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;.
I do not remember of ever having seen this subject mentioned in any work on veterinary science. The only literature I ever saw touching the subject was a short account of the treatment of the stallion, Pancoast, by Professor Liautard of the American Veterinary College of New York. Although lightning generally kills outright, yet it sometimes happens that the shock is light and the animal may recover, as I have had occasion to know from experience. As the shock is often received when no one is with the animal to see it, you have only the peculiar symptoms, exhibited soon after a storm, upon which to base your diagnosis.
Symptoms. - The animal will generally be found lying down or plunging about in the attempt to get upon its feet, although I saw one case of a mare that received a shock sometime in the night and did not become unable to walk until noon the next day. At first there will be tremors and sharp twitching of the muscles; the eyes will have a dazed appearance; the animal will plunge about and try to get upon its feet; if it succeeds it will walk with a staggering gait, unable to control its movements. After a few hours the twitchings cease and paralysis, either partial or complete, supervenes.
Treatment - A moderate dose of Barbadoes aloes should be given at once to prevent constipation. If there is twitching of the muscles give two to four drachms each of chloral hydrate and bromide of potassium every four hours till the twitchings cease, then change and give one drachm of powdered nux vomica twice a day. If no improvement is noticed after three days increase the dose of nux vomica to one and one-half drachms. Make a liniment of equal parts of raw oil, turpentine and ammonia and rub in well all along the spine twice a day. Feed upon soft food that is easily digested; give plenty of water to drink and keep well bedded to prevent sores, and turn from side to side several times a day.