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.
Four varieties of inflammation of the bowels are met with, viz.: 1, acute inflammation of the peritonaeal coat; 2, spasms of the muscular coat, attended with congestion or inflammation, and known as colic; 3, inflammation of the mucous coat, attended by diarrhoea; and 4, chronic inflammation, generally followed by constipation. Acute inflammation of the peritonseal coat is known as peritonitis and enteritis, according as its attacks are confined to the membrane lining the general cavity, or to that covering the intestines; but, as there is seldom one without more or less of the other, there is little practical use in the distinction. The symptoms are very severe. They are indicated by shivering, feverishness, cold dry nose, ears, and legs, hot breath, and anxious expression - showing evidence of pain, which is increased on pressing the bowels with the hand. The tail is kept closely against the body. The attitude is peculiar to the disease, the back being arched, and the legs drawn together. The bowels are costive, and the urine scanty and highly-colored. There is likewise thirst, attended with loss of appetite. Sometimes there is a slight vomiting after food. The disease soon runs on, and, if not relieved, is fatal in a few days.
To treat it, take a large quantity of blood; give calomel and opium in grain doses of each, every three or four hours. Place the dog in a warm bath for half an hour, and, after drying him, rub in the embrocation (43), avoiding pressure, and applying it rapidly, but lightly. After twelve hours, the bowels may be moved by means of the castor oil (15); or, if necessary, by the strong mixture (16), repeating the calomel pills until the tenderness ceases. Great skill is required in adapting the remedies to the disease, and a veterinary surgeon should be called in, whenever the dog is worth the expense.
Colic is a frequent complaint among dogs, the signs being intense pain, aggravated at intervals to such a degree as to cause the patient to howl most loudly. The back at the same time is arched as far as possible, and the legs are drawn together. If this shows Itself suddenly after a full meal, the colic may at once be surmised to exist, but the howl at first is not very loud, the dog starting up with a sharp moan, and then lying down again, to repeat the start and moan in a few minutes with increased intensity. The nose is of a natural appearance, and there is little or no fever, the evidence of pain being all that directs the attention to the bowels. The treatment should be by means of laudanum (1 drachm) and ether (30 drops) in a little water every two or three hours; or, in very bad cases, croton oil (1 drop) may be given in a pill with three grains of solid opium every four hours until the pain ceases. The embrocation (46) may also be rubbed into the bowels, either at once, or after a very hot bath. The clyster (17) may also be tried with advantage, and sometimes a very large quantity of warm water thrown into the bowels while the dog is in the warm bath, will afford instant relief.
Colic sometimes ends in intussusception, or a drawing of one portion of the bowel into the other; but of this there is no evidence during life. If there were, no remedy would avail short of opening the belly with the knife and drawing out the inverted portion with the hand. Diarrhoea, or inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bowels, is a constant visitor to the kennel. The symptoms are too plain to need description, further than to remark that the motions may be merely loose, marking slight irritation, or there may be a good deal of mucus, which is an evidence of great irritation of the membrane; or, again, there may be shreds or lumps of a white substance resembling the boiled white of an egg, in which case the inflammation has run very high. Lastly, blood may be poured out, marking either ulceration of the bowels, when the blood is bright in color, or an oozing from the small intestines, when it is of a pitchy consistence and chocolate color. The treatment varies. If there is reason to believe that irritation from improper food exists, a dose of oil (15) will clear all away and nothing more is needed.
In slight cases of mucous diarrhoea, laudanum may be added to a small dose of oil (7). If this does not have the desired effect, try (6), (8), or (9). Bleeding from an ulcerated surface or from the small intestines seldom occurs except in distemper, and can rarely be restrained when severe. Relief may be attempted by the bolus (18) or the pill (19), but the shock to the system is generally too great to allow of perfect health being restored. In case of bleeding from the large intestines, the chalk mixture (6), together with the bolus (18), will often avail. Rice water should be given as the only drink, and well-boiled rice flavored with milk as the only solid food.
Chronic inflammation with constipation is very liable to occur in dogs which are not exercised, and are fed with biscuit or meal without vegetables. The treatment of habitual constipation should he regular exercise and green vegetables with food. Coarse oatmeal will generally act gently on the bowels of the dog, and a costive animal may be fed upon porridge with great advantage, mixed with wheat-flour or Indian meal. It is better to avoid opening medicine as a rule, though there is no objection to an occasional dose of a mild drug like castor oil. If the faeces are impacted, throw up warm water or gruel repeatedly, until they are softened.
at the same time giving the aperient (12), (16), or (16). For piles, give every morning to a dog of average size as much brimstone as will lie on a quarter of a dollar.