As a fitting finale to their annual conference, members of the Institute of Stock Inspectors of New South Wales visited the Veterinary Research Station at Glenfield yesterday. The day was filled in with demonstrations, lectures, and post mortems, the principal, Dr. Seddon, being both instructor and chief operator. He welcomed the party on its arrival and indicated the nature of the day's programme. A walk round the station buildings followed, with explanations of the uses to which the station is put. The institution has an area of 130 acres. Of that about 60 acres has been cleared, and the greater portion of that cultivated to provide fodder for the stock kept on the ground. Adjoining the station are the buildings in course of erection for the new Hurlstone Agricultural High School
Several experiments are being carried out at Glenfield—one of great interest and in a new direction. Station owners in the western district whose water supplies are derived from bores asked for information as to the maximum quantity of salt in the drinking water on which sheep will thrive. No data were available, and a test was decided on. Several sheep were sent down, and the water —derivedd from the city supply—impregnated with salt in varying quantities, one pen of sheep being kept as a control, and given city water. These tests are still in progress, and the quantity of salt mixed with the water has gradually been increased, until at present it is in excess of the percentage found naturally in the blood. The sheep are still thriving, and the experiment will continue for some time, to show the effect of the use of the water for a prolonged period.
The visitors were also shown the isolation pens or wards for testing diseases, such as anthrax and others of like virulence. There are at present four of these wards, fine, roomy ones, with the windows covered with double gauze, to ensure that flies cannot gain access All the drainage from the enclosures is run direct into a watertight tank, and the sludge therefrom taken to an incinerator, where every particle of it is destroyed by fire. The bodies of dead animals are also incinerated. A large furnace is built below the mortuary chamber, into which the dead animals are placed— a horse can he deposited in it without any preliminary cutting up—and the flame from the furnace is led into tho chamber, and in the end nothing but the ash is left. The fumes from the chamber are also led through fire and consumed.
For experimental purposes there are enclosure of rabbits and guinea-pigs, each in its respective location; there are also rooms for fodders and other requisites, and a laboratory equipped with most of the requirements of such a building, including a micro-photographic camera, sterilising apparatus, a card index for specimens, and a library, as well as case after case of specimens.
One of the uses of the institution is the determining of diseases from which suspected animals are suffering. A beast arrived by rail while the party was at the station; it was suspected of actinomycosls, as it had the outward appearances of that disease. The stock inspectors were allowed to examine it to diagnose the disease. It was found that the beast had been a bone chewer, and a piece had lodged in the mouth, causing the swelling.
An exhibit in which the company took interest was a horse afflicted with a bad stringhalt. It came from Dungog more than a year ago. Experiments had been made on previous animals to determine whether the disease is due to nervous trouble, but without result, and Dr. Seddon explained that this one had been fed, but subjected to no further treatment, to ascertain whether removal from the scene of its infection would work any improvement. A slight improvement was noticeable, but it did not appear whether the vets, concerned were sanguine that it would continue. Another exhibit was a ram suffering from facial paralysis.
Its history was given to the assemblage, and it was gathered that it was hardly regarded as curable.
The main demonstration of the day was connected with a discovery which has been made at Glenfield—that the disease known as antibotulism in this State, as impaction paralysis in Victoria, as dry bible in South Australia, and as lamzietke In South Africa, are one and the same. Mr. Max Henry, the present chief veterinary officer, expressed the opinion as far back as 1911, that the names mentioned were simply different designations for the one ailment. The Bacillus parabotulinus has been isolated, and more than a week ago a young steer was inoculated with a small dose of the virus. It showed no effects until Thursday of last week, then it began to decline in health, and yesterday it was killed with the humane gun, and then dissected. It was rather doubtful at the beginning of the week whether this beast would survive for yesterday's demonstration, and another beast was inoculated with a larger dose of the virus. It reacted more quickly than the first, and also slaughtered yesterday, the company being able to see the effects of the virus on the two animals. These post mortems were most thorough, every lesion in the internal organs being pointed out.
After luncheon minor demonstrations were carried out, such as the proper method of taking blood samples, specimens of how to take the products of various diseases from dead animals, and so on. Nearly two hours were spent in the laboratory, where demonstrations were given how to prepare microscope slides, how to sterilise, and several other laboratory operations. At the close Mr. Max Henry asked the inspectors to forward if possible to the station any bones which had been chewed by cattle, the bones of known bone-chewers, and specimens of stock that were known to have died from other diseases. He explained the reasons why these were desired, and stated that all the material which could be procured would be welcomed.