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 is a peculiar disease which sometimes affects horses in Kansas and other corn-growing states. The cause is not thoroughly understood. In my own practice I have found it only where horses were allowed to feed upon worm-eaten and mouldy corn.
Symptoms. - The premonitory symptoms are not always well marked. Sometimes the animal will appear dull and listless for several hours prior to becoming delirious; while in other cases the first symptoms noticed will be those of delirium. The animal will plunge about in a reckless manner, running against fences, walls, or whatever may be in the way. In some in stances the animal falls and dies suddenly; but it generally becomes unable to rise and lies upon the ground struggling for several hours before it expirés.
Treatment. - After the animal becomes unmanageable it is not only dangerous but useless to attempt treatment, as disintegration of the brain tissue has begun and a cure is impossible. If noticed while yet under control a large dose of aloes - from eight to twelve drachms - should be given at once. A dose composed of half an ounce of chloral hydrate and two drachms of bromide of potassium should be given, dissolved in water, every hour until four doses have been given, unless the patient becomes quiet before. If the disease can be held in check until the physic operates there is a prospect of recovery. Plenty of cool water should be kept within reach at all times.
In all such diseases as colic, indigestion, etc., where the digestive organs have been overtaxed, all grain should be withheld for from twelve to twenty-four hours, and then it should be fed sparingly for a few days. A fair allowance of good hay can be given, and in all diseases except diarrhoea and dysentery, pure, cool (not ice) water should be kept where the animal can get it at will, and be changed often to keep it fresh and clean.