Treatment. - In simple cases of periostitis, those caused by a blow but free from an actual wound, the most beneficial treatment is the continued application of cold by means of a hose-pipe or by swabs. If by these means we are successful in holding the inflammatory phenomena in check, any large formation of new bone is prevented, and the case does well.
When the case is complicated by a wound, then antiseptic measures, such as those described in the treatment of punctured foot, will at the same time have to be practised.
It must be admitted, however, that in all but the most simple cases ordinary treatment such as this is of very little use; for with only a slight exostosis in almost any position in the foot, excessive lameness presents itself and remains. In such cases nothing is left to us but the operation of neurectomy.
When the periostitis and ostitis is the result of a wound, and is complicated by caries or necrosis of the bone, the diseased portion of bone must in every case be laid bare and removed. It so happens that the majority of cases of this kind occur in positions where the diseased bone is easily got at. The lower margin of the os pedis or portions of the wings are commonly the seat of such changes. We meet with the former in cases of pricked foot, and with the latter in severe cases of tread, or as a complication in suppurating corn or in quittor. In such cases the animal must be cast and the foot secured. The wound is then followed up, the horn if necessary removed, and the bone curetted with a Volkmann's spoon; or, if showing itself as a sequestrum, removed with a scalpel and a strong pair of forceps. Care must be taken that every particle of the diseased bone is removed, and that no part of it is left to act as an after-source of irritation. With removal of the diseased portion and a strict attention to antisepsis healing soon takes place.
Reported Cases of Periostitis and Ostitis. - 1. 'Figs. 150 and 151 represent the phalangeal bones of the off fore-leg of a thoroughbred horse named Osman, who was well known as a hunt steeplechaser of considerable merit in the Midland counties some twenty years ago. I may say that this horse was under my observation pretty regularly during the whole of his career, and up to the time of his death, from ruptured aorta, when eight years old. My attention was called to him as a yearling by his owner, who told me that he sometimes fancied the colt was lame. I went over to see him, and found that he was unmistakably lame on the off fore-leg. Careful examination showed no heat or enlargement anywhere. I advised rest and the colt became pretty sound, though not quite so - in fact, he never did become quite sound, and sometimes he was very lame indeed.
Fig. 150. - Effects Of Periostitis On The Pedal And Navicular Bones.
'Every imaginable sort of treatment was tried short of neurectomy, without avail. The curious part of the case was that there never was much heat or any apparent change of structure, nor was "pointing" a very noticeable feature. The foot always remained a good-looking one. As the horse won a good number of races he was of some value, and was seen by a good many members of the profession, who were by no means unanimous as to the cause of lameness. The favourite theory was that it was a sequence of "split pastern." A post-mortem examination showed that there was no fracture. There was no adherence of the tendon to the navicular bone nor any ulceration. The morbid changes consisted entirely of osseous deposit as shown in the photographs. The under surface of the navicular bone was much enlarged and roughened by this bony deposit, which extended on to the os pedis, causing complete anchylosis at each extremity of the navicular. The lateral cartilages were healthy. The interesting points in connection with the case are the insidious commencement of osseous disease, its extensive development, and the entire absence of any external manifestation, through its being confined entirely within the limits of the hoof.
Fig. 151. - Effects Of Periostitis On The Pedal And Navicular Bones.
'It should also be noted that the animal was able to undergo a severe course of training for some years, and to gallop successfully over some of the most trying courses in England. During the whole of this time he walked and galloped apparently sound, but trotted always lame, and generally dead lame.'[A]
[Footnote A: W. E Litt, M.R.C.V.S., Veterinary Record, vol. viii., p. 527.]
Fig. 152. - Effects Of Periostitis On The Os Pedis.
2. 'I herewith send you photographs of three cases of the above disease, occurring in the internal surfaces of the wings of the os pedis. The photos were kindly done for me by Dr. A. Lingard, Imperial Bacteriologist to Government of India. It is a cause of many cases of obscure foot lameness in India, and frequently accounts for the numerous entries on veterinary medical history sheets under the heading "Contused Foot."
'The course of the disease is as follows: The disease makes its appearance very soon after arrival in India, the animal being admitted to hospital suffering with undoubted foot lameness, generally slight. One is soon led to suspect this disease by negative symptoms of other disease being in existence. No coronary enlargement or flinching on pressure to the coronet, no shrinkage or wiring in of the heels, neither is the characteristic pointing of navicular present. In the early stages one has false hopes of recovery by finding gradual improvement for a time by fomentation and poultices, followed by irrigation and stimulants to the coronet, and perhaps the animal is discharged from hospital, to be returned after a few days worse than ever. The disease then becomes insidious and more pronounced, the nodding of the head, even at a walk, more exaggerated, and, in fact, the animal seems afraid to put his foot to the ground, and much resembles a horse with an abscess in his foot, either from prick or picked up nail. He absolutely nurses his foot. There is a certain amount of heat always present. The disease being now well developed, pressure is caused by the ends of the navicular bone, and they become involved at their points by bony deposits. The causes of this disease I attribute, firstly, to hereditary predisposition; and, secondly the exciting cause, standing confined on board ship, where no doubt pedal congestion takes place. And perhaps some subjects start it in their marches in mobs down country in Australia. Concussion may be the cause among older horses, but the specimens photographed were taken from remounts, that had either done no work or only very gentle work, in a deeply littered riding school.
Fig. 153. - Effects Of Periostitis On The Os Pedis.
'Treatment. - It is obvious from the position of this disease that treatment will be of no avail in producing a cure. As already stated, the disease is insidious and progressive, and it is hopeless to expect to arrest the growths once they are started. Unnerving would no doubt remove the symptom (lameness) of the disease, but an unnerved horse is not of much good for army purposes. I therefore consider that once the disease becomes firmly established it is an unfortunate and incurable one.
Fig. 154, 155 - Effects Of Periostitis On The Os Pedis.
'Post-mortem reveals the small nodular growths on the inner surfaces of the wings of the pedal bone, and if long established the ends of the navicular bone are also involved. Exudation and gradual growth of false material around the nodules takes place, which also serves to increase pressure.'[A]
[Footnote A: Captain L.M.Smith, A.V.D., Veterinary Record, vol. xi., p. 229.]
3. 'This case was brought for my opinion. The horse was lame, and walked similar to one that had had laminitis, putting the heel down first upon the ground. I ordered the patient to be destroyed. You will note the ossification of the flexor pedis at its attachment to the pedal bone. I enclose photos of the ground, also of the articular, surfaces of the bone.'[A]
[Footnote A: F.B.Jones, M.R.C.V.S., Veterinary Record, vol. xi., p. 230.]