From the prominence we have given to the unfortunate sequelae of the operation it might possibly be inferred that, while not giving it our absolute condemnation, we regard neurectomy with a certain amount of distrust. That we may contradict any such false impression, we state here that in many cases the operation is the only measure which will offer relief from pain, and restore to work an otherwise useless animal. In support of that we will now quote the recognised advantages of the operation.

That in many cases, when all other methods - surgical and medicinal - have failed, there is an immediate and total freedom from pain and lameness no one will deny. This, if it restores to active work an animal that would otherwise have had to have been cast aside, is ample justification for giving the operation, in spite of its many unfortunate terminations, a real place among the more highly favoured remedial measures to our hand.

'For Contracted Hoofs, viewing them in the light of idiopathic disease, or as being the immediate cause of the existing lameness in the uninflamed condition of the foot, and when consequential changes of its organism have taken place which bid defiance to therapeutic measures, neurotomy is a warrantable resource' (Percival).

'For Ringbone neurotomy has been practised with perfect success, after blistering and firing had both failed, notwithstanding the work the animal had to perform afterwards was of the most trying nature' (ibid.).

For Navicular Disease, when that malady is diagnosed, the earlier neurectomy is performed the better. The greater work given to the diseased bursa and bone, and the return of the contracted heels to the normal, brought about by the greater freedom with which the foot is used, are claimed by many to effect a cure.

Writing of navicular disease, and mentioning his belief in the possibility of the diseased bone effecting its own repair after the operation, Harold Leeney, M.R.C.V.S., says:

'The expansion of the heel, and rapid development of the frog (in this and many other cases) immediately after the operation, has not, I venture to think, attracted so much attention as it deserves, and may have something to do with those cases which appear to be actually cured, not merely made to go sound by absence of pain.'[A]

[Footnote A: Veterinary Record, vol. xi., p. 297.]

Speaking of the median operation before a meeting of the Central Veterinary Medical Society, Professor Hobday says:[A]

[Footnote A: Veterinary Record, vol. xiii., p. 427.]

'For old-standing lamenesses, when due to splints, exostoses, chronically sprained, thickened, and painful perforans and perforatus tendons, or cases of that kind which cause pain by pressing on the adjacent nerve structures, after all other known methods have failed, median neurectomy is the operation which will be most likely to give the animal a new lease of life and usefulness.'

'Of the Humanity and Utility of Neurectomy there can be no question whatever, and provided the cases are well selected, and the operation is efficiently performed, the advantages to be derived from it are most striking as well as enduring. But the disadvantages attending the loss of sensation in the foot have been brought forward on many occasions as an argument against neurectomy, and no one can deny that the foot with sensation is better than one without that faculty. But in a long experience of the operation I have never found these disadvantages outweigh the great advantages which have immediately followed it.'[A]

[Footnote A: Veterinary Journal, vol. ix., p. 178 (Fleming).]

Beyond these, the direct advantages of neurectomy, are other and more indirect advantages which claim attention.

The most astonishing among them is the fact noted by many writers of repute that exostoses (ringbones, side-bones, splints, etc.) rapidly diminish in size. This is vouched for by such well-known authorities as Zundel and Nocard.

Percival, too, mentions at some length the effect of the removal of pain on the oestral and generative functions, quoting a case of a brood cart-mare by reason of bony deposits being stayed from breeding for some years. Two months after the operation she went to work, and moved sound, her altered condition leading her to breed several healthy foals.