Dog - Dumb madness is so called because there is seldom any barking heard, but more particularly because the jaw drops paralytic, aud the tongue lolls out of the mouth, black, and apparently strangulated. A strong general character of the disease, is the disposition to scratch their bed towards their belly; and equally so is the general tendency to eat trash, as hay, straw, wood, coals, dirt, Sec.; and it should be remembered, that this is so very common and invariable, that the finding these matters in the stomach after death, should always confirm the previously formed notion of the existence of the disease. Blaine is also at great pains to disprove the notion generally entertained, that rabid dogs are averse to water; and neither drink nor come near it. This error he contends has led to most dangerous results; and is so far from true, that mad dogs from their heat and fever are solicitous for water, and lap it eagerly. W hen the dumb kind exists in its full force, dogs cannot swallow what they attempt to lap; but still they will plunge their heads iu it, and appear to fee! relief by it; but in no instance out of many hundreds, did he ever discover the smallest aversion to it. He lays very great stress on the noise made by rabid dogs, which he says is neither a bark nor a howl, but a tone compounded of both. It has been said by some, that this disorder is occasioned by heat or bad food, and by others, that it never arises from any other cause but the bite. Accordingly, this malady is rare in the northern parts of Turkey, more rare in the southern provinces of that empire, and totally unknown under the burning sky ol Egypt. At Aleppo, where these animals perish in great numbers, for want of water and food, and by the heat of the climate, this disorder was never tnown. In other parts of Africa, and in the hottest zone of America, dogs are never attacked with madness. Blaine knows of no instance of the complaint being cured, although he has tried to their fullest extent the popular remedies of profuse bleedings, strong mercurial and arsenical doses, vinegar, partial drowning, night-shade, water-plantain, fitc.; he therefore recommends the attention to be principally directed towards the prevention of the malady. The preventive treatment of rabies or madness is, according to Blaine, always an easy process in the human subject, from the immediate part bitten being easily detected ; in which case the removal of the part by excision or cautery is an effectual remedy.
But, unfortunately for the agriculturalist, it is not easy to detect the bitten parts in cattle, nor in dogs; and it would be therefore most desirable, if a certain internal preventive were generally known. Dr. Mead's powder, the Ormskirk powder, sea-bathing, and many other nostrums are deservedly in disrepute ; while a few country medicines, but little known beyond their immediate precincts, have maintained some character. Conceiving that these must all possess some ingredient in common, he was at pains to discover it; and which he appears to have realized, by obtaining, among others, the composition of Webb's Watford drink. In this mixture, which is detailed below, he considers the active ingredients to be the buxus or box, which has been known as aprophylacticas long as the times of Hippocrates and Celsus, who both mention it. The recipe, detailed below, has been administered to near three hundred animals of different kinds, as horses, cows, sheep, swine, and dogs; and appears to have succeeded in nineteen out of every twenty cases, where it was fairly taken and kept on the stomach. It appears also equally efficacious in the human subject ; in which case he advises the extirpation of the bitten parts also. The box preventive is thus directed to be prepared:—Take of the fresh leaves of the tree-box two ounces, of the fresh leaves of rue two ounces,
of sage half an ounce, chop these fine, and boil it in a pint of water to half a pint; strain carefully, and press out the liquor very firmly; put back the ingredients into a pint of milk, and boil again to half a pint; strain as before; mix both liquors, which forms three doses for a human subject. Double this quantity is proper for a horse or cow. Two thirds of the quantity is sufficient for a large dog, half for a middling sized, and one third for a small dog. Three doses are sufficient, given each subsequent morning, fasting; the quantity directed being that which forms these three doses. As it sometimes produces strong effects on dogs, it may be proper to begin with a small dose; but in the case of dogs we hold it always prudent to increase the dose till effects are evident, by the sickness, panting, and uneasiness of the dog.
In the human subject, where this remedy appears equally efficacious, we have never witnessed any unpleasant or active effects, neither are such observed in cattle of any kind: but candour obliges us to add, that in a considerable proportion of these, other means were used, as the actual or potential cautery; but in all the animals other means were purposely omitted. That this remedy, therefore, has a preventive quality, ia unquestionable, and now perfectly established ; for there was not the smallest doubt of the animals mentioned either having been bitten, or of the dog being mad who bit them, as great pains were in every instance taken to ascertain these points. To prevent canine madness, Pliny recommends worming of dogs; and from his time to the present it has had, most deservedly, says Daniel, its advocates. He tells us, that he has had various opportunities of proving the usefulness of this practice, and recommends its general introduction. Blaine, on the contrary, asserts that the practice of worming is wholly useless, and founded in error; and that the existence of any thing like a worm under the tongue is incontestably proved to be false; and that what has been taken for it, is merely a deep ligature of the skin, placed there to restrain the tongue in its motions. He also observes that the pendulous state of the tongue in what is termed dumb madness, with the existence of a partial paralysis of the under jaw, by which they could not bite, having happened to dogs previously wormed, has made the inability to be attributed to this source, but which is wholly an accidental circumstance; and happens equally to the wormed and unwormed dog.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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