This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
Women affected with mercurialism are liable to abort (Colson, Lize), yet it is equally proved that syphilitic women should be treated with medicinal doses, for in such doses mercury may save them from abortion (M. F. Weber, 1875). The influence on menstruation is not constant; generally, this will be diminished, but sometimes much increased.
Lusana found that mercurialism in fowls prevented the laying of eggs, and Gaspard, that the vapor of quicksilver prevented eggs from corning to maturity.
Small (therapeutical) doses exert no marked effect on the kidneys, but we have seen that the drug is largely eliminated by those organs. Overbeck, indeed, found leucin and results of disintegrated albumen in the urine of animals (Husemann), but E. R. Harvey, experimenting on dogs, found the quantity of urine unaffected, the phosphates always diminished, the urea not increased beyond a normal variation (British and Foreign Review, i., 18G2). Von Bock could find no definite change in the excretion of nitrogen or uric acid (1869). Bouchard reported a diminution of urea, but his patient had uraemia (1874); and more recently, Conty, after observation on twelve syphilitics, taking therapeutic doses of proto-iodide, could verify no definite alteration. During pronounced mercurialism albuminuria may occur with or without haematuria (Pavy, Overbeck, Kussmaul). After death, congestion and fatty degeneration have been found (Balogh and others); and Ollivier has pointed out the analogy between such conditions and those produced by lead.
The albuminuria does not necessarily imply altered renal structure, it may be dependent only upon general dyscrasia and loading of the blood with organic debris (Gubler), but, in severe or prolonged cases, steatosis is very probable. Bouchard has recorded two important illustrations; in one case of acute mercurialism, five days after salivation had commenced, suppression of urine occurred, and on the ninth day the patient died comatose, and a very large amount of urea was found in the blood, almost proving that uraemia was the cause of death. We have not details of the second case, but in both the Malpighian bodies were found to contain, or to be changed into, mineral matter, proved to be carbonate of lime (Hallopeau, p. 113). This condition is very interesting when compared with Salkowski's results in rabbits; he injected fractional doses of sublimate, of iodide, and of calomel, and after death, found constantly lime and soda deposits in the Malpighian bodies; the urine became pale and contained sugar. Cornil also found calcareous deposits, and Kletzinski reported diabetes.