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MALADIE-DU-COIT, OR EQUINE SYPHILIS.
HISTORY OF THE DISEASE-ITS DISCOVERY IN DE WITT COUNTY INVESTIGATION AND MEANS OF ERADICATION--REPORT BY DR.
W. L. WILLIAMS, ASSISTANT STATE VETERINARIAN.
Hon. JOHN M. PEARSON, Chairman State Board of Live Stock Commissioners:
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. DEAR SIR-I herewith submit my report upon the outbreak of equine syphilis, Maladie-du-Coit, or Malignant Venereal Disease of Solipedes, which has lately been brought to notice in De Witt county, Illinois.
Being the first well-authenticated outbreak of this disease so far as known in any English speaking country, renders a thoroughly complete and accurate report both difficult and desirable; the English veterinary literature upon this subject being practically all translations from foreign languages, and, in most cases, very meagre in detail, and inaccurate in many important particulars. From such as exists, however, I have not hesitated to draw freely whatever seemed of value, and acknowledge with pleasure the value derived from Dr. Fleming's very able and exhaustive treatise in his Veterinary Sanitary Science and Police, from which, although differing radically from him, in some important particulars, I have not hesitated to copy or condense the general history of the dis. ease, and his table of synonyms, and in nearly every part of the work have freely drawn whatever seemed of value to my purpose. I acknowledge also, with pleasure, many kind and valuable suggestions regarding the work by Prof. Law and Dr. Casewell.
Technical: Lues renerea equis; Frambasia morbus pustulosus,
French: Maladie du Coit; Maladie reneriondes, solipedes ; Mala
: : die paralitique du cheval; Paralysie epizootique; Paraplegie epizootique; Jorre de l'appariel de la generatione, etc.
German: Exzemausschlag; Chankerkrankheit; Gutartige beschanlkrankheit; Bosartige beschalkrankheit; Pseudo Syphilis, etc.
Arabic: Eldourine; Dourine.-Fleming.
HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION.
The earliest account of the disease known is that by the German veterinarian, Ammon, who witnessed it in 1796 and 1799, amongst stallions and mares in Trakehnen, North Prussia, where it persisted until 1801, and reappeared six years later; but the disease was probably known at a much earlier date, in southern Russia.
It appeared in Austria in 1815 and in Hanover in 1816, where it spread and prevailed until 1820–21. In 1821 it appeared in Syria and Silesia, reappearing in the latter country in 1826. From 1827 to 1830 it caused great mortality in Bohemia, and in 1830 the disease appeared in Berne, Switzerland. From 1833 to 1836 the disease raged in Upper Silesia and again in the same province in 1840-41. Horse breeders had now become so thoroughly alarmed that careful investigations by veterinarians and severe legislative enactments soon checked the ravages of the disease in Germany. In 1847 Signol saw the disease in Algeria, where it caused a loss of six hundred horses, and other writers mention the occasional appearance of the disease in the North African states.
In the Spring of 1851 the disease broke out for the first time in France in 31 communes around Tarbes, containing 1,874 mares, -and out of 750 mares bred to government stallions, 100 became diseased, and an additional 27 mares became diseased by private stallions; 52 of the affected mares died, and the disease almost entirely disappeared during the following year, only to re-appear in 1856, 1857, 1858 and 1861. The disease was directly traced to stallions imported from infected countries in 1851 and 1861.
"This is, so far as I can trace it, the geographical limit of this curious disease. It has not been witnessed, as yet, in England, Belgium, Italy, Spain, or Denmark, nor in countries beyond Europe, Asia or Africa, so far as I am aware, but there can be no doubt but that, if diseased stallions or are imported to those regions now exempted from its effects, it will appear there as it has done in Russia, (where it is frequent and violent, particularly in the southern governments), Germany, Hungary, Bohemia and France."
The above history, abbreviated or quoted from Fleming, demonstrates to some extent the serious nature of the malady, the probable source of the disease in America, and the importance of dealing with it in a prompt and decisive manner.
THE HISTORY OF THE DISEASE IN DEWITT COUNTY, ILLINOIS, And its source of origin was for a long time somewhat obscure, but now seems reasonably clear. Three sources of origin have been suggested:
First. It was supposed that the disease was introduced direct from France by Harrold & Culbertson, of Wapella, in January, 1884, when they imported 19 French draft stallions aged from 18 to 30 months, all of good quality and showing no evident signs of disease.
In 1884 one died from injuries in transit, and three were sold, which, so far as can be learned, remained free from the disease. In 1885 one died from unknown cause and one
was sold to parties who in turn sold him to W. R. Carle, of Wapella, (No. VIII) and two Nos. XII and XIII were sold to Foley & Seniff, of Wapella.
In 1886 two horses died, one probably of venerial disease, the other from unknown cause, and two were sold to California parties, which are reported well.
In 1887 there remained seven horses, six of which were used on the Harrold & Culbertson farm, and all badly diseased, while the seventh horse was used for stud purpose at Danvers, Illinois, and remains sound.
In April, 1884, Harrold & Culbertson brought from Texas 236 select western horses, about 170 of which were pregnant mares, which afterward dropped and reared healthy foals.
These mares were then bred promiscuously to such stallions as were on hand in the years 1884 and 1885, nearly all were impregnated and dropped healthy foals, which remain on the farm.
In addition to these mares the stallions were allowed to serve such outside mares as were offered.
No signs of disease were noticed in 1884, but in 1885 it would appear that at least one outside mare, and probably a few on the farm, developed the disease, but being wholly unheard of and unexpected, no special notice was taken of it until the Spring of 1886, when the disease assumed such alarming proportions in both mares and stallions that all breeding was discontinued on the Harrold & Culbertson farm.
