VETERINARY EXAMINATION OF HORSES AS TO SOUNDNESS.
Horses sold as sound are examined to ascertain if they are free of those diseases or defects of structure and action which are commonly regarded as unsoundnesses. Horses, stallions, and mares sold as sound for breeding purposes are examined to discover if they are free of hereditary unsoundness and of any other defect which is likely to interfere with their usefulness in reproduction. The diseases or defects recog nized as hereditary are: cataract, whistling or roaring, ringbone—high or low—sidebone, bone spavin, navicular disease, shivering, stringhalt, and defective genital organs. Horses sold as serviceably or practically sound are examined to determine if they are capable of regularly performing the ordinary work of the class (harness, draught, saddle, or hunting horse) to which they belong. Horses sold at repositories and described in the catalogues as"quiet to ride or drive,"" quiet in harness,"" good are examined to discover if they answer their description as defined by the conditions of sale.
The examination may be complete, or partial and restricted to the limbs and action, the wind, eyes, age, height, or health of the horse, according to the terms of sale, or the vendor's warranty, representation, or description of the animal.
Many if not most horses are unsound, but every unsound horse is not a useless animal and every sound one is not a desirable purchase. A sound horse may have certain vices which render it unsafe or unreliable; it may be"a slug,"or the conformation of its limbs may be so faulty as to preclude the probability of its remaining sound at work. Very few horses over five years old are absolutely sound. Many are technically unsound, that is, they have one or several defects which, though detracting from their market value do not seriously interfere with their serviceableness. Others are distinctly unsound in limb or action, in eyes or wind, or in some internal organ.
In law, soundness is akin to perfection, as the leading judgment, that of Baron Parke (1842), plainly man who buys a horse ' warranted sound,' must be taken as buying him for immediate use, and has a right to expect one capable of that use, and of being immedi ately put to any fair work the owner chooses. The rule as to soundness is, that if at the time of sale the horse has any disease, which either actually does diminish the natural usefulness of the animal, so as to make him less capable of work of any description, or which in its ordinary progress will diminish the natural usefulness of the animal, or if the horse has either from disease or accident undergone any alteration of struc Lure, that either actually does at the time, or in its ordinary effects will diminish the natural usefulness of the horse, such horse is unsound." Litigation in connection with horse-buying is seldom commendable and never economical or wholly satisfactory to either party to the dispute, though probably"horse causes"will continue for many years to furnish more or less interesting and often remunerative employ ment to lawyers and veterinary surgeons.
Disputes nearly always have their origin in the discovery subsequent to purchase by the buyer of the horse of a real or perhaps an imaginary unsoundness which the warranty may be supposed to cover. Men, astute enough in other transactions, in buying a horse some times err in failing exactly to comprehend the terms on which they make the purchase. They may not fully understand the significance of the vendor's description or warranty, which often is an oral one. They like the horse, and, having for the moment much faith in human nature, rather hurriedly conclude a bargain which may lead to disappointment and con siderable vexation.
