The second stage of the distemper is a yellowish-white spot, that appears in the cleft of the hoof, spreads gradually, and becomes livid ; destroying the hair, which in sound animals covers the foot. At this period, the diseased part acquires a disagreeable smell, and the lameness increases.
In the third stage, the malady sinks into the frog of the foot; the shell of the hoof loosens, and the frog is filled with fetid matter, that oozes out when pressed by the hand: a small tumor sometimes breaks out in the front of the leg, about one inch above the hoof, which, however, is easily dispersed.
In the last stage, the foot is so completely mortified by the cancerous humour corroding every part of it, as to become incurable; in which case, the skin is the only valuable part of the animal.
Through these different periods, the sheep affected retain their appetite, and feed apparently as well as when in health; but they very soon fall away, and continue to decline, till they have lost all their fat. - Notwithstanding their rapid decay, at the end of the second and the commencement of the third stage, they are so eager for food, that they even crawl on their knees for sustenance.
For the cure of this infectious disorder, different remedies have been prescribed; from which we select the following : the first was invented by the late Mr. Bake-well, the other by Mr. GeoRge Culley, of Fenton, Nordhum-berland.
1. Take 3 oz. of Verdigrease; of vitriol, and common alum, 4oz. each; white mercury l1/2oz. and white copperas 1 oz. The whole is to be finely pulverized, and dissolved in a quart of white-wine vinegar.
2. Let 4oz. of the best honey; 2oz. of burnt alum reduced to powder, and 1/2 lb. of pulverized Armenian bole, be mixed in as much train or fish oil as will convert these ingredients into the consistence of salve : the honey ought first to be gradually dissolved, when the Armenian bole should be properly stirred in, after which the alum and train oil are to be added.
The parts affected maybe rubbed with either of these compositions ; unless the distemper has become incurable; but. in the opinion of Mr. Arthur Young (from the 21st vol. of whose Annals we have abstracted these recipes), the red salve of Mr. Culley, is more efficacious than Mr. Bakewell's liquid, having cured one or two diseased feet, where the latter had failed : yet Mr. Y. always employs the liquid, previously to anointing the animals with the salve.
This malady, in general, arises from long grass in wet seasons; but, if sheep be suffered to lie upon their own dung, a fermentation will take place, and occasion cither the foot-rot, or the foot-halt : to prevent which fatal disorders, those animals should be well littered, and kept with a strict at-tention to cleanliness.