Horse life is frequently saved by the timely use of slings. These differ in construction, and are often extemporized out of very crude appliances. Country veterinary surgeons, accustomed to all sorts of shifts and expedients, will make a farm cart or a pair of wagon shafts serve the purpose in the absence of more suitable means. The improved slings (Plate L), by their great strength and the endless chain and pulley, make it possible to raise a heavy horse from the ground with the assistance of but few men, while the old-fashioned ropes and pulleys need much more power. The method of adjustment, presuming that the patient is down, is to get the middle piece or suspender first under the body. To accomplish this, one or two men will elevate the head and neck, while two others are employed in passing the suspender as far as possible under the shoulder. The fore limbs are now raised by means of a cord applied to the under one, and while in this position the sling is forcibly drawn in a backward direction towards the middle of the body. The pulleys are now hooked on to the suspender, and the body being slightly eased off the ground, the breastplate and breechings are buckled on by raising the legs in the manner above described.
Fig. 452. - Neck Cradle.
PLATE XLIX. SIMPLE SLINGS.
Horses in slings require constant vigilance to prevent undue pressure and the production of sores on particular parts of the body with which they are brought into contact. A careful survey of the apparatus should be made two or three times a day, and, if necessary, a hole or two should be let out here, and one taken up there, so as to distribute the weight as equally as possible. If the animal, owing to the nature of his injuries or from other causes, persist in resting heavily upon one particular portion, that part should be padded or stuffed with hay, or a sheep-skin or pieces of rug may be interposed between the body and the suspender; but hay will, as a rule, be found the best stuffing, since it permits of more or less circulation of air.