Page images

are liable to grease. Cart-horses, and the heavy draught horse with round fleshy legs are very subject to it. One very great cause is the negligence of grooms, who do not pay proper attention to the feet when they clean the horse, but leave the heels wet and full of sand. A general debility is a fertile source for this disease ; and at the spring and fall of the year, when the horse requires more care than at any other time, from want of proper treatment, regular exercise, and a little cleanliness, grease will speedily appear, and from neglect become very virulent. Another frequent cause is the aptitude some have for cutting off the hair close to the horse's heels, on which Mr. Lawrence ob


“ It is a general, but a very erroneous opinion, that the hair harbours dirt, and consequently promotes the disorder: but thecontrary is the fact. From the hair being longer at the heels than at any other part of the leg, it is clear that nature had some particular reason for that difference, and that reason is, on a moment's consideration, self-obvious ; namely, for the defence of a part which is more exposed to friction than the rest of the limb. This hair, by lying close to the skin, shields it from the action of the dirt, which, when the heels are trimmed close, always insinuates itself, and by rubbing the skin, irritates it and inflames it to a considerable degree ; for when the hair is cut close, that which is left does not lie smooth, but stands out end-ways like a brush, and thus easily admits mud and clay, and every other kind of dirt. The skin secretes a natural oily fluid for the purpose of keeping it soft and flexible; but when it is thus exposed by trimming off the hair, this fluid is rubbed off by friction, and the skin, becoming yard and dry, soon cracks, and the grease ensues.

“ That hair is a protection to the heels, may be easily ascertained by laying aside and examining the surface of the skin, which in that case will be found clean and dry, even after travelling the whole of the day through the dirtiest roads. The thorough-bred horse, it is true, has but little hair on his heels; but it should be remembered that he is originally a native of a hot climate, where the soil is light and sandy, and free from moisture.

“ Horse-dealers know so well the utility of leaving hair on the heels of horses that work hard, that they never trim their own hackneys which they ride to fairs; and coach-masters and inn-keepers would find it beneficial to adopt the same plan.

It is necessary, however, in this case, to use the brush to or hand-rub the heels, using little or no water. The horses used for riding or driving are now entirely stripped of the hair about the heels; fashion has ordained it so; and, indeed, the improved state of our modern roads and streets render such a defence unnecessary. The brush will easily remove all the dirt that usually gathers, and if the heels must be washed, the groom is not generally so over-burdened with work to prevent him spending a few extra moments drying and hand-rubbing these parts, as the water left there is one sure method of bringing on grease.

[ocr errors]

Symptoms.-When this disease first appears, the skin of the heel is very dry, and there is much scurf about the hair; this is accompanied with redness and heat, which produces considerable irritation and itchi

If allowed to increase, the part becomes ulcerated, and a discharge takes place : when the cellular membrane under the skin is inflamed through it, considerable lameness and pain ensues.

In some cases the


horse is unable to lie down, which heightens the swelling and irritability of the disease.

Treatment-When swelled legs first appear, great relief will arise, and consequent danger removed, by hand-rubbing the legs for half an hour or an hour morning and evening, and afterwards applying a band. age, and occasionally giving a dose of physic. In the spring and fall, a diuretic mixed with a cordial will be of service, this will circulate the blood and invigorate the frame, especially during the period the horse is taking on a new coat. If the animal has suffered from starvation, make use of a mild diuretic and tonic. But in most other cases, regular exercise and the bandage are the best medicines. If necessity has compelled the horse to be left in the stable some days, and he is subject to swelled legs, a mild dose of physic will be serviceable ; but the constant and indiscriminate use of diuretics is very much to be reprehended.

When the symptoms of Grease first appears, wash the heels with soap and water, and having removed all the scurf you possibly can, dry the part

, and rub in the following ointment :Sugar of Lead

2 drachms, Lard

2 ounces, mixed.

In case where cracks are just beginning to show themselves Blue Vitriol.

24 drachms, Water mixed, will serve as a good solution in drying them up.

When the case has not been discovered early, and the discharge has commenced, a poultice of boiled bran and linseed, powdered, must be used, and a diuretic given; but when the matter has become offensive,

i pint,

a little charcoal must be added to the above poultice. Some persons make use of a carrot-poultice, and indeed speak very much in favour of its efficacy; it deserves a trial.

As inflammation and the pain and soreness decreases, wash with, Sulphuric Acid

I drachm,
Alum, (powdered)

I ounce,

1 pint, mixed. Some, after fomenting with warm water, applyGolard's Extract

1 drachm, White Vitriol

1 drachm, Water

l quart, mixed.

A diuretic every second or third day may be used, but a mild purge will be the best :Barbadoes Aloes

8 drachms, Ginger

I drachm, made into a ball with syrup or treacle, and given with the usual preparation of bran mashes.

If the disease is obstinate, the following ointment may be tried : Red Precipitate

4 drachms, Yellow Rosin

4 ounces, Olive Oil

4 drachms, mixed.

Mr. White recommends in obstinate cases a mercurial alterativeCalomel

half a drachm, Aloes

1 drachm, Castile Soap

2 drachms, Oil of Juniper

30 drops, made into a ball with syrup. This he gave every morning


It is essentially necessary to keep a horse as clean as possible, and exercise him on clean and dry ground; during the progress of the disease a moderate allowance of corn may be given, especially when debility exists ; green meat and carrots are very serviceable. When thoroughly cured, a run at grass is recommended. If the horse's legs are usually disposed to swell, a bandage should be used for some time after the cure has been effected, indeed, in such cases, it is often very necessary, and will often serve as a preventative.

Sometimes cracks will show in the heel, and the usual swelling and discharge of matter may not exist ; some use then the following ointment :Hog's Lard

4 ounces. Palm Oil

- 2 ounces. Olive Oil

1 ounce. This is to be put in a pot of boiling water and left till it melts, when Acetated Litharge

1 ounces, must be stirred into the mixture.

This is applied morning and evening, and must be well rubbed in.

In severe cases, the mel ægyptiacum is used by some, as is also a poultice composed of oatmeal and beergrounds.

When the horse has been lame during the progress of the disease, the exercise should be very gentle at first, and as a cure advances by degrees a trot may be ventured on. But all may rely upon the opinion of practitioners, that the origin of the disease is bad stable-management.

« PreviousContinue »