This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
The Glanders is a disease of the horse tribe, communicable to man and other animals. It is chiefly manifested by unhealthy suppuration of the mucous membrane of the nasal cavities, and pustular eruptions on the skin, and unhealthy abscesses in the lymphatic system.
It may occur in two forms which, however, are merely manifestations of the same disease in different parts. When seated in the lymphatic system it is called Farcy, when in the nasal cavities, Glanders. But these two forms are essentially identical; the pus of either of them will reproduce the other; and Farcy always terminates in Glanders, if the animal lives long enough, and its progress is not arrested.
This disease may appear either as Glanders or Farcy; either of which may be acute or chronic.
The Acute Glanders begins with all the symptoms that indicate the absorption of a putrid poison. There are general feelings of indisposition, lowness of spirits, and wandering pains; followed by fever, furred tongue, great thirst, profuse perspirations at night, great pain in the head, back, and limbs, and tightness of the chest. After some days those symptoms increase; there are severe rigors and delirium, often of a phrenitic character; the perspirations become more profuse, and sour and offensive, and are attended with diarrhoea of a similar character. Then diffused abscesses appear in the form of red swellings about the joints, especially the knees and elbows-the patient complains of heat and soreness in the throat; the tongue becomes dry and brown, the respiration more oppressed, and the fever assumes a decidedly-low, malignant character. Next, (perhaps a fortnight from the commencement of the illness, sooner or later in different cases), a dusky shining swelling appears on the face, especially on one side, extends over the scalp, and closes the eyes. Then the characteristic features of the disease appear;-an offensive, viscid, yellowish discharge, streaked with blood, issues from the nostrils; and a crop of large and remarkably hard pustules (compared by some to those of the small-pox, and said by others to be about the size of a pea), appear on the face. In the meanwhile the swelling and inflammation increase;-a portion of the nose or eyelids mortifies; -the discharge becomes more and more profuse and offensive;-the pustules spread, and extend over the neck and body; fresh abscesses form and suppurate; the thirst is most excruciating; and low muttering delirium and tremors usher in death, much to be wished for.
The Chronic Glanders is characterised by a viscid and peculiarly foetid discharge from one nostril, with pain and swelling of the nose and eyes;-and emaciation, profuse perspirations, and abscesses near the joints, from which the patient slowly sinks.
In the Acute Farcy, the patient receives the poison through a wound or abrasion, which inflames violently, together with the lymphatics leading from it. These symptoms are attended with considerable fever, and are generally soon followed by the diffused abscesses, pustular eruption, and nasal discharge, that characterise Acute Glanders.
In the Chronic Farcy, a wound poisoned by glanderous matter degenerates into a foul ulcer; the lymphatic vessels and glands swell and suppurate; abscesses form in different parts of the body; and if the disease is not cured, or does not destroy the patient first, it terminates in Acute Glanders.
In the horse this disease may, without doubt, arise spontaneously, when the animal is subjected to the usual influences that generate putrid poisons;-namely, insufficient and unwholesome food, and close confinement, and ill ventilation, especially on board ship. Mr. Youatt believes that it may arise if the animal is kept in a poor state of health, as the climax of constitutional weakness and derangement. In man it is generally produced through inoculation of the matter into a wound. Whether it can be contracted by infection through the miasmata arising from it, without actual contact of the matter, is not yet quite decided. There are, however, some grounds for believing that this disease (like others of a similar character) is occasionally propagated by infection in the horse; and that the effluvia are capable of communicating some form of malignant fever, although not true Glanders, to the human subject. But the matter from the abscesses or nasal cavaties of human beings is capable of communicating the disease both to men and animals. A man died of Glanders in St. Bartholemew's Hospital, in 1840, and the nurse who attended him inoculated her hand, and died of it also in a very few days; and two kittens which were inoculated from the nurse, became affected likewise. Moreover, the blood of a gland-ered horse injected into the veins of a healthy one, communicated the disease, although no abnormal appearance could be detected in it by the microscope. The time at which the disease appears after inoculation varies from three days to a month.
This in the acute disease is highly unfavourable; the chronic, however, is sometimes, although rarely, recovered from.
The chief points to be attended to in the treatment of Glanders are, to open all abscesses as soon as they form; to syringe the nasal cavities with solution of creosote; and to support the strength and abate the thirst with wine and soda water. Injections of creosote have cured both the Acute and the Chronic Glanders; but almost any other treatment that can be named has been found of no service. Depletion is inadmissible. The effluvia must be counteracted by fumigations of chlorine and aromatics. In the treatment of Farcy likewise, the chief points are to open all abscesses early and support the strength. Any swollen gland* should be extirpated.