The growth of abscess in this situation is of seldom occurrence, except in connection with strangles. Occasionally, however, it results from the lodgment of a foreign body in the throat, as a thorn, thistle-prick, splinter of wood, pin, fine nail, or other similar substance. Pharyngitis proceeding from a severe cold sometimes terminates in the formation of an abscess.
These, in the first instance, simulate an ordinary sore throat, and later, according to the situation and extent of the swelling, give evidence of considerable suffering and distress. With the progress of the abscess swallowing becomes difficult if not altogether impossible. When attempted, pain is denoted by the spasmodic movement of the head to one side as the bolus enters the pharynx, or if water is being taken much of it will return down the nostrils.
The head is extended on the neck, and, when turning, is moved stiffly round. More or less general enlargement will appear about the throat, and if the abscess be superficial a special prominence will be observed at the point where it is being formed. In cases where it is deeply seated and "pointing" inward there may be but little outward swelling to mark its presence, and should it break internally and the matter pass down the throat, as is sometimes the case, all evidence of its having existed will disappear, but it will not be overlooked that the patient's pain and suffering has suddenly disappeared with it.
The presence and disruption of an abscess will sometimes be indicated by a copious discharge of matter from the nostrils and a simultaneous subsidence of the acute symptoms and return of the power of deglutition. It not infrequently happens that these throat abscesses break during a sharp fit of coughing, which mostly occurs from time to time during their formation.
Slight fever will exist while the abscess is in the process of development, but this will quickly subside after it has broken and emptied itself.
This must be directed towards maturing the abscess and keeping down the fever which attends its development. The former may be assisted by poulticing the throat continuously and allowing the animal to inhale warm vapour from a bran mash at the bottom of a nose-bag. A little electuary of belladonna and treacle rubbed up with a little powdered chlorate of potash will diminish local pain. A small quantity should be put into the mouth three or four times a day by means of a spatula made out of a piece of stick.
A dram and a half of nitrate of potash in the drinking-water or in sloppy bran mash may be all that is needful in the way of medicine. During the formation of abscess in the throat no attempt should be made to give draughts or balls. If the fever runs high 2 ounces of alcohol should be given in the drinking-water three or four times a day and the body should be kept warm by ample clothing and bandages to the legs. Where the abscess points outwardly it should be freely laid open by means of a clean lancet so soon as it is found to fluctuate under pressure of the finger.
Plenty of fresh air and a clean apartment are necessary adjuncts to medical treatment.