The objections to this theory of origin are: 1st. These stallions were too young to have been used extensively for stud purposes, and hence unlikely to have been affected prior to importation. 21. With the exception of VIII, XII and XIII all stallions sold from the farm bave, so far as known, remained healthy. 3d. They made the season of 1884, serving promiscuously a large number of mares without producing the disease, and again in 1885 without affecting a sufficient number of mares to cause alarnı.
A second theory of origin is by means of Texas mares either from having been affected upon their arrival or generating the dis
ease spontaneously by hap-hazard copulation. Spontaneous origin being wholly unknown in other specific contagious diseases and the past history of equine syphilis in other countries, where it has always been traced to the importation of breeding animals from an affected district should prove sufficient to dismiss the idea of spontaneity; while the fact that the disease, so far as can be learned, is wholly unknown in Texas, and that all Texas mares brought to De Witt county were doubtless well until after being bred to atfected stallions should set at rest this theory of origin.
The third and most tangible theory is that the disease was introduced direct from France by the imported brown “Moore” horse (No. XV.), now owned by J. Fischer, Clinton, Illinois, imported 1882 by benson & Knapp, Monticello, Illinois, at the age of 3 years, sold in Spring of 1883 to Moore & Son, Clinton, Illinois, and by them was placed in the stud near Clinton, serving a large number of mares besides those belonging to his owners, a fair percentage of which became impregnated and dropped healthy foals. In 1884 he was continued for a time in the stud without any complaint from patrons, but before the season was far advanced the horse became unwell, the genital organs became swollen and the penis sore in several places. At the ring of the penis (preputial ring) there was sufficient ulceration to destroy the ring at the front part. At the upper part of each flank there were extensive ulcerating sores, which healed tardily, leaving large unsightly scars. On the left side of the crest of the neck there appears a very plain brand of the letters D. N, which I am reliably informed by Prof. Law and Dr. P. Paquin, unmistakably indicates that this horse had been condemned by the French veterinary authorities for Maladie du Coit. The horse was sold some time after the development of the symptoms of disease for a merely nominal sum as a seriously diseased stallion, to his present owner, after having been taken from the stud and treated for his malady with indifferent results, and in 1886 and 1887 the horse's services were offered to owners of mares, but only a limited patronage was obtained
Nothing particularly farther was thought of the matter until the disease broke out in alarming proportions, and inquiry was insti. tuted to determine its origin, when it was learned that in 1883, Milton Chapin bred two black mares to the Moore horse, and disposed of one to Sandusky Wilson, and the two mares were bred in 1884 to Utopia (XII.) before he was sold to Foley & Seniff.
It is pow said that one or both of these mares were affected with equine syphilis when bred to Utopia, and that they had contracted the disease from the Moore horse in 1883. Certain it is that the Wilson mare was bred to the Moore horse in 1883 and to Utopia in 1884, and that she was seriously diseased in 1884, undoubtedly of equine syphilis, partially recovered, was sold to a Mr. Yakle of Waynesville, Illinois, and by him to an unknown shipper. The other Chapin mare was traded to itinerant horse traders and
was soon lost sight of; but being at that time 20 years old or more, it is probable that she is, ere this, dead.
Returning then, to Utopia, after having served the Chapin and Wilson mares, he was kept in the stud by Harrold & Culbertson, serving among others the “Marvel” mare (No. 383), and was sold apparently sound in March, 1885, to Foley & Seniff, and proving unequal to the demand, Black Brilliant (XIII.) was purchased from Harrold & Culbertson to assist, and he proving unsatisfactory, was exchanged June, 1886, for Perie (III.).
During the Summer of 1885 Utopia served about sixty mares without, so far as learned, diseasing any, and in the Fall of 1885 he served some twenty mares, of which a few proved in foal, while some fifteen of them became affected, nine of which have died, and the others have mostly partially recovered, some of them scarcely showing any trace of the disease. Here matters were allowed to rest, apparently quiet, until early in April, 1886, when the disease had assumed such alarming proportions in Wilson township that Messrs. Foley & Seniff asked me to see their stallions and some of the affected mares and advise with them as to the proper course to pursue. I examined six or eight mares, affected since the Fall of 1885, all exhibiting the constitutional symptoms of the disease as hereafter described.
The two stallions were both carefully examined, Black Brilliant (XIII) appearing perfectly sound and Utopia (XII) well except a slight swelling and redness of the urethral opening in penis and a slight dirty brownish watery discharge from the urethra, which might occur in any stallion without attracting special notice.
Not being fully aware of the extremely insidious, misleading and serious nature of the disease with which I had to cope, and hoping that it could be successfully confined to its then apparently narrow scope, I advised that Utopia should be withdrawn from the stud until all symptoms of disease should disappear, prescribed such treatment as I thought best for both mares and stallion, and as the other stallion, Black Brilliant, exhibited no signs of disease, I advised that he be continued in the stud.
The affected animals apparently improved for a time, and I saw them once more in April, at which time I made some immaterial changes in the treatment, and here my personal observation of the disease ended, until renewed by your directions in May of the present year.
My second visit in April, 1886, brought me to a more full realization of the dangers to our horse-breeding interests, from this disease, and accordingly I reported the matter briefly to you under date of May 1, 1886.
Verbal reports of the spread of the disease in De Witt county reached me occasionally during the Summer and Fall of 1886, until early in 1887 the accounts became so alarming that I reported the matter more fully to you and urged decisive action.