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;.
Erysipelas is a febrile disease in which the skin, and often the tissues underlying it, become swollen, hot and painful. It is of two forms: The simple or superficial form, rarely seen in the horse, and the phlegmonous or deep form. It is due to some poisonous germ which gets into the blood, often through a wound.
Symptoms. - In the simple form there will be swelling and the formation of small blisters on the skin. In the phlegmonous form there may be a wound that has not been doing well for a day or two when suddenly it begins to swell and becomes hot; it is painful to the touch and the sore gives forth a dark, watery discharge instead of pus, and there is a smell as of burnt leather; there is a crackling sound as you rub your hand over the skin, owing to the air underneath. The temperature will be elevated; the pulse will be quick and hard; the horse will show signs of great pain and have an anxious expression about the eyes.
Treatment. - In the simple form give a teaspoonful of nitrate of potash in feed three times a day, and keep the swelling wet with the following: Sugar of lead, two ounces; sulphate of zinc, one ounce; water, one quart. In the phlegmonous form an ounce of aloes should be given at the start, and in addition to the potash, stimulants, as nitre or whisky, should be given. This form is generally fatal. It should be handled with care, as it is contagious to both man and beast.