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This article was published in 1950
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Successes—and a Failure


W.E. CROGAN. B.V.Sc., Inspector of Stock, Braidwood.

There is something in the nature of an adage referring to "Something Old, Something Borrowed, Something New"—or is that a distortion to meet one's own ends? In the very considerable amount of veterinary work which an Inspector of Stock is called upon to tackle in the daily round he naturally meets with many successes — and they, of course, are most stimulating; but failures do occur—and they can be most salutary.

It is thought that the following Case Reports will be not only of general interest, but will serve to illustrate the magnitude of the errors into which one can fall; especially if, as the tendency so often may be, a diagnosis is in mind before a complete examination of the facts and circumstances.


This concerns a mortality in cattle which amounted to a virtual outbreak of Hypocalcaemia. This may sound like an intelligent introduction; but in fact the intelligence was all displayed, by the owners concerned, not by the Inspector. Dairymen in the vicinity of Moruya had been losing cows and calves. After diagnosing successfully the calf losses as due to Blackleg and treating the living remainder, attention was turned to the cows with, somewhat naturally, a considerable degree of confidence. By the time of my first visit one man had lost two, and it was fortunate that a third animal was available in extremis for examination. Eventually, in fact, this owner lost eleven head in all; while the loss next door was four. All died within three months, and in good condition, between December and mid-February. Death within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms was common. but the last seven or eight lingered for several days. Including another four cows, which recovered after treatment, of the total of nineteen, seventeen were producing milk; varying from the first flush to the last few days of lactation, with two cows completely dry — a decided point in my favour.

As mentioned above, cow No. 3 was available for examination. She was unable to rise but looked bright enough, and after an examination which suggested nothing to me she was shot for autopsy. Passing a few lesions of pulmonary Tuberculosis, the next condition encountered was a moderate Fluke infestation, which had caused some degree of cholecystitis. Then what appeared to be a heavy Paramphistome infestation was seen. Not having encountered anything really satisfactory, and with Blackleg firmly planted in my mind, attention next was turned to the muscles. And there it was—a significant looking dark-stained area near the right femur. Aha, Blackleg! On this evidence all the cows, as well as the calves, were inoculated against this disease.

No further deaths for six weeks—had the problem been solved? Then six cows died in a week. The owners examined one and found a heavy Piramphistome infestation, and cholecystitis again. Then my advice was to try Botulism toxoid (suffering from considerable disappointment that the original diagnosis of Blackleg had not worked). This was done but did not prevent the loss of a further two cows three weeks later. Phenothiazine was tried without much success.

At this stage the owners must have decided to forego the only scientific(?) help available and to apply their own ideas on the subject—with immediate beneficial results. Calcium borogluconate was used on a further four sick cows—and produced complete recoveries with spectacular promptness.

Hypocalcaemia, in the past, always had meant to me the single cow of a herd going down with "Milk Fever," and then walking away after a shot of Calcium. The soil in the Moruya area is definitely deficient in Calcium and Phosphorus, and this, in combination with the type of season, evidently had been responsible for this "crash" of cases.

One thing has been learnt—it is going to be Calcium for every sick cow that puzzles me in future!


This really is in praise of what might be described as "that marvellous drug, Sulphapyridine"—with particular reference to its effects on Footrot in cattle. Twenty-nine cows, one bull and one calf had been treated with this drug during the past twelve months and not a real failure yet to be recorded.

Wet conditions and prior infection of their farms years ago had got two men in a dairying area not far from Braidwood into real trouble with Footrot. They owned twenty-six of the cases treated and, as was to be expected, their milk production had declined seriously until Sulphapyridine was introduced into the scheme of things.

All cases treated were very severe; the main symptoms being extreme lameness and pain in the affected foot, and swelling round the coronet. The pressure in some of the swellings was very high and sufficient to part the two parts of the hoof widely. A few of the cases were discharging on treatment.

A 12% solution of soluble Sulphapyridine was used; employing a dose rate of from 40 to 60 grammes for cows from 800 to 1,000 lbs. liveweight. This was administered intravenously without much trouble; after the idea of administration in the standing position had been abandoned. (Following a clout from a gate-rail it was decided that the operator's skin was more valuable than the cows' feelings; and each subsequent case was thrown by Roof's method.)

Results were spectacular as the great majority of cases lost their lameness in two days and recovered completely in a week. Of three animals which had to be re-treated one only did not improve; but this one, a chronic case, had been treated previously by the owner with a very corrosive solution — Butter of Antimony. Sulphapyridine in this connection is definitely new — and good.


Concerns Penicillin treatment of Balanitis in sheep: an idea which has been borrowed from our New Zealand colleagues.

An owner who had been unfortunate enough to have been "landed" with fifty wethers with Pizzle Rot came to see me. As he talked the job could be seen looming up as that most unsatisfactory prepuce-slitting operation we all were told to do; with the pus and stink on one's hands for weeks afterwards. Clutching at any way of dodging that, it was remembered that Penicillin recently had been tried in New Zealand for this condition.

On treatment the ordinary Penicillin mastitis unit of 25,000 units was used. No more than half a tube was expended on each sheep; by inserting the nozzle into the opening of the prepuce after all pus had been squeezed out. Beyond probing for the opening, where necessary, no other treatment was given.

Results again were spectacular; a 98% cure being effected in a week. The owner turned from outright scepticism to great enthusiasm almost over-night; and now rushes off to buy the tubes when he sights a new case. Definitely a method of treatment to be recommended, in my opinion!


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