Strains, in farriery, denote such accidental injuries as sometimes happen to horses, by a violent and unnatural distension or stretching of their muscles or tendons ; in consequence of which, the animals suffer great pain, and are generally lamed.
The treatment of this affection must be regulated according to the situation of the injured parts. Thus, if the ligaments, that connect the thigh, or other bones, be strained, it will be advisable to turn the horse into a good pasture ; as the richness of the food will prevent his health from becoming impaired ; and the gentle exercise in the field will preserve the joints from stiffness and rigidity.
Where the shoulder has thus been hurt, the horse will not put the strained leg forward in the same manner as that which is sound ; and, in trotting, describes a circle with the former, instead of a straight line: the lame leg likewise projects beyond the other. If such strain be accompanied with inflammation, bleeding will become necessary; after which the part affected must be well bathed three times every day with hot vinegar, or verjuice in which soap has been dissolved. But, in case no swelling appear, the animal ought to rest for two or three days, and the muscles should be rubbed with opodeldoc, or with a mixture of camphorated spirit of wine; and oil of turpentine, in the proportion of two parts of the former to one of the latter.
Poultices, consisting of oatmeal, rye -flour, or bran boiled in vinegar or wine-less, together with a sufficient portion of hog's-lard, to render them soft, will be of great service, if timely applied ; and, when the inflammation subsides, the strained parts may be bathed with either of the liniments before specified, till the perfect use of the limb be restored.
The pasterns, and knees, are liable to strains, chiefly in consequence of blows, or similar ill usage : if they be much swelled, a poultice may be applied, and the parts treated in the same manner as the shoulder; or, they may be bathed with a liquor compounded of one pint of vinegar, four ounces of camphorated spirit of wine, and two drams of white vitriol, previously dissolved in a little water. As these parts are generally subject to great weakness, after violent strains, the horse should be sent to a level pasture, which will greatly promote his recovery.
The last case deserving notice, is that of strains in the hock. These must be bathed in cooling and corroborant liquids; but, if the ligaments be injured, it will be proper to foment them with woollen cloths, dipped in a hot mixture of verjuice and spirit of wine, to which a small quantity of crude sal ammoniac may be added. - Lastly, if any internal callosities remain, it will be advisable to fire the joint carefully with razes, or lines set closely together ; after which a mercurial plaster should be applied ; but, in case such concre-appear externally, they may be removed by the repeated use of the blistering plaster, the composition of which has been specified under the article Bone-spavin} omitting, however, the sublimate, on account of its corrosive nature.