Australian enquiry book of household and general information/Doctoring Stock


THE first symptoms of an unhealthy condition will be found in the breathing and the pulse, therefore these are the first that should be noticed and attended to. When in health a horse will heave the chest from nine to twelve times in a minute, and an ox from eleven to fifteen.

Failure of appetite, though one of the surest indications of ill health, is not always one of the first. The feel and appearance of the skin and hair, and the heat of the body, must all be taken into consideration, and often the different positions assumed by the animal are a guide.

A person who handles cattle a good deal will very often tell the state of their health from feeling the skin on the inside of the ears, the legs, at the flank and other parts of the body. The blood of all domestic animals in health is uniformly at 98 degrees, a variation of this is a sure sign of illness.

When in health all domestic and farm animals are quiet (and if properly fed), contented and happy, sleeping after their food or lying down quietly. But when ill they invariably move about, are restless, uncomfortable and keep changing their position—a sure sign of pain or uneasiness somewhere. In health the muzzle of cattle is moist, or, what farmers call “dewy,” but when ill it is dry, and either very hot or very cold. In health, a dog’s nose is cold and moist, also a cat’s. You can tell by the feel of a cat’s fur when she is ill or out of health; it will be hard and rough instead of soft and smooth.


In the Horse.—On the cord which runs across the bone of the lower jaw in front of the curved portion; or, on the bony ridge which extends upward from the eye; on inside the elbow. In perfect health there should be forty beats per minute, but close, hot stables, or the result of heavy feeding will cause some variation in the beating of the horse’s pulse.

In Cattle.—The pulse is most easily found over the middle of the first rib, or on the artery passing over the ankle joint, and the beats are from 52 to 55 per minute in health.

In Sheep.—The best place is in the middle of the inside of the thigh, and the number of beats in health, from 75 to 80.

The Pig is the same.


Mix together 1 pint of linseed oil, and 2 ozs. of turpentine, and give on an empty stomach. This will also improve the horse’s coat greatly.

Another remedy is to give for about ten days, 2 drams of powdered sulphate of iron mixed in with his food night and morning. Then give one pint of cold drawn linseed oil.


Very often both sheep and cattle eat too geeedily of trefoil, or the common clover, when they can get it, and as a result they swell up to a dreadful size, and, indeed, in many instances, I have known of them bursting.

The best thing to give when you notice them swelled and in great pain is: Epsom salts, 1 lb.; ground ginger, ½ oz.; carbonate of ammonia, 1 dram. Mix in a quart of cold water, and give a dose to each animal affected. In very bad cases there is a way of pricking the paunch and so letting out the gas, but it requires to be seen before one could learn to do it, though when a beast is very bad one might try to relieve its sufferings, as it will only die, whether or no.


The symptoms are wasting and general lowness of condition. Fast the horse for a few hours, then give a powder as follows: Tartar emetic, 40 grains, and calomel, 30 grains. Repeat in twelve hours, and in another twelve hours give a dose of physic.


Mix equal parts of olive oil, turpentine, solution of ammonia and water in a bottle. Shake well, and rub in to the affected part. It can be made stronger by adding more turpentine and ammonia.


Grind some glass as fine as F.F.F. powder, or even finer; then make a tube of a piece of writing paper about the size of a common clay pipe, then blow in as much powder as will lie on sixpence, once a day until the scum disappears.


The Government of one of our Colonies promulgated this remedy for tape and stomach worms in sheep, officially, I believe: To 10 gallons of water add 3 lbs. of washing soda and 1 lb. 6 ozs. of arsenic. Mix these ingredients together and boil slowly for forty minutes, or until the arsenic is thoroughly dissolved; then add water to the mixture to make it up to 32 gallons for full grown sheep, or 44 gallons for lambs. The dose is two tablespoonsful each for both sheep and lambs, and care must be taken to keep the mixture well shaken up, and not to give the residium of the bottom, or it will poison the one to which it is administered.


If the lambs are very bad, separate them from their mothers over night and give fasting next morning about half a fluid ounce of the following mixture:—Equal parts of turpentine, tincture of assafœtida, and linseed oil. Mix it with thin gruel and it will be no trouble to give.

Another treatment is to shut the lambs up during the day for five or six hours, and then drench each with turpentine 1 dr., powdered areca nut 1 scruple, liquid extract of male fern 15 minims, and linseed oil 1 oz. Mix, and give in a little gruel, and keep the lambs without food for an hour or two afterwards. This dose may need to be repeated once a week, for three or four weeks, according to the disease. While treating them it is as well to give to each lamb 1 scruple of sulphate of iron daily in some dry food. On stud farms, where valuable sheep and lambs are reared, it is as well to collect and burn all the excreta likely to contain eggs or segments, and also to have the sheep dipped regularly to keep them free from vermin, as some authorities assert that there is a close connection between the louse or tick that infest sheep, and the tape worm, just as there is between the dog louse, and the tape worm of the dog. A very good plan is to salt the run where tape worm is suspected. Enough mixture should be made to drench all the lambs affected, as well as sufficient to give the dose three times, on alternate days. Shake the bottle well each time, and in the case of weakly or small lambs, moderate the dose. Be sure to collect and burn all droppings, as it is perfectly wonderful what these low forms of life will survive. Free access to rock salt should be allowed to all sheep, and the sowing of salt over the runs will often kill larval forms, and also segments of worms and their eggs. To understand even in the smallest degree these low forms of life, one must study them under a strong microscope. It is hard to believe that even the smallest segment of the worm has the power of reproduction, but one can believe it after examining the creature under a powerful glass.


