Horn-Distemper, a disorder incident to horned cattle: it gradually wastes the internal sub-stance of the horn, commonly called the pith, which is the spongy part of the bone, and the cells of which are filled with an oily matter. Thus, at length, the horn becomes hollow.
From an account published by Dr. Tofts, in the 1st vol. of the Memoirs of the American Academy, it appears that this spongy bone is sometimes partially, and sometimes entirely, consumed. The horn is deprived of its natural heat, and on touching it, feels unusually cold. When this malady is sus-pected, other symptoms should be particularly attended to ; such as dullness in the countenance; a sluggish motion ; want of appetite; a desire to lie down; and, if attended with an inflammation of the brain, a giddiness, and frequent tossing of the head. Stiffness, as in the rheumatism, affects the limbs ; the milk often fails in cows; the udder is hard, and there is in most cases a sudden wasting of the Hesh.
As soon as the distemper is discovered, an opening should be made in the diseased horn, with a gimlet of a moderate size, two or three inches above the head. If it be found hollow, and the gimlet pass through without any discharge of blood from the aperture, it will be advisable to bore lower, and as near to the head as the hollowness may probably extend. This aperture is asserted to be a necessary operation, and frequently affords speedy relief. It should, however, be carefully kept open, as it is liable to be filled up by a thin fluid that gradually oozes out, and ob-structs the passage. Sawing off the horn has sometimes been adopted ; but, from the best observations, boring is a preferable expedient. Dr. Tofts supposes injections to be useless; as nothing more is required than to perforate the horn in an early stage of the distemper; and to keep it open, in order to admit fresh air, to prevent compression, and to promote the discharge of fluctuating matter. Should, however, the distemper have affected the brain, so as to produce a high degree of inflammation, no method of cure is likely to succeed ; and the animal ought to be killed without farther delay ; as otherwise its flesh would become useless.