This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
General Dropsy consists, in serum infiltrated into the cellular membrane, beneath the skin of the whole body, as shown by swelling without redness, and "pitting" on the pressure of the finger being removed. The immediate cause is to be looked for either in general debility, by which the serum is not absorbed in due course, or from defective action of the kidneys, by which the blood is overcharged with it. More remotely, improper stimulants or gross food will produce it, especially in foul and dirty kennels, and in old and worn-out dogs when the liver is deficient In activity. The treatment must vary with the cause, and it is therefore important that this should be ascertained at once. Thus, in case there is merely general debility, tonics (62) or (63) will be the proper remedies. If the kidneys are in fault, but merely torpid, the diuretic bolus (40) or (41) may be relied on; while, if they have been inflamed, the treatment proper to that disease must be resorted to. Sometimes, in a broken down constitution, when the urine is mixed with blood, small doses of cantharides may be found beneficial, as advised by Mayhew; but these cases are so difficult to distinguish, that it is only when veterinary aid cannot be obtained that I should advise the use of this drug.
The dose is two to three drops in water twice a day; Tincture of Cantharides, 2 drops; Spirits of Nitric Ether, 15 drops; Water, 1 oz Mix, and give as a drench twice a day.