Rot, a very fatal disorder,which exclusively affects sheep. It is known by the dullness of the animal's eyes ; the livid hue of the gums; foulness of the teeth ; the ill scent of the breath ; and the facility with which the wool, and, in the last stage, the horns may be pulled out, or separated from their roots.
various causes have been assigned for the origin of this malady ; but the prevailing opinion appears to be, that it arises from the feeding of sheep in too moist or wet lands; though it is certain, that the dry limed land in Derby-Shire will produce the rot, as well as watery meadows and stagnant marshes. The anonymous author of the Farmer's Calendar, conjectures that it is occasioned by a peculiar species of dropsy, incident to deer, rabbits, and sheep, which, however, originates from superabundant moisture. An ingenious correspondent, in the 1st vol. of the Letters and Papers of the Bath and IVest of England Society, attributes it to the Fleukworms that breed in the livers of sheep, -w hither they are conveyed Ihrough the nostrils, while the animals are grazing. Lastly, Dr. Darwin suspects the rot to proceed from the inactivity of the absorbent vessels of the livers in sheep, so that the bile becomes too thin or diluted, especially in moist seasons.
Such diversity of opinion is not easily reconciled; but, as the general predisposing causes obviously consist in too moist food, or damp and wet situations, it follows that moisture may be considered as the principal source of the rot.
The remedies contrived for the prevention and cure of this distem-per, are as various as the conjectures respecting its origin. Mili.er recommends parsley, as being eminently serviceable.— Mr. Varlo (New System of Husbandry, vol. i.} directs one spoonful of common salt to be given once in the week, to each animal, when a " rotting season" is apprehended: and, as soon as the sheep are accustomed to it, he advises some dry salt to be laid on flat stones, in different parts of the pasture ; as they will spontaneously lick it up, without any farther trouble.—Mr. Price (in the vol. of the Letters and Papers, &:c. above quoted) recommends every farmer to-remove his sheep, in wet and warm seasons, from such lands as are liable to occasion the rot; but, if this be impracticable, he prescribes a spoonful of common salt for each, together with a similar quantity of flour, in a pint of water, once or twice in the week, by way of preventive : and, if the disorder be in an incipient state, a similar dose administered four or five successive mornings, will, in his opinion, probably effect a cure ; as the addition of the flour and water not only abates the pungency of the salt, but also disposes it to mix more gradually, though at the same time more efficaciously, with the chyle. Dr. Darwin, however, thinks ;he salt would be more serviceable, if it were combined into a ball with about sixty grains of iron tilings, by means of flour, and introduced into the sheep's throat every morning, for one week.
The following remedy we state on the authority of the Gentleman's Magazine, vol.36, for 1766:—Put a handful of rue into a pail of water, over-night ; and, in the morning, add such a proportion of salt as will make a brine sufficiently strong to support an egg. Half a pint of this liquor must be swallowed by each sheep, three times, in the course of six days: that is, every 48 hours one dose.
In October, 1794 a patent was granted to Mr. Thomas Fleet, for a medicine which is affirmed to prevent the rot in sheep, and also to check the farther progress of the disease in animals already infected ; so as to render them capable of being fattened on the same herbage which produced the distemper. His restorative consists of turpentine, Armenian bole, turme-ric, mercury, salt, sulphur, opium, alkanet-root, bark, camphor, anti-mony, and distilled water. These ingredients are to be prepared " according to chemical, and compounded according to medical art." —Although the patentee has not deemed proper to inform the public of the proportions employed in compounding these multifarious ingredients, yet it deserves to be remarked, that in such a mass of different drugs, the principal effects will be produced by a few, while the others are added only with a view to disguise those, which are more efficacious. Hence we believe, that a few grains of mu-riated quicksilver, combined with camphor, and opium, if judiciously administered, would answer a similar purpose ; but, in order to convince those readers who wish to purchase Mr. Fleet's preparation, that we are not prejudiced against Quack or Patent Medicines for Cattle, it may be useful to add, that the " Restorative for the Rot in Sheep," is prepared by W. H. Thomas, surgeon, Basingstoke, Hants ; and, we understand, is sold by him, as well as by W. Moore and Co. No. SO, Fleet-street, London, at 5s.6d. per bottle, with printed directions for its use.