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Choking of Cattle.
CHOKING, or the impaction of food in the gullet, is an accident of very common occurrence in the bovine family.
* Turnips, mangolds, and potatoes, are chief causes of this trouble. Choking may either take place in the descent of the food in the act of swallowing; or its regurgitation, the return of the food in the act of rumination (esophagus). When an animal has once been choked it is always more liable to a return of the accident, from the esophagus, at the part where the obstruction took place, being weakened. Choking may occur both at the commencement of the esophagus and at its termination within the cavity of the chest, and when in the latter situation it is difficult to diagnose.
The symptoms of choking are coughing, a peculiar poking out of the head, discharge of saliva from the mouth, attempts at regurgitation and difficulty of breathing, sometimes attended with a moan, and, what is also a most important symptom, swelling of the paunch. This latter is always observed, and is the only symptom attended with immediate danger. When a beast is suspected of being choked, a most careful examination should be made by the hand of the whole extent of the gullet from the throat to where it enters the chest, and if the obstruction can be felt it should be manipulated gently with the hand, so as, if possible, to pass it down the gullet. This may be assisted by giving the animal a little linseed oil. If near the upper part of the gullet it may be pressed upwards. Should the obstruction not be felt after careful examination has been made, it may be concluded it has lodged in the cavity of the chest, near to where the gullet enters the rumen. In these cases there is more danger. If manipulation by the hand is unsuccessful, and the symptoms denote danger, no time should be lost in introducing the probang. This is a hollow tube, 6 feet in length, composed of a spiral coil of wire, covered with leather, and furnished with a bulb of metal at one end and a cup-shaped mass at the other. The animal should be well secured, and a wooden gag put in the mouth, and the cup-shaped end of the probang passed into the gullet until the obstruction is reached and by moderate and steady pressure is pushed into the stomach. All pain will at once subside.
All authorities condemn severely the use of whip-handles, ropes, broomhandles, &c. Surgical attempts, even with the very best appliances, are attended with considerable risk, but fatal injuries are common through inexperienced operators making use of primitive and unsuitable makeshift arrangements.
Laceration of the coating of the gullet is easily caused, and sometimes rupture of the parts, by the use of unsuitable instruments. When the root is successfully removed with the probang the diet for some days should
* Armytage and others.
consist of thin sloppy food, in order that the gullet may not suffer by the passage of rough solid particles. Ulceration of the lining membrane often takes place unless this is attended to.
Blisters are of service externally to reduce swelling, and an internal wash, composed of } oz. alum, 2 oz. tincture of myrrh, and 1 quart of water, may be poured down the throat three times a day.
Bleeding to faintness is sometimes resorted to when the probang fails. This has the effect of relaxing the esophagus.
As a last resource, the operation esophagotomy is resorted to—that is, the making of an incision in the gullet or esophagus for the purpose of removing the foreign substance that obstructs the passage. An incision is made with the knife, the mass exposed, and cleared out. The parts are then united and treated as for an ordinary wound. So far there is no difficulty or danger in the operation, the danger consisting in the difficulty of keeping the parts in a state of rest until the healing process is effected. Slops, gruel, soft food, should be given so as not to irritate the parts. In connection with choking, gas is rapidly generated within the rumen, and if relief is not obtained in a short time the sufferer drops partially, if not completely, suffocated, or rupture of the stomach follows. Trocar and canula must be used to allow the escape of gas.
Tympanitis-Hoven or Blown.
Hoven is the unnatural distention of the rumen or paunch with gaseous matter.
The cause seems to be the suspension of the natural peristaltic action of stomach, and the consequent elimination of gaseous matters from the accumulated ingesta.
It occurs mostly when the grass is fresh and plentiful, and full of rich juicy matter. Artificial grasses, clover, lucerne, &c., also produce it.
It is necessary for every agriculturist to be thoroughly acquainted with, and capable of employing, prompt remedies ; as cattle may die in a comparatively short space of time in such cases, unless immediately attended to.
Distention of the paunch from over-feeding seems to be the primary cause of hoven. The grass or fodder is rich and succulent; the animal eats eagerly; the food is insufficiently masticated; fermentation takes place, and gas (carbonic acid) is formed; the paunch is blown up like a bladder ; the animal suffers intense agony; gets up and lies down; respires with difficulty, from the distended stomach pressing against the lungs.
If no relief is given, the animal rapidly becomes unconscious. The disease runs its course very rapidly, consequently there is necessity for prompt measures.
Firstly. The gas must be got rid of by puncturing the rumen. This is done on the left side. Measure a hand's breadth from the projection of the hip and a hand's breadth from the last rib.
The proper instrument for this purpose is a trocar and canula, the latter being left in the wound for some time in order to allow the gas to escape.
In urgent cases, a penknife may be used, and the orifice much enlarged, 80 as to admit the finger, a passage being kept open. . In slighter cases medicines may be given. Dobson.