Areca Nut, Male Fern, Powdered Glass, Kousso, Santonin, Antimony,
A consideration of the structure of the stomach and the process of digestion as carried on in it by means of the gastric juice and its constituents, aided by the mechanical movements and temperature of the viscus, controlled by nervous forces, will enable the reader to understand that drugs may be administered which, by their stimulating, or slightly irritating, effect upon the lining membrane, cause a determination of blood to the part, and consequently increase the production of gastric fluid, or cause an increase in the strength of the muscular contractions of the walls of the stomach, and a more active movement of the food contained in it. There may be sufficient, nay excessive, quantity of gastric juice produced, but it may be deficient either in pepsin or hydrochloric acid. If a general state of debility indicates such deficiency as the cause of indigestion, medicines are given with the object of supplying the want of the one or the other, until Nature again succeeds in secreting the desired quality or quantity. Stomachic stimulants are agents which have been found by experience to rouse the stomach from a state of torpor to greater activity, enabling it to perform its functions more rapidly and completely. The opposite condition of morbid irritability may be the cause of trouble, when the horse refuses to eat and eructations are observed; animals like the dog, in whom vomition is easily excited and performed, return the food almost immediately. In such irritable states of the stomach, gastric sedatives are desirable, as they reduce the irritability, and give rest to the glands whose office it is to secrete the juice.
Carminatives or Ant-Acids are those remedies which are employed to correct acidity of the stomach, a form of indigestion which is often persistent, causing pain and discomfort, which is more or less relieved by eructations from the mouth and the passage of gases from the bowel. Chronic "wind-suckers" often suffer in this way.
Bitter Tonics, by their action on the stomach, increase the flow of gastric juice and excite the nerves which regulate the muscular movements; the appetite is thus increased as well as the power of digestion. The bitter vegetable drugs most generally employed for horses are gentian, calumba, quassia, hops, chamomile, and cinchona. They may be given in the form of powder mixed in the food, previously damped, and to which a little table salt has been added. Most horses will take bitter drugs in this way, and if one refuses, he may be made to take them in the form of a ball, or a draught may be made of the infusion or extract. Some of these remedies have excellent effects in small doses, but prove hurtful if habitually used over long periods.
Calumba Root is one of our most valued drugs in flatulent forms of dyspepsia with loss of appetite. It is more likely to be refused in the food than some of the other bitters, and gives better results when used in the form of infusion and prescribed in conjunction with nux vomica and mineral acids. In the acid forms of stomach trouble it is combined with bicarbonate of soda with good results. The infusion must not be made with hot water, on account of the starch contained in the root, and must be quite fresh, as it is prone to rapid decomposition; but a tincture may be prepared which will keep indefinitely.
Cascarilla Bark and infusion or extract of Chamomile Flowers have the same effect as the remedies previously mentioned; but it is found that some individuals will not tolerate one kind of bitter, while they may derive much advantage from another - hence the desirability of considering a variety of tonics of this class.
Gentian Root is the favourite par excellence in veterinary practice, and appears to be beneficial where a stomach tonic is indicated. Most horses will take the ground root in their food, and it may be variously combined with the bicarbonates of soda and potash. It may be given as a recently made infusion, or the extract dissolved in water, or incorporated in a bolus.