The same author draws attention to the fact that caustic agents such as nitrate of lead, chloride of zinc, etc., act too powerfully if the bleeding has been arrested and the wound disinfected. They then form a thick crust, under which profuse suppuration takes place. The same agents are likewise contra-indicated when haemorrhage is still present. In this latter case they combine with the blood to form metallic albuminates, which lie as an impenetrable layer on the surface of the wound, and so hinder the action of drugs on the tissue below.
During his after-treatment, Bermbach advocates removal of the dressings every second day, all cheesy material to be scraped away with the knife, and the sublimate lotion to be used again. He also insists on the animal being kept standing in a dry stable, - nothing but a stone pavement kept clean - and put to regular work in a plate shoe after the first or second week. Cure of advanced cases is said to be obtainable in from four to six weeks.
As illustrative of the value of pressure in the treatment of canker, we may also draw attention to a treatment advocated by Lieutenant Rose.[A] This observer holds that adequate pressure is unobtainable by packing the foot, and, to obtain it, removes the wall from heel to heel, much after the manner of preparing the foot for the Charlier shoe, so that the whole of the weight is taken by the sole and the frog. Tar and tow is then lightly applied, the foot placed in a boot, and the patient turned into a loose-box. The dressing is repeated at intervals of four or five days until the animal is cured.
[Footnote A: Veterinary Record, vol. xi., p. 435.]
Those who have followed this method of treatment have modified it by actually shoeing the animal Charlier fashion, and keeping him at work, attention, of course, being at the same time given to a proper antiseptic dressing.
Reported Cases. - 1. (Malcolm's Treatment[A]). The subject was a five-year old horse belonging to a client of Mr. Giver's, of Tamworth. The case was an exceptionally bad one, for not only was the whole of the frog and sole of the near hind-foot cankered, but the disease on the outside quarter extended to within 1/2 inch of the coronet, and on the inside quarter to within 2 inches of it. As the owner, a farmer, had not proper convenience for Mr. Olver to treat the case, the latter asked me, while visiting him, if I would care to undertake the treatment, saying at the time it would be a very good test-case, as the disease was so far advanced. I readily agreed, and, after the necessary arrangements, had the horse removed to Birmingham on July 2. In this case it was found necessary to cast the animal and cauterize the foot a second time before a healthy granulating surface was secured; but after this the progress towards recovery was uninterrupted, although necessarily slow, on account of the large amount of new secreting surface which had to be formed.
[Footnote A: Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics, vol. v., p. 48.]
The horse was finally discharged, after inspection by Mr. Olver, absolutely cured and free from canker, on January 7.
The illustration (Fig. 135, p. 312) is from a photograph, and it gives a somewhat imperfect representation of the state of the foot two months after it came under my care.
2. (Rose's Treatment.[A]) This was a bad case of canker, which had been for two or three months treated in the ordinary manner, with but little sign of ultimate success. Commenced in June and carried on until the end of September, the ordinary treatment consisted in burning down the fungus growth with the hot iron, and dressing with copper sulphate, zinc sulphate, and boracic acid. The cauterization was repeated every five days.
[Footnote A: Veterinary Record, vol. xi., p. 435.]
The treatment of Lieutenant Rose was commenced at about the end of September, at which date the disease extended from the toe on one side of the foot right back to the heel, involving the sole, half of the frog, and the bulb of the heel. One week after treatment the diseased surface was drier, and granulations were more healthy. At the expiration of a fortnight the new horn had commenced to grow from the wall, and also from the frog, right round the diseased surface, the diseased part of the bulb of the heel being divided from the sole by new horn.
Three to four weeks later the diseased surface was gradually getting smaller, while in about six weeks it was quite healed up, the last place to heal being a strip outside the bar, between it and the wall, and a smaller spot on the bulb of the heel. These healed up simultaneously, and left the animal sound.
3. (Treatment by Pressure, H. Leeney [A]). I was consulted in the early part of last summer, before the dry weather had begun, as to a farm-horse with canker in three feet. Her shoes were in the 'disgruntle' condition we so often find on farms, that, to give her a level bearing until I should call another day with a farrier to help me to pack the foot up in the old-fashioned way, I had the remaining shoes pulled off. The case somehow dropped out of my list, and I neglected to call, until asked one day to see something else.
[Footnote A: Veterinary Records, vol. xi., p. 447]
I then found that, under a pressure of work, the animal had been used in the shafts of a farm-cart on tolerably level ground, and when the dry weather had already set in. There was a distinct improvement in all the diseased feet, and as she was badly wanted I contented myself with rasping off some broken crust, and supplied some caustic dressing for use at night. Without shoes she worked continuously on the dry and hard meadow-land for several weeks, and was practically cured in something less than three months. My astringent or caustic lotion may have had something to do with the cure of the deep-seated parts, but the bare recital of the case should be sufficient to show that it is all a question of bearing, or nearly so.