Preparations of the plant Aconitum Napellus, or Monkshood, are much used in veterinary medicine, both internally and for outward application, and mistakes occur now and again in consequence of an overdose being-given, or a liniment intended for external application is administered in mistake for a draught, with fatal consequences to the patient. The plant grows freely in wayside gardens, and has produced poisonous effects on horses nibbling the leaves and flowers even in small quantity.
Fig. 462. - Starwort (Stellaria Holostea).
Frothing at the mouth from excitation of the salivary glands, champing and movements of the head suggesting the burning sensation in the throat which is a well-known effect on human sufferers, purging, frequent and violent attempts at vomition. The heart's action is so depressed as to make the pulse almost imperceptible, paralysis of the hind extremities supervenes, and the animal reels and falls about until he abandons the attempt to stand or an amelioration of his condition follows.
Perfect quiet and freedom from all causes of excitement should be provided. Digitalis, the action of which is directly counter to that of aconite, affords a valuable antidote, and should be promptly administered. Diffusible stimulants, as for example alcohol and ammonia, may be given alternately with the above, and a laxative of linseed-oil early in the attack, despite the usual symptom of purging. Linseed-oil is said to allay the violent attempts at vomition above mentioned.
Fig. 463. - Aconite (Aconitum Napellus).