The research which furnished these results was primarily an experimental research on gout (Preliminary Note). It consisted in feeding a number of fowls on a diet strictly limited to raw lean meat with a liberal supply of water. Under this regime the animals succumbed at periods varying from three to sixteen months, the terminal symptoms being usually of a paralytic character. All the animals with one exception (No. 4) showed very pronounced disturbance of the cutaneous system, ruffling and loss of feathers, in the course of the experiment. My attention was incidentally directed to an examination of the thyroid and parathyroid glands in the last four cases of the series.
In two cases, Nos. 1 (cock) and 2 (hen), after sixteen and fourteen months' meat diet respectively, the parathyroid glands were enormously enlarged, and appeared as large globular masses. The weight of one gland from each case was .095 gramme and •10 gramme respectively. On microscopic examination these masses showed the normal structure of the parathyroid gland. In No. 3 (cock), after fourteen months' meat dietary, the gland was also much enlarged, but less than in the preceding cases. Its structure was normal. In the remaining animal, No. 4 (hen), after fourteen months' meat dietary, the parathyroid glands were not visible.
In Nos. 1 and 2 the thyroid glands were much enlarged, being eight times heavier than normal, the weights being 1.25 and 1.15 grammes respectively. (The average weight of six glands from healthy fowls was .14 gramme.) Microscopically these glands presented the appearance of normal thyroid tissue, the size of the spaces being, however, in parts larger than usual. In No. 3 the thyroid gland was enormously increased, one gland weighing 9.5 grammes, the other 3.5 grammes; both lobes showed haemorrhages, more especially the larger gland. In No. 4 the thyroid was not enlarged; microscopically the gland appeared normal. This animal had been less affected by the diet than any of its companions. It had steadily gained in weight in place of losing as the other animals had done. The terminal symptoms were strikingly different from the other cases, being similar to those produced by strychnine poisoning. The liver, was studded with small caseous nodules, varying in size from the head of a pin to a pea. Bacteriological examination proved their tuberculous nature.
1 Chalmers Watson, Journal of Physiology,vol.xxxi,1904.