(AMPUTATION OF THE TAIL) The operation described as"docking"is performed as follows: The horse must first be placed under proper restraint. If the operation is to be conducted with the animal in the standing position a"trevis"or"stocks"is desirable, but as such conveniences seldom exist outside one's own premises, it is usually sufficient to hold the horse against the side of a stall, the operator standing at the end of the partition and out of reach of the animal's heels. It is very seldom that a horse does strike out during this opera tion; as a rule his energies are directed towards plunging in a forward direction, but occasion ally one meets with a kicker and it is always advisable to allow for such contingency. If a low door exists on the premises the horse may be backed on to this, the tail being lifted over the top. A twitch and a blind should be applied to the horse's head.
The length of tail to remain is a matter of the owner's taste. Mares should be docked sufficiently"long"to hide the vulva, but the stump of the tail must not hang low enough to come into contact with the breeching in harness or cart-horses. The point of amputation having been decided upon, the hair above this spot is turned upwards and secured by a strap or tape, whilst that for one or two inches below it must be closely clipped with scissors.
An assistant now holds the tail in the line of the animal's body, and the operator by palpa tion discovers the articulation which it is desired to sever. The hollow portion of the
handle is slipped under the tail and with one strong movement the blade of the knife is closed, completely dividing the tail.
The stump above the line of amputation is firmly compressed by the encircling fingers and thumb, and a hollow, rounded"docking-iron"at a dull red heat is applied to the divided surface, the hollow of the iron fitting over the bone. After haemorrhage has been controlled, a pad of cotton wool freely dusted with an anti septic powder is applied, the strap removed, and the hair brought over the dressing and tied below it with cord, so as to maintain it in position.
To obviate pain the animal may be cast and chloroformed, or the tail may be injected at several points with a 3 per cent solution of cocaine hydrochloride. The vessels may, if desired, be ligatured with silk or sealed by means of a red-hot"budding-iron"without cauterizing the remaining portion of the wound.
In docking puppies a flap incision is made, the most anterior portion corresponding with an articulation. The edges are united by two silk sutures. If haemorrhage be at all profuse, a piece of tape wound moderately tightly around the tail and removed in five or ten minutes is usually sufficient.
Lambs are docked in a similar manner to horses, but a straight knife is used to amputate the tail, which is subsequently"seared." R. H. S.