, the effect of closer bandaging may be tried; for sometimes, by keeping the parts a little more firmly together, the cure is promoted.
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