On resuming yesterday, under the presidency of Mr. R. W. Dawson, of Goulburn, the Institute of Stock Inspectors of New South Wales devoted the whole of the morning session to business matters. The reports and balance sheets for the past two years were discussed, and adopted, and fair progress was made with a long list of conference resolutions.
In the afternoon Mr. R. Stewart B.V. Sc., delivered a comprehensive lecture on "Black-leg," which was for many years considered identical with anthrax, but which exhaustive research has now shown to be due to a different organism. The disease occurs in mountainous regions, valleys, and swamps, usually in autumn, winter, and spring, and at times causes serious losses. It is mainly confined to cattle, but occasionally sheep and pigs fall victims to it. The symptoms are not always definite, inasmuch as some other diseases present somewhat similar features.
The lecturer quoted the figures of one observer, which showed that 60 per cent. of the 614 cases under notice occurred between the ages of nine months and two years; 25 per cent. between three months and nine months, and 15 per cent between two years and 4 years.
In his opinion the disease was contracted by the animal obtaining the organism with its food, and probably only a small proportion of the animals which thus absorbed the bacillus contracted the complaint. Curative treatment was rarely effective but immunisation by inoculation was, in a large number of cases, successful.
The lecturer illustrated his remarks with a large number of laboratory specimens, and exhibited many of the syringes, needles, and serums used in connection with the treatment.
A subject of extreme importance at a time of acute food shortage, was dealt with by Mr. J. F. McEachran, M.R.C.V.S., in "Dietetic Diseases of Stock:." Horses, he said, were particularly susceptible to digestive derangement, and much of this could be avoided by regular feeding, providing a balanced ration, and not taxing the digestion of the animal. Horses should be watered four times daily, and his own view was that this was better done before feeding. Diet should be reduced while the animal was at rest, and this should be supplemented by regular exercise. The causes, symptoms, and probable treatment of the various types of colic, and of forage poisoning, were discussed, and these, it was stated, in most cases, could easily be prevented. Dietetic diseases in cattle and sheep were inevitable accompaniments of drought conditions, and were thus largely unavoidable. The well-known impaction of the third stomach, or "dry bible," was chiefly due to dry, indigestible food, and lack of water. Reference was made to the need for investigating the results of stock feeding on many plants suspected of being poisonous, and of further research Into the question or deficiency diseases due to the absence of vitamines in the feed.
Mr. McEachran subsequently gave a practical demonstration on "The Soundness of a Horse," in the Botanic Gardens.