Definition

When the vessels of the liver contain blood in excess of the requirements for bile formation and the nutrition of the gland, it is said to be congested.

Causes

Accumulation of blood here may result from various causes. Anything that interferes with its outflow from the gland conduces to its congestion. This is why it so frequently coexists with disease of the valves of the heart, which, by obstructing the onward flow of blood, causes it to "back" into the vessels of the liver and produce engorgement; the same may be said of some cases of chronic lung-disease where the blood is interrupted in its course from the light to the left side of the heart. The acute form of the disease commonly results from overfeeding on a too stimulating-diet, conjoined with insufficient work and too close stabling. It may also arise in the course of an attack of influenza, strangles, and some other febrile disorders.

Symptoms

Symptoms are not always of such a pronounced character as to render diagnosis easy to the inexperienced. The most pronounced indications of the disease are a yellow discoloration of the membranes lining the eye, the nose, and the mouth, and also the. urine. The bowels are rather constipated, or unduly relaxed, and the feces are foul-smelling. The appetite is more or less impaired, and the animal is dull and heavy and becomes prematurely fatigued. The tongue is furred, and the mouth clammy and emits a sour, unpleasant odour. The pulse and temperature will be increased in proportion to the severity of the attack, and in acute cases deep pressure applied to the right side induces pain. Sometimes there is a tendency to flatulence and an enlargement of the belly.

Treatment

With the object of relieving the organ of its excessive amount of blood, purgatives are generally employed, and of these the salines are preferable, and may be given in repeated doses over a considerable period. The sulphates of magnesia and soda are amongst the most serviceable and safe of the class, and many horses will take them either in the drinking-water or mixed with the food. Oily aperients are to be avoided, and aloes should only he given in cases where obstinate constipation exists. Mustard, or some more active counter-irritant, to the right side and over the region of the liver is recommended, and especially in those cases where tenderness in that part is evinced upon moderate pressure. Warm clothing and bandaging, by keeping the surface warm and the skin functionally active, should not be omitted, and gentle walking exercise for a few minutes daily even in bad cases is desirable. The diet should consist as much as possible of green fodder, bran mashes, and carrots, if obtainable, and so long as the disease continues food should be very sparingly given. In the convalescent stages benefit may be derived from the administration of mix vomica and the mineral acids, with increased exercise and a slightly more liberal diet. The faeces assuming a natural colour and consistence, and the animal's spirits returning, may be regarded as proofs of ultimate complete recovery.