GREASE, so termed from the similitude which the discharge bears to that animal secretion called by the same name. This very frequent disease is a discharge from the skin of the part immediately above the hoof .sometimes attended with cracks and swellings extending higher up. It is caused by weakness of the parts, occasioned by long standing in a stable, or by cold from repeated washing of the legs without rubbing them dry, or from moisture constantly under the feet. Grease may be sometimes owing to constitutional debility, particularly in young horses, brought on suddenly by changes in their diet, and the want of exercise. The hind legs are oftener attacked than the fore; perhaps, because they are usually not so well rubbed and dried; and, perhaps, from the stretch which is kept upon them in stalls which slant downwards. Although a horse may be fat, and apparently in good condition, still the disease may be caused by this very fulness, producing a partial debility in the feet. Grease may be either a simple discharge, or be connected with cracks and swelled legs. The treatment, therefore, must be adapted to the different degrees of the complaint. In the first instance, when the complaint is mild, the feet should be bathed in warm water, and, having been dried, the following astringent lotion should be applied, by tying a rag wetted with it on the parts, and repeating the application twice a day, with gentle exercise, and green food if possi- j ble, mashes, opening medicines, and nitre:—Take of sulphate of zinc two drachms, decoction of oak bark a pint; mix. If cracks begin to show themselves, with an ichorous discharge of a thin and greenish nature, we must not use the above lotion, but first poultice the parts with warm linseed poultice or mashed turnips, bathing the parts occasionally with warm water. These applications are to be continued for eight or ten days, until a healthy discharge comes on, when the above astringent may be safely applied.
If, however, the cracks become large, and swelling of the legs follow, the above poulticing and fomenting plan must be mainly assisted by constitutional means, such as occasional diuretic balls and alterative medicines ; and the following may be used after the astringent lotion is tried :—Take of verdigrise, half an ounce; prepared calaminestone, one ounce ; chalk powdered, two drachms; tar, a quarter of a pound ; mix. Anoint the parts daily with this. Confirmed grease, notwithstanding all our efforts, will often follow ; and this is when the cracks become ulcers and discharge a foul and peculiarly stinking fluid; horny or thick nobs will also form, called, by the farriers, grapes. Then we must, in addition to warm fomentations, use the fermenting poultice, which is flour moistened and leavened into a state of fermentation by yeast. This will be found to correct the discharge in a few days. The discharge, however, ought not to be too suddenly dried up, when the complaint has gone to such lengths, but rowels or setons should be applied in the thighs, and allowed to discharge several days first. Then the following astringents may be applied to dry up the discharge : —Take equal parts of verdigrise, white vitriol, alum, and sugar of lead, half an ounce. Dissolve them in half a pint of water, or of oil of vitriol half an ounce, water half a pint; mix. Or of corrosive sublimate two drachms, dissolved in a little spirit of wine, and added to half a pint of water. When the discharge is stopped, and the disease apparently removed, let the horse be turned to grass, or into a straw-yard; and, in a week or two, fire the parts, so as to cause the skin to contract, and so establish a permanent pressure on the parts.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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