According to their terms warranties may be general, special, or express. Warranties of age, height, freedom from vice, and others covering a patent or other defect for a stated period are recognized. Warranties may be given in writing or orally, but generally a written warranty is more satisfactory than an oral one, because, hi the event of a dispute regarding the terms of an oral warranty, the actual words employed must be proved, and as a rule the evidence is strongly contradictory. A general warranty of soundness implies that the horse is sound and fit for immediate use. Its terms may be ex tended to include freedom from vice and blemishes, but otherwise a general warranty does not cover patent, obvious, or palpable defects like chipped knees, bumped or worn joints, scars and other blemishes which a buyer may be presumed to see for himself. A buyer who may be in doubt regarding a visible defect should protect himself .by having it covered by a special warranty. Dealers, too, when selling horses with patent defects would frequently avoid vexatious correspondence and its results by adding to the general warranty of soundness a clause excepting the obvious defects. Some times the nature or importance of a patent defect in the horse is discussed by buyer and seller after completion of the bargain, but, according to the ruling of Baron Bramwell, "The warranty being a written document cannot be altered by parole. I can understand it can be limited by circumstances occurring at the time it was made, although in form it may be general. This does not apply to a written warranty." Representation should be distinguished from warranty. Sometimes words spoken by the seller in praising a horse are mistakenly con sidered by the buyer as amounting to a warranty of soundness."An affirmation at the time of sale is a warranty, provided it appears in evi dence to have been so intended"(C. J. Holt), but representations made by the vendor as an inducement to buy are not warranties unless they form part of the bargain."In the case of a representation to render liable the party making it, the facts stated must be untrue to his knowledge; but in the case of a warranty he is liable whether they are in his knowledge or not"(C. J. Tindall). In selling horses, dealers, and others who may not be dealers in horses, often employ extravagant language in commendation of their animals, but usually their flattering phrases are only expressions of opinion or belief more or less influenced by an earnest desire to effect the sale of a possibly useful horse at a profitable price. They should not be taken too seriously, as they are not intended and should not be accepted as a warranty of soundness. Defects of conforma tion, which are natural, inherited, or congenital, though sometimes very objectionable, are not covered by a general warranty of soundness. In order to constitute unsoundness the defect must render the horse less than reasonably fit for immediate use. When a horse is bought, in England, with a warranty of soundness and it prove to be unsound, the buyer cannot return it unless there is a stipulation to the effect that if the horse does not answer the warranty it can be returned; but the buyer may offer to return the horse to the seller, and if he refuse to take it back, the buyer may then sell the horse as in dispute and recover from the vendor the difference between the price paid for the horse and the amount realized from its sale at auction. The offer to return the horse should be made to the vendor within a reasonable time of the date of purchase, and it should be accompanied by a copy of the veterinary certificate of unsoundness or alleged breach of warranty. In these cases timeous discovery of the unsoundness with immediate notification to the vendor of the horse is of prime importance. A horse may become unsound in wind quite suddenly or in a few days after entering the buyer's possession; it may spring a curb or a sandcrack in its first day's work, and, if a young horse, it may fall lame from splint at any time. Three months or longer after purchase the buyer may be told that the horse has a spavin and his veterinary surgeon may certify that the defect must have existed at the date of purchase. The veterinary surgeon may be quite right, though as a rule his estimate of the duration of the spavin is not free from error. It is extremely difficult if not impossible for any one to determine the age of a bone spavin or other lesion in the living animal. Approximate estimates of the duration of roaring or whistling and many other unsound nesses are equally uncertain, and, all things considered, the safest course for the horse buyer is to have the animal examined prior to pur chase, as is the custom in Ireland, by a reliable veterinary surgeon and abide by his advice regarding its soundness. In practice and irre spective of the terms of sale, the vendor, if a horse -dealer of good repute, may offer no objection to taking the horse back and refunding the purchase money. This happens sometimes when the vendor believes that the alleged un soundness is of a temporary character, of small importance, or questionable. Frequently the vendor disputes the existence of the unsound ness and suggests a further examination of the horse by a different veterinary surgeon, a course which, if adopted, is seldom satisfactory because it postpones decision and often leads to litigation. Occasionally a compromise is effected, the vendor exchanging the horse for another, though gener ally the price of the second horse is much higher than that paid for the first. In some instances the defect complained of by the buyer of the horse is only a technical unsoundness and the only thing needful to restore equanimity to both buyer and seller is a special warranty covering the defect for a period of two or three months.
A horse bought under the hammer at a repository, if found unsound, incapable, or not answering its description in the catalogue, as defined by the conditions of sale, must be returned within a specified time and accompanied by a veterinary certificate stating the cause for returning the animal. It is then examined on behalf of the vendor by a veterinary surgeon, and if his opinion disagree with that of the buyer's veterinary surgeon, the auctioneer appoints as referee a third veterinary surgeon to the horse, and his decision is final.
At the various horse repositories of Great Britain the conditions of sale are very similar, and the following particulars taken by per mission from Tattersall's Catalogue (April 1918) may be useful to horse buyers: Horses described as— Good Hunters must be sound in wind and eyes, quiet to ride, have been hunted, and be capable of being hunted. Good Hacks must be sound in wind and eyes, quiet to ride, and not lame.
Good Chargers or Good School Horses must be quiet to ride, quiet with troops, sound in wind and eyes, and not lame.
Good Brougham or Buggy Horses, Good Wheelers, Leaders, or Harness Horses, must be sound in wind and eyes, quiet in the harness specified, and not lame.
