This section is from the book "The Farmers Ready Reference Or Hand Book Of Diseases Of Horses And Cattle", by S. C. Orr. . Also available from Amazon: The Farmer's Ready Reference;.
This disease is not very common in this country, but may occur under any conditions - either in the stable or in the field. It is probably due to some parasitic vegetation which is taken into the stomach with the food. It is neither contagious nor infectious, but a number of animals may take it from the same cause, thus giving the idea of contagion.
Symptoms. - There is loss of appetite, tremors, spasms, twitching of the muscles, and sometimes after reeling about for a while the animal goes down paralyzed, especially in the hind parts. Sometimes the muscles of the throat are paralyzed and the animal cannot swallow. The pupil of the eye is generally dilated and the horse may become unconscious.
Treatment. - If there is complete paralysis, or the animal is unconscious, treatment is almost useless; and it is difficult for the novice to treat in any case. Place wet cloths, or ice packs, over the brain and along the spine to relieve the congestion. If the animal can swallow give one ounce of aloes, then give four-drachm doses of bromide of potassium three times a day. Some practitioners are in favor of putting the patient in slings at once, and, although this is best with some horses, there are others so nervous they will not bear it.