Soap 2 lbs., whiting from 5 to 6 lbs. Shred the soap and melt it over a gentle fire, stir in the whiting, and boil the two together, then add about 3 ozs. of chloride of lime, and when cold, 1 oz. tincture of musk. This is much safer to handle than the peparations of arsenic and arsenical soap so much used among the shepherds and station hands, and to which may often be traced illnesses from arsenical poisoning through sores, cuts, &c., &c., on the hands.


Mix equal quantities of olive oil and precipitated sulphur. Wash the dog well before applying, then smear the mixture all over the affected parts, and wash off in about three days and apply again. I have seen the common gum leaves very effective in this disease. Gather a quantity of the young leaves, make a strong decoction from them, and wash or dip the animal in it when cold or cool. Dip him several times, or till the dog shows signs of recovery. It is as well to give some sulphur internally also, either in the water or in a pill.


It is the greatest mistake to whip or ill-use a horse that jibs, balks, or is sulky. One only loses valuable time and temper that is more valuable by so doing. Now, we know that the brute creation are capable of but one idea at a time, therefore, when a horse jibs he has that one notion fixed in his mind, and until that is changed he will do nothing else. It is not that he will not but that he can not. It is very easy to change his mind, or rather to put the one (1) idea out and another in its place by unharnessing him, or merely taking him out of the shafts and walking him up and down for a few minutes, then put him in again. If you do not want the trouble of this, give him a few mouthfuls of food, or tie a handkerchief over his eyes for a few minutes, and tie his tail up. Offer him a drink, pet and talk to him, in fact, do anything to take his mind off jibbing, or whatever his fault is at the moment. Whipping and swearing will do no good, while gentleness and kindness are sure to.


The following recipe was sent me by one who says he has seen it used in South America. As I have no means of testing it I merely give it for what it is worth:—

Take some finely grated horse castor oils, rhodium and cummin, keep these in separate bottles well corked. Rub some of the cummin on your hand and approach the horse on the windy side. When he comes up to you, as he will, rub a little on his nose and offer him some of the castor, and while doing so try to get a few drops of the oil of rodium into his mouth, you can then get him to do anything you like. Kindness and attention will do the rest. With regard to the above as I mention, it has been sent to me for insertion in this book. My reason for including it among all these tried recipes is that I know for a fact that many tiger tamers, snake charmers, &c., &c., do use these oils for the purpose of taming, and also calming their charges when frightened or excited. I have seen something of the kind (the man would not tell me what, though I feel certain it was one of these oils) used upon snakes brought straight from the bush, and which perfectly tamed them, so I argue that it may be the same with horses.


Horses that have plenty of fast and laborious work should be given as much food as they will eat with an appetite at each meal, and hard food in a condensed form is best, and given at regular times. Idle horses, or those not doing hard work, should not be given so much each feed. Increase the supply of hay, and give bran mashes and green food only occasionally. If turned on to the grass at once from regular food they will fall away, and it will take a long time to get their condition up again when required.

Always make the horse's food a little damp, to prevent the dust getting into his nose, eyes, &c., &c.

For horses that roar or are short-winded, give two to three tablespoonsful of cold drawn linseed oil in the food every night for a fortnight.


When a horse has been ridden or driven hard he should not be fed at once, but he can be allowed a few swallows of water (not a long drink). If obliged to be fed at once, as in case of continuing a long journey, allow him only two to three quarts of water but if he can stand half an hour first, then let him have as much as he likes, but never give a horse a long drink directly before feeding him, as it is apt to weaken his digestive powers and perhaps cause indigestion. A horse should be fed regularly and not be disturbed at his meal. As a rule, if allowed to enjoy his meal without being interrupted, the horse will lie down and rest quietly for a time afterwards. Old horses, and those that are put to very hard work, should always have food that is easily digested. Oats are the best grain food for horses, though nearly every man feeds on maize in the colonies. Oats with bran and a sufficient quantity of hay or good chaff is the best food you can give to a horse in regular work. Carrots are a favourite food for horses in some countries, they are an excellent thing for winning a horse's heart or taming him. Give him a carrot whenever you go into his paddock, and he will soon learn to run to you. An ordinary feed for a horse that works regularly every day, and if fed regularly three times, is about 2 pints oats, 3 pints bran, and about twice that amount of chaff, all mixed together. If he gets this three times a day, and has a good paddock to run in at night, he ought to do very well indeed.

For a thoroughbred colt allow per day 2 pints oats, 2 quarts bran, and a little linseed meal if it is obtainable—to improve his coat. This can be divided into two feeds, say night and morning, so he will have some inducement to come up to the stable regularly. When he is eight or nine months old, his allowance can be increased.

During sickness, carrots are very good for horses, acting slightly upon the kidneys and bowels. I have known a long-standing and obstinate cough cured by carrots; it was a lady's horse, and she gave him a small bunch of carrots regularly every evening ostensibly to improve his coat, but it really cured the cough after a short time.

Australian Equiry Book of Household and General Information 1894 page 273.png