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emptied of dung by the repetition of clysters, which have something stimulating in their composition, previous to the administering any particular medicine by way of a clyster.
Nor is the use of clysters confined to medicines only; food and nourishment may be conveyed into the system in this, when a horse is unable to swallow any thing by the mouth, This I have frequently experienced in practice, and I have supported horses for several days together by nourishing clysters made of thick water-gruel, during violent inflammations of the throat, until such time as they have been either discussed or suppurated.
The lacteal vessels, the mouths of which open into the inner cavity of the intestines, absorb, or drink up, the chyle or nourishment that is produced from the food that has been digested, and convey it into the mass of blood. The same process takes place when nourisnment is conveyed into the intestines by the auus, or fundament, only the food require to be so far prepared and broken down, and diluted with water, as to render it fit to be absorbed by the vessels mentioned above.
In administering clysters, it ought always to be observed, that the contents of the clyster be neither too hot nor too cold, and only milk-warm; as either of these extremes will surprise the horse, and cause him to eject or throw it out before it has had time to have any effect.
Previous to introducing the clyster-pipe, the operator, after anointing his hand and arm with oil, butter, or hog's-lard, (observing at the same time that the nails of his fingers are short,) may introduce it into the rectum and draw out the hardened dung gradually.
This operation in farriery, is termed raking, or back
raking, and becomes the more necessary, as it frequently happens that great quantities of hardened dung are collected in the rectum, and which, in some cases, the horse cannot void easily without assistance of this kind. The composition of clysters should be extremely simple. On that account they will be easily prepared, and as easily administered, if the operator is provided with a suitable instrument for the purpose. The generality of clyster-pipes that are commonly used, are by far too short and too small.
Although it may appear a paradox, yet it is a fact, that a clyster-pipe of a larger size than the ordinary ones, and of a proper thickness, is much easier introduced into the anus than one that is considerably smaller. It is likewise obvious, that when the pipe is too short, it renders clysters of no use, because it cannot convey them so far into the intestines as is necessary to give them any chance of being retained; a small short pipe of six or eight inches long, is not capable of conveying the injection to the end of the rectum, which in a horse of middle size, is about seventeen or eighteen inches long.
In giving injections with these short pipes, the clyster is apt to flow out at the anus in proportion to the force with which it is injected from the bag, or syringe, and this must always be the case, especially if the horse's bladder should happen at the same time to be full of urine, which frequently occurs from its being retained there by the hardened dung in the rectum, which presses against the neck of the bladder, and thus prevents the horse from staling.
It happens, further, that after the hardened dung is taken out of the rectum by the operation abovementioned, the bladder, being distended, and full of urine, cannot exert its contracting power imme
diately so as to expel its contents. It therefore presses up the empty rectum and forms, as it were, a kind of tumour in it; and if the pipe is too short, it cannot reach beyond this rising in the rectum, which forms, as it were, a declivity back towards the anus; and hence the liquor flows back as soon as it is discharged from the pipe, instead of passing forward.
The smallness of the bag, or bladder, containing the clyster, which is generally proportioned to that of the pipe, is another very material objection to this small apparatus, as it seldom contains one quart of liquid, from which circumstance very little benefit can be derived from the use of clysters in such large intestines as those of a horse.
Bracken, in his first volume, has this very judi. cious remark on the use of clysters. He observes that the colon of a horse seems to be three guts, by reason of the two necks of about half a yard each drawn up into many cells, or purses, by means of two ligaments; one of which runs along the upper, and the other the under side of it; which, with the assistance of a valve or flap at its beginning, hinder the excrements either from returning back into the small guts, or falling too soon downward, before the chyle prepared from the food be taken into its proper vessels. And, indeed, the caccum or blind gut, which is the first of three larger guts, seems to be so contrived, in the manner of a valve, to hinder the aliment and chyle from passing too soon into the colon ; for if the aliment and chyle were not somewhat hindered in their passage through these large guts, the body could not be sufficiently supplied with nourishment.
The first of these colons is about a yard and a half long; the second about a yard; and the third, or that part which joins the rectum, near six yards in length,
so that the colon of a horse fourteen hands high, may be said to be nearly eight yards and a half long; and from it, along the rectum or straight gut to the anus, where the excrements are discharged, is not above half a yard; so that it is plain that clysters operate mostly in the colon, though generally they are given in too small quantities; for of what use are two quarts of liquor in a gut of nine yards long, and four or five inches in diameter in a natural state? but when in a colic, it is so distended with flatulencics that its diameter exceeds seyen or eight inches, as Mr. Clark observed in those who have died of that distemper.
Large metal syringes are frequently used for the purpose of giving clysters; but of all the instruments ever invented, Mr. Clark thinks these are the most improper for horses.
The shortness and smallness of their ivory pipes are not only a material'objection, as has been observed, but they are apt to tear and wound the gut; for if a horse should prove restless, either from pain, as in cases of the gripes, or from viciousness, the syringe and pipe being quite inflexible in the struggle to throw up the injection, the gut may be wounded, by which a discharge of blood and other bad consequences may follow.
But although there were not the least chance of either hurting the horse, or wounding the gut, yet the force with which they throw up the liquor always causes a surprise, and of course a resistance, attended with a vigorous effort to throw it back; which indeed frequently happens before the pipe of the syringe is withdrawn.
The instrument which Mr. Clark prefers for the purpose of giving clysters, is a simple bag, or oxbladder, which will hold two or three quarts, tied to the end of a wooden pipe about fourteen or fifteen inches long, one inch and a half diameter where the pipe is tied, and becoming gradually taper to the extremity, where the thickness should suddenly increase and be rounded off at the point as smooth as possible.
The hole through the pipe may be made sufficiently large so as to admit the end of a common funnel for pouring the liquor into the bag. By the flexibility of the bladder at the end of this instrument no danger can happen to the horse, whilst the clyster is conveyed so far up into the intestines that it will be retained. It causes no surprise (provided the liquor be neither too hot nor too cold, but of the same warmth as the intestines themselves,) as no other force is required to throw it up than the holding the bag a little higher than the level of the pipe, by which means the liquor flows gently into the gut without occasioning any surprise to the horse. After using the bag it may be blown full of wind, a cork put into the pipe, and hung up in some dry place to prevent it from rotting, by which means it will be fit for use on future occasions.
Clysters are distinguished by different names, which denominate the quality of the ingredients of which they are composed, as emollient, laxative, diuretic, anodyne, &c.
As the more general use of clysters in the practice of farriery would be attended with the most salutary effects, especially in acute diseases, where the speediest assistance is necessary, Mr. Clark subjoins the following forms for composing them, together with the cases in which they may be administered with advantage :