Good Polo Ponies must be sound in wind and eyes, quiet to ride, go to a ball, and be capable of being played in a Game.
Hunters, Hacks, Chargers, Polo Ponies, Harness Horses, Brougham and Buggy Horses, Wheelers or Leaders, without the word"Good"are not warranted beyond that the animals so described have been so used.
Horses sold with a warranty that they are quiet to ride or drive must also be workably sound, and not have any infirmity or disease that renders them incapable of reasonable work.
Horses cannot be described as"regularly"or"con stantly"driven in harness unless also warranted quiet in harness.
Horses described with"good action must not be lame. Horses described as Good Fencers or Jumpers are not war ranted unless the Horses are sold as Good Hunters, and then only that they will jump when with Hounds. Horses are not described in the Catalogue as warranted "sound." Horses that have been unnerved or tubed must not be sold with any description that carries a warranty.
The Causes of Unsoundness are: Defects of (1) the eyes or sight; (2) respiration or wind; (3) limbs or action; (4) existing disease, effects of disease, accident, or operation; (5) blemishes; (6) vices; and, very rarely (7) bad conformation.
Order of the Examination. Orderly procedure in examining the horse is desirable. Any order may be followed so long as it enables the examiner to make a completely satisfactory examination. This is most important in con nection with the limbs and feet, and unless some method is habitually practised or closely adhered to by the examiner several defects are almost certain to be overlooked. The mode of examina tion adopted by some examiners who pass promiscuously from one part of the horse to another should be strongly deprecated as sug gesting nervousness, inexperience, or incom petence. It is not necessary to give particulars of the examiner's movements in carrying out the manual examination, but the following index, hi convenient order, of the parts which must be viewed or palpated may be useful: After inspecting the horse, the veterinary surgeon should examine its eyes, age, mouth, tongue, molar teeth, nostril, submaxillary space, parotid gland, poll, throat, larynx, trachea, jugular vein; then withers, collar seat, shoulder point, arm, front of forearm, knee, cannon, fetlock, pastern and coronet; next, the elbow, back of forearm, knee, flexor tendons, suspen sory, sesamoid region, pastern and foot, which should be raised and the knee fully flexed. Then the chest, back, loins and croup, crural region, stifle, front of leg, hock, shank, fetlock, pastern and coronet; next, the quarter, but tock, thigh, back of leg, point and sides of hock, flexor tendons, suspensory, fetlock, heels and hind foot, which should be raised, the hock flexed and the limb abducted. Then, passing to the head, repeat the examination on the right side of the horse. Next, raise the tail, inspect the anus, vulva, perinaeum and dock. While the fore and hind limbs are being examined the inner side of the opposite limb should be care fully inspected, paying special attention to the groin, sheath or scrotum, and, in the mare, the udder. Then have the horse trotted, or walked and trotted, the fore feet searched for corns, and, if necessary, the shoes removed for further examination of the feet. Next, test the horse's wind; allow the horse to rest for half an hour; then have it brought out, trotted, and turned round on its own length. Aged horses should be tested for loss of sensation and care fully examined for evidence of neurectomy in the fore and hind limbs. On either side, above or below the fetlock, a scar or a subcutaneous nodule may be found. If median neurectomy has been performed, besides loss of sensation on the inner side of the limb, a depression, rarely a nodular swelling, will be found in the fascia inside the elbow. Apart from loss of sensation, ulnar neurectomy may leave no trace.
