The employment of this element for the destruction of vermin has led, in careless hands, to horses being seriously injured.. A very small quantity of phosphorus paste concealed in forage may be taken into the mouth by a gross feeder, although it is such an offensive substance that most horses would detect and reject it.
Abdominal pain, simulating ordinary colic, is followed by ineffectual efforts at vomition, and subsequent purging. There is a tendency to haemorrhage from the natural outlets of the body, either nose, mouth, rectum, or urethral canal. The liver is invariably more or less deranged.
Although this drug is of the nature of an irritant poison, we are precluded from giving oily substances, phosphorus being readily soluble in fixed oils. Solutions of gum-arabic or tragacanth and small doses of turpentine are reputed to have beneficial effects in alleviating suffering from this form of poisoning.
These are fairly constant, but differ in degree. A large amount of foul-smelling gas is released when the abdomen is opened, and the stomach, especially in its villous portion, is reddened, much softer than when the organ is healthy, and considerably thickened. Inflamed patches and areas of extravasation are observed extending into the small intestine, and maybe into the large bowel.
The air-passages and lungs are congested, as are the urino-genital organs. It is remarked that in phosphorus poisoning a lardaceous or fatty infiltration of the liver, brain, and other organs appears to take place in a short time after administration of the drug, a pathological condition usually associated with other causes of an enduring nature. Rodents and other small animals do not, when killed by phosphorus, undergo the ordinary processes of putrefaction, but dry up. Whether such effects would follow with horses is not at present ascertained.