The tissues and fluids of animals become very poisonous after decomposition has begun, and are sometimes extremely poisonous in character independent of decomposition, on account of disease-as in the case of death from malignant pustule, glanders, etc.

Medical students, physicians, butchers, veterinary surgeons, and hunters, are the most likely to suffer from wounds of this character. It is said that some barbarous tribes render their arrows and spear points poisonous by smearing them with the fluids of decomposing flesh. It is also claimed by eminent authorities that poisons of this character may be carried by the flesh-fly. The local symptoms of a wound of this character are those of a very painful boil.

The hands should never be exposed in dissecting a decomposing body, especially if any portion of the skin is injured by a scratch or other excoriation. "Hang-nails," or "ag-nails," on the fingers, are frequently means of inoculation in dissection. Touching all suspicious points with nitrate of silver or lunar caustic and smearing the hands with oil or vaseline, are excellent preventive measures. If an abraded surface has been accidentally exposed or a wound inflicted with an infected instrument, the parts should be at once touched with nitrate of silver or pure carbolic acid. When the first symptoms of a poisoned wound appear, as mentioned before, the boil should be freely opened, and nitric acid, pure carbolic acid, or a white hot iron should be applied. A large nail or three-cornered file heated to a white heat and applied to the diseased part is a less painful remedy than the application of caustics. If the iron is only heated to a red heat, however, the pain is very great.