Inspection of the Horse. When practicable, first see the horse in the stable. Note its attitude, especially the position of its feet. It should stand square upon all four feet. Stand ing with one fore foot in advance of the other is suggestive of foot lameness. If, however, the diagonal hind foot be also rested the position may be only one of ease. In horses under five years old, pointing a fore foot is not often a serious symptom. Next move the horse over in the stall and notice the movement of its tail and hind limbs for signs of stringhalt, shivering and partial paralysis. Then have it led out, observing how it turns in the stall or how it behaves if backed out. When a horse is brought out of a stable for the purpose of being examined for soundness it should not have on a winker bridle; it should wear an open bridle, or a halter. It should be led out quietly and allowed to stand for a few minutes while the examiner makes a rapid survey of its head, neck, body, limbs, and feet, glancing at these parts from in front,behind, and both sides of the horse. In this preliminary inspection the colour and marks of the horse should be taken, the state of its breathing observed, and any conspicuous defects noted for further examination. While slowly walking round the horse, the examiner may notice one or several of the following defects: nasal discharge, grandular swelling, deformity of the face, lips or nostrils, corneal opacity, scars, galls, skin eruption, muscle atrophy, capped elbow, bumped, bent or chipped knees, bursal distensions, prominent splints, marks of speedy cutting, mallenders, or sallenders, bowed or thickened tendons, deformity of the haunch, buttock, hip or stifle, capped hocks, curb, bog spavin, thoroughpin, large bone spavin, worn or enlarged fetlocks, knuckling, windgalls, marks of brushing, ringbones, odd feet, sand crack, ribbed hoofs, flat feet, etc.
A sound horse standing"at attention"has each fore and hind limb opposite to its neigh bour and the body weight equally distributed through each limb. Standing"at ease"it may flex a fetlock, a knee or a hock—usually a fore and hind are simultaneously rested—not the legs on the same side, but the diagonal or cross legs. Trembling and knuckling of fore limbs are noticeable in horses that are unsound in both fore feet. They are usually an accom paniment of bent knees and straight or upright fetlocks and pasterns. These conditions are referred to by horsemen as"showing wear."It is a cautious and correct description, because seen in horses which have done much work and which may trot out showing no definite lameness. They ought to be accepted as defects indicating changes in the limbs which are certain to get worse and almost certain to be serious. A horse that has done no work should be sound in its limbs. A six-year-old horse with clean legs and free from blemish may be suspected to have some grave fault. It has done little work and is either a slug or has some special vice that prevents its working. The only other explanation is that it has had an owner who did not require much service.
Proceeding with the examination of the horse and observing a certain method, the veterinary surgeon should endeavour to concentrate his attention on the work in hand, using his eyes constantly and not diverting them to extraneous things. With a little practice he will overlook nothing of importance that is discoverable by sight or touch. Lameness he will notice with out effort and assuming that his hearing is good he will not readily err in his opinion of the horse's wind.
Skin affections like ringworm, acne pustules, galls, mange, sporotrichosis, and other forms of eruption including grease, cracked heels, gummy heels, and mallenders and sallenders, are often met with in horses submitted to examination for soundness. Many skin diseases are tem porary and of minor importance except when the eruption is extensive or so situated that it is likely to be rubbed by the saddle or harness. Here the examiner must decide whether or not the lesion is sufficient to unfit the horse for immediate work. Grease when recent may be curable, but chronic grease is likely to persist in spite of treatment. Cracked heels, even when slight and unaccompanied by lameness, may prove very troublesome. Gummy heels may be due to leg-mange or careless stable-manage ment, or, like grease, this condition may be constitutional and chronic, causing permanent thickening of the subcutaneous connective tissue and the skin. Mallenders and sallenders are not easily removed, and though they seldom hinder the horse working, sometimes they are responsible for lameness.
