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It is frequently necessary to enlarge the wound, in order to extract the ball, and if it has gone quite through, (provided the situation of the part wounded will admit of its being done with safety,) the wound is to be laid open freely through the whole length of it, by which means any extraneous body will be more readily removed, and the cure facilitated. In order to get at the ball, or any other foreign matter, probing is to be used as sparingly as possible; and this must evidently appear necessary to any one who will only consider the nature of the symptoms attendant on penetrating wounds of the chest or belly, either from a bullet or a sharp instrument, the thrusting in a probe to parts under such circumstances being unavoidably a fresh stab on every repetition of such practice. If probing be necessary, the finger should be preferred as the best and truest probe, where it can be used; and where it can not, a bougie may answer the purpose. If a ball, or any other foreign body, happens to be lodged near the orifice, or can be perceived by the finger to lie under the skin, though at some distance from the mouth of the wound, we should cut down to it, and take it out ; but when it is sunk deep, and lies beyond the reach of the finger, it must appear evident, upon the least reflection, that the thrusting first a long probe in search of the bullet, and then, as has been practised likewise, a larger pair of forceps, either with or without teeth, into a wound of that kind, though with a sort of certainty to extract it, must either contuse or irritate and inflame the parts to a greater degree, and, consequently, do as much or more mischief than the ball did at first, by forcing its passage such a length of way. And should the forceps at the same time lay hold of any considerable artery or nerve along with the ball, (which can scarcely fail to hap
pen), what injurious consequences must attend such proceedings ! Nor would attempts of this sort be less injurious, in case a bullet should happen to be lodged in the cavity of the ball or chest. Such attempts are the less necessary because a great number of instances have occurred where balls have quietly lodged in several parts of the body, till, after many years, they have worked themselves a passage towards the surface, and were very easily extracted; and many, where balls have been entirely left behind without occasioning any inconvenience. In case the wound be occasioned by a musket or pistol-shot, and of course but small, it will be deemed necessary to dilate it, without delay, provided the nature of the part will admit of this with safety, for in wounds near a joint, or in very membraneous or tendinous parts, the knife, as well as the forceps, should be put under some restraint, nor should any more opening be made than what is absolutely necessary for the free discharge of the matter lodged within. Where the wounded animal has not suffered any great loss of blood, and this is generally the case), it will be advisable to open a vein immediately, and take a considerable quantity, and to repeat bleeding on the second, or even the third day, should occasion require. The letting of blood in some of these cases is attended with great benefit, for it prevents a good deal of inflammation, and lessens any feverish attack, forwards digestion, and seldom fails to obviate imposthumations, and a long train of complicated symptoms which are apt otherwise to interrupt the cure, and often to endanger the life of the patient. Where the feverish symptoms run high, and even when there s almost a certainty that matter is forming, bleeding is very frequently of great advantage. If it so happen that a gun-shot wound has penetrated any of the large joints, and in passing through them, fractured the end of the bones, it will then be found for the most part impossible to effect a cure, or even to save the life of the patient, and therefore it is the best and most humane course to destroy the animal to save him from pain and misery.
Horses are much easier cured of gun-shot wounds than the human species : this arises from the latter being impressed generally with anxiety, from which the animal is free ; hence the irritability is much less in the one than the other, and the horse displays no symptoms of uneasiness till the constitution is affected.
Treatment.--Should any substances of a hurtful and irritable nature have been carried with the ball into the wound, it would be best to try and extract them, otherwise probing the wound unnecessarily only gives pain and does not advance the cure. If the wound becomes ulcerated, treat it as under article Uicers. Fever often accompanies gun-shot wounds, when it were good to give laxative and cooling medicines,
In treating these cases, Gibson says
“ Where a ball has penetrated quite through any part, both orifices must be kept open till the wound is filled up with new flesh, and no bad symptoms remain, as pain, swelling, or inflammation, which in those gun-shot wounds that enter the bones as well as the flesh, would denote the existence either of extraneous matter, or of splinters, which must be removed by gradually enlarging the most convenient orifice. But in most internal this is unnecessary, because the bullet can seldom be brought out the same way by which it entered. I have known leaden bullets lie many years in men, especially in the abdomen, without any great pain or danger; and those that have gone deep in the flesh and beyond reach, make their way sometimes from places where they could never be expected to appear. Many extraordinary instances of this kind are upon record in the surgical transactions of different parts of Europe.” He adds, “ I have known bullets pierce through both flesh and bones in men, making a round smooth passage like an anger-hole, and been as easy of cure as a flesh wound, except when they have penetrated or grazed the joints. In these cases horses may be rendered useless, even though the wound be cured.”
In most cases where the bones are very much splintered, the horse is rendered useless, and the best plan is to destroy him. Fungous flesh will sometimes grow to wounds, which is bad, and should be stopped by smearing the part with red precipitate, or washed with vitriol and water.
SPASMODIC COLIC, OR GRIPES,
Is a disease by no means unfrequent among horses, and sometimes has a fatal termination. The symptoms, however, which accompany it, are not unlike those attendant on inflammation of the bowels, or the red colic of the farriers, consequently it is highly necessary to be able to discern between the two, as the treatment is materially diff rent in each case.
Causes. The common practice of allowing horses to drink, and of using cold water externally, when heated from work or exercise, is a very common cause. The too sudden use of green food after being some time accustomed to dry only. Costiveness may occasion it, and in such cases the attack is considerably more dangerous than in ordinary cases.
With some horses it has been accounted constitutional.
The Symptoms of this disease are very sudden : without any apparent warning the horse becomes restless, pawing the ground, shifting from side to side in his stall, and occasionally striking his belly with his feet; and when the attack is very severe, he will lie down, and then rise suddenly; sometimes rolling about on his litter : the pains, however, are frequently intermitting, when the animal feels a momentary relief, and then the spasm returns with greater violence than before, which is evident from the general uneasiness of the horse. After a duration of from ten and twelve to twenty hours, inflammation will take place, and death often follows.
Treatment.When simple spasm alone exists, the medicines which may be efficaciously used are very numerous ; at the head of these we may place turpentine and opium, which are almost universally given. Spirit of Turpentine
3 ounces, Tincture of Opium
1 ounce, Pepper (ground)
5 or 6 drachms, made into a drink with half a pint of warm ale, will oftentimes act speedily in giving relief.
Mr. Paris, in an article in “ The Veterinarian,” says he has often givenOil of Turpentine
4 ounces, Tincture of Assafætida
1 ounce, Spirit of Nitrous Æther
1 ounce, Spirit of Hartshorn