This malady is one of the most fatal that can happen in a flock ; for, as its causes have never been clearly ascertained, all the remedies hitherto employed for its removal, have uniformly failed of success.
The first symptom that indicates the presence of the rickets is, a species of giddiness, in consequence of which the sheep appears unusu-ally wild and ferocious; starting up suddenly, and running to a con-siderable distance on the. approach of any person, as if it were pursued by dogs.
In the second period, the chief characteristic is a violent and inflammatory itching in the skin; the animal rubs itself furiously against trees, hedges, and the like, so as to pull off the wool, and even to tear away the flesh: no critical discharge, or cutaneous eruption takes place, and every circumstance indicates the most violent fever.
The last stage of this malady, is the progress towards dissolution, which at length follows; and the animal, after having reeled about, lain down, and occasionally eaten a. little, falls a victim to a general consumption.
The rickets appear in the spring; and are hereditary: thus, after re-maining latent for one or two generations, they break forth with increased violence. And, as they appear suddenly, the utmost precaution of the most judicious gra-ziers cannot detect the malady ;.so that no other choice remains, but immediately to cease breeding from the infected flock.
Having already observed, that the cause of the rickets is unknown, it is to be apprehended that the aversion evinced by breeders, to make proper inquiries, will probably contribute towards perpetuating this veil of ignorance. Nevertheless, we deemed it useful to state the symptoms that indicate the disease: such of our readers, as may wish more fully to investigate this subject, may consult Mr. COMBER'S practical essay, entitled cements in Agriculture, etc. (8vo. is. 6d. 1772), in which it is amply discussed ; and an account is given of the steps that have been taken to ascertain the cause and seat of the rickets in sheep.