Nasal catarrh, slight or profuse, fcetid or odourless, accompanied or not by cough, sub maxillary swelling, or high temperature, is contagious and, although its immediate effects may be unimportant or transient, leaving no trace, the horse for the time being is unsound and it should not be introduced into a stable of healthy horses. Sometimes owing to the horse's condition (temperature, debility, or general dull ness), examination cannot be safely carried further, and it is seldom wise to subject a horse with nasal discharge to the test for wind. Frequently the sequel to nasal catarrh is roaring or whistling, and the intending purchaser should be informed of the probable risk in buying the horse. Acute cough is usually asso ciated with local or systemic disease and a fever temperature, and a coughing horse should not be purchased until the defect has dis appeared. Chronic cough in most instances is a serious unsoundness because of its permanency. Paralysis of the lips or nose, cyst of the nostril wing, bulging or deformity of the bones of the face, indurated submaxillary glands, abscess formation, buccal fistula opening at the border of the lower jaw, temporal sinus with an opening at the base of the ear, and enlarged or indurated parotid gland connected with strangles infec tion, may be mentioned as occasional defects. The mouth may be offensive, suggesting quid ding, irregular or diseased molar teeth. One or more molars may be missing, and in old horses large intermolar spaces may exist, interfering with mastication and keeping the horse in poor condition. A portion of the tongue may be awanting, the incisors worn by cribbing, or the upper jaw may be overshot (parrot mouth) hindering manger feeding and, when excessive, preventing the horse grazing. Marked con striction of the throat may be due to the horse wearing a strap to prevent wind-sucking. Enlarged or pendulous thyroid gland is often seen in well-bred horses, and though very seldom of much importance it should not be passed in silence, as the prominent gland may lead to future questioning regarding its significance. Atrophy of the laryngeal muscles due to re current paralysis and adhesions or indurations arising from operation on the larynx may be discovered by palpation. The trachea may be found fractured, or a breach may exist in its anterior wall, indicating recent tracheotomy and suggesting care in testing the horse's wind. The jugular on either side may be impervious or awanting, or on raising the vein a small dilata tion resulting from venesection may be seen. The poll may show scars or deformity arising from injury or operation. The bursa may be distended and painless or tense from recent injury. The breast may be enlarged or cedema tons, and any obvious defect of this region should be carefully examined, as disease of the sternum is often chronic and difficult to cure. A depression or prominence over a rib may indicate fracture, which in the absence of a wound is not often harmful. Girth galls should be mentioned, as they often prove intractable to treatment unless the horse ins rested from work. The horse's pulse should be taken, sometimes more than once, and if found irregular or inter mittent the heart should be auscultated. Any discoverable disease of the heart or lungs is a serious defect, often incapacitating the horse for fast work. In any horse which after exer cise exhibits a jugular wave or regurgitation the heart should be examined. It is unnecessary to distinguish organic from functional cardiac disease, as palpitation or any form of heart affection is an unsoundness.
Hernia, umbilical, ventral, or scrotal, must he examined and carefully considered as regards its danger to the horse. A small ventral hernia may be quite harmless and, in the gelding, scrotal hernia may exist for many years without alteration or causing inconvenience, but it is an uncertain defect which at any time may lead to a fatal result. Hydrocele or dropsy of the vaginal tunic of the testicle may become a serious condition owing to bruising or infection. Scirrhous cord, tumours or warts of the sheath, scrotum, or groin, or of the thigh, may justify rejection of the horse. Warts, owing to fric tion, ulceration, and bleeding, may unfit the horse for work. Scirrhous growth on the cord is more likely to increase or extend than diminish and, as generally an operation is required to remove the tumour, the intending purchaser should be informed of the nature of the defect. The udder is singularly free of disease other than warts and occasionally botryomycosis and strangles infection. The perinea' or anal region may show tumours or warts, the opening of a pelvic sinus or a rectal fistula, and in the mare a passage resulting from rupture may lead from the rectum into the vagina. The tail may be very limp or paralysed, or if recently docked the wound may be unhealed, the bone exposed and undergoing necrosis. The possibility of tetanus following docking should not be forgotten. Sometimes the stump is enlarged and ulcerated from botryomycosis. Disease or an unhealed docking wound of the tail renders the horse unsound.
Anchylosis of the spine, usually of the lumbar may be mentioned as a defect which sometimes prevents the horse lying down and interferes with his movements in backing a load. Fistulous withers or scars resulting from its surgical treatment may be seen now and then. The primary wound after cicatrization may break out anew, and therefore any dis figurement of the withers should be closely examined. A sitfast, trivial in appearance, may prevent the horse working for many weeks.
Horses submitted for examination as to sound ness very seldom show defects of the shoulder or arm. Scars, collar galls, skin eruption, and atrophy of the muscles are only seen occasion ally. The elbow may be capped and more or less unsightly, but apart from the probable con sequences of further bruising, capped elbow is not a serious though usually a permanent defect. The forearm in hunters may show small round or oblong swellings due to punctured wounds, concealed thorns, etc., and near the knee chronic bursal distensions, but as long as they are pain less and the action of the limb is satisfactory they are not of much importance.
The front of the knee may be capped or swollen, marked by a scar, or more than one, partly concealed by the hair, and sometimes the knee is stiff or incapable of complete flexion. Capped knee is more unsightly than harmful, though sometimes the result is slight stiffness of the joint owing to induration of the swelling. The popular objection to blemished knee is well known., but the risk of the horse again falling and repeating the injury is often greatly ex aggerated. The scar detracts from the market value of the horse, because the possibility of further damage cannot be disregarded, but all things considered the blemish is a doubtful un soundness. If there is no stiffness of the joint and the limb elsewhere is clean, true in action and not shaky, chipped knee only amounts to a trivial defect. A horse that has fallen once may never fall again, and if all the circumstances which attended the first fall or accident were known there would be less ground for objecting to a slightly blemished knee.
Speedy-cutting is more dangerous, and espe cially when the habit is associated with inward dishing or drumstick movement of the striking foot. A horse of high action in speedy-cutting may fall suddenly as if shot, throwing his rider, or if in harness, breaking a shaft and damaging himself. The chronic enlargement resulting from speedy-cut on the inner aspect of the knee varies in position; most frequently it is formed at the lower limit of the knee or at the head of the cannon, sometimes it is seen at the mid-point between the upper and lower margins of the joint, and in high-stepping horses it may be found at the lower end of the forearm. In the first-named position the prominence resulting from speedy-cut is not easily distinguished from exostosis or knee splint, which again may be confused with knee spavin. As a rule, speedy cut does not involve the joint, while knee splint or knee spavin is very similar to spavin disease of the hock. Care, however, is required in naming these defects and estimating their im portance. Locally, speedy-cut is the least harmful, while knee splint or spavin may give rise to lameness which can only be removed by resorting to neurectomy.
The region of the cannon is examined mainly for splints and defects of the tendons and sus pensory ligament. Large splints can be seen, but small or pea splints are difficult to discover, often requiring repeated careful palpation of the bones for their detection. Though splints are most frequently found on the inner aspect of the cannon, they also occur on the outer side and occasionally at the back of the bone under the suspensory ligament. Splints usually appear on the upper third of the bone; some, close to the knee, may involve the joint formed by the lower row of carpal bones with the metacarpus; while others, less common except in cart horses, affect the lower third of the cannon at the"button"of the splint bone. The old saying,"the higher the splint the greater the danger,"contains a fairly true warning regarding the position of splints. Excepting Arabs and thoroughbreds, which often escape, horses of every class, light and heavy, large and small, may be the subjects of splint disease, which is most common in horses under five years old, though aged horses are not altogether exempt.
Splints derive their importance from the lameness which they produce and which is caused during their formation. Small splints, which are often multiple, and in consequence accompanied by more extensive inflammation, are frequently more troublesome than large, single splints. An exostosis formed entirely on the large metacarpal bone may attain con spicuous size without at any time inducing lameness. Some large splints are so situated that they interfere with a flexor tendon or the suspensory ligament, the prominence of the splint exerting pressure during movement on the tendon sheath. Occasionally a growth of adventitious fibrous tissue in the vicinity of the splint appears to increase the thickness of the adjacent tendon aponeurosis, giving on palpation the impression of a slight sprain. A young horse may be affected with splint lameness of one or both fore limbs—sometimes alternate limbs —at short intervals for a year or longer and eventually recover and remain sound in action. Here, recurrence of lameness should not be attributed to a relapse or to further change in a pre-existing splint, but to the formation of a new one or a sequence of splints. Old or fully formed splints in horses over six years old are of little consequence except in those few cases in which the bulge of the splint is in contact with a tendon, but always the existence of splint should be mentioned in the certificate, as it constitutes a technical unsoundness. When very prominent, splints may be injured by striking, though lameness from this cause rapidly disappears under simple treatment. It is to suppose that a splint which has a year or two may suddenly resume its original state of activity and painfulness, but the rare possibility of a new splint forming on the cannon of an aged horse must be admitted, though the exciting cause may remain undeter mined.
Splint lameness affecting a hind limb is not common, and in most instances the splint is on the outer side of the upper fourth of the shank. In horses standing between bails and in others addicted to kicking, the splint may be the result of a blow, but now and then an aged horse is lame from the formation of one or several small splints on a hind shank which is quite free of any indication of wound or bruise.
Few horses with acute limited strain or exten sive old-standing strain of the flexor tendons are submitted for examination as to soundness. They are too lame to have any chance of being passed except for slow work. Sometimes a horse with chronic flexor strain is subjected to median neurectomy in the hope that the lameness will be removed and the thickening of the tendons attributed to rheumatism. Median neurectomy diminishes or removes the nodding of the lame ness, but it does not enable the horse to step out freely in the trot, and often the knee is much bent owing to fibrous adhesions in the vicinity of the strained part of the tendon. Sometimes a saddle horse which has made a qualified recovery from slight strain of a flexor tendon or the suspensory ligament is presented for examination. The position as well as the extent of the lesion should be ascertained by careful palpation of the tendons and ligament, and in any case of slight strain it is advisable to post pone judgment until after the horse has been tested for wind and rested for an hour in the stable. If, on re-examination, the strained part is found painful and more swollen and accompanied by lameness which cannot other wise be accounted for, it is unlikely that the horse will stand work without aggravation of the defect. If, however, the suspected strain remains unaltered and there is no lameness the horse may prove a useful purchase even for fast work. Strain of the perforatus at the fet lock or below it, or strain of the perforans or its check ligament at any point, is always serious because it is almost certain to lead to persistent lameness. Strain or"bowed sinew"of the per foratus midway between the knee and fetlock, or strain of the body or a branch of the suspensory ligament, seldom causes more than temporary lameness. In either case, after proper treatment of the lesion and reasonable rest the horse will become quite serviceable in harness or saddle in spite of evident thickening of the tendon or ligament. Chronic tendo-vaginitis of the flexors at the fetlock of a hind, or, less frequently, of a fore limb, causing, at first, the horse to go on the toe and later to trot lame, should not be overlooked. (Edema, puffiness, or diffused, slightly painful swelling over the flexors without lameness or appreciable localized thickening of either tendon or the suspensory, when not symptomatic of constitutional disease or a lesion of the foot or pastern, is usually the forerunner of chronic distension of the flexor sheath. If neglected, sooner or later it induces slight lame ness and progressive tenositis. In old and, less often, young horses which have done much fast or slow work, the flexor sheaths may be found thickened throughout; lameness may be absent or very slight, and usually the defect does not interfere with the horse's fitness for work. The foregoing remarks on tendons refer mainly to the fore limbs. Slightly modified they may be applied to the hind limbs, in which flexor strain, though less frequent, is not less important than that of the fore extremity.
Any degree of flexor or suspensory strain is an unsoundness. In most instances the defect is more likely to grow worse than better. A horse with slight flexor strain may be considered serviceable or suitable for the purpose required, but he should not be described as sound.
Knuckling at the fetlock may be symptomatic of tendon strain or other lesion below or above the joint. Symptomatic knuckling of a fore or hind fetlock is easily understood, but slight knuckling of a fore fetlock from no apparent cause may be difficult to explain. It may be the result of accident in foalhood, partial dis location or wrenching of the joint, or the faulty position may have been acquired in early life through some temporary defect of the foot, and when overshot fetlock is associated with upright pastern it is unlikely to disappear, though very seldom does it cause immediate lameness. Knuckling of both hind fetlocks in young horses is often temporary. Raw, young horses on their introduction to town work frequently show this knuckling for a time or until they overcome the tendency to brushing and slipping on the various pavings of the streets. Weakness or lack of condition may account for some of these cases, but in many instances they arise from fatigue due to awkwardness or want of confidence in horses unaccustomed to the insecure foothold of the streets. Knuckling without evident causal lesion should be men tioned to the buyer of the horse, because subsequent local injury may add to the per manency of the defect.
Windgalls may be connected with the flexor synovial sheath or with the joint of the fetlock. They vary in prominence, and also in their effects, which for a long time may be nil. Wind galls indicate either fetlock weakness, which may be hereditary, or effects of wear. They seldom cause lameness except when injured, or when the distension is large enough to hinder movement of the joint. Tendinous windgall is more likely than the articular form to cause trouble, but neither should be present in a sound horse. Tendinous windgall of a hind fetlock may lead to persistent knuckling and permanent lameness owing to chronic bursitis, thickening of the synovial sheath, and formation of fibrous adhesions which fix the tendons at the sesa moid s.
Distension of the bursa of the extensor pedis tendon of a fore or hind fetlock is always the result of injury, which may be contracted in jumping a fence ox wall, in knuckling when starting a load, or in falling on the fetlocks, as happens in cart horses which sleep standing. The distension or bursitis may or may not be accompanied by lameness, which in hunters may be only manifested after a rest following work or prolonged exercise. In cart horses both fore fetlocks may show abrasions and swelling, or one or both hind fetlocks may be disfigured by a large, more or less pendulous distension which looks like a tumour. The existence of bruised fetlocks or distension of the bursa of the extensor pcdis tendon in the horse should at once suggest other defects, as anchylosed spine, not lying down, falling when sleeping standing, etc.
Enlargement of one or both sesamoid bones points to antecedent, sometimes remote injury to the fetlock. If the horse is not lame and the fetlock is free of other defects, the enlargement, though amounting to a technical unsoundness, may be regarded as of very small importance.
Cutting and brushing marks on the fetlocks should be mentioned and carefully considered as to their causation and probable duration. In young horses striking may be and often is a transient fault, but in aged horses, when not due to bad shoeing, weakness, or fatigue, it may be very troublesome and sometimes incurable. When the conformation or carriage of the limbs is faulty, predisposing to striking, cutting or brushing is likely to result in persistent recur rent lameness. The examiner of the horse must decide whether or not the abrasion on the fet lock is old or recent or likely to be repeated, and advise accordingly. Old brushing scars may be mentioned with the marks of identification of the horse.
Ringbone disease, though not common, is a very serious unsoundness. It is very similar in nature, progress, and effects to spavin disease of the horse's hock. According to the case it affects the short pastern, either extremity of the long pastern, or the coffin bone, and sooner or later implicates the adjoining articulation, pro ducing arthritis, enlargement of the bones, and more or less deformity of the pastern or foot.
Very few horses affected with ringbone disease are sound in action. This simplifies procedure in examinations for soundness, as the cause of lameness need not be specified. The term ring bone is often applied to simple exostosis of the pastern, node, or"ankle bone,"which in practice should be distinguished from ringbone disease. Exostosis of the pastern exists in the majority of heavy horses and in many of the lighter breeds. It should not be overlooked, for it cannot be regarded as an advantage to any horse, but compared with ringbone disease it is a harmless defect. It is often situated laterally close to the attachments of the liga ments on the long and short pastern bones. As a rule it does not at any time cause notice able lameness.
Enlargement of a pastern bone resulting from simple fracture or"split pastern"may be confused with ringbone in stallions and mares which are submitted to examination for hereditary diseases. Split pastern is usually confined to one limb and the resulting enlargement is smoother, more diffused, and more likely to diminish than that of ringbone disease, in which it is most prominent at the articular margins of the affected bones. In many instances the distinction is not clear, and in the absence of a reliable history of fracture the suspected pastern should be very carefully examined.
Sidebone may affect one side or both sides of one or both fore feet and rarely the hind feet. It is common in heavy draught horses, less common in lighter draught animals, and only occasional in ponies and well - bred saddle and harness horses. The process of ossification may begin at any age and its extension may be gradual, fairly rapid, or very slow. Injuries as a blow or tread on the coronet and disease of the foot (sand-crack, suppurating corn) are sometimes responsible for the change in a single cartilage —often that on the outer side of the foot, but as a rule double-sided sidebone is connected with hereditary predisposition to the disease, and constant hard work on paved roadways pro motes the transformation of the cartilage into bone. Sidebone uncomplicated by other disease of the foot or pastern seldom or never causes lameness in draught horses, and in light horses doing fast work its worst effect is cramped action. Sidebone, incipient, partial, or com plete, is an unsoundness, but so long as the feet are of good shape it is not a serious defect. Complete sidebone gives no difficulty in dia gnosis, but the existence in certain cases of partial or incipient sidebone may be disputed. Partial sidebone represents a stage in the process by which the lateral cartilage will be ossified, and the mere fact that the change is limited or incomplete does not abate the importance of sidebone as a hereditary unsoundness. A sound lateral cartilage should be resilient and pliant throughout, but as nearly one half of each cartilage lies within the hoof in normal feet, only the part above the horn can be palpated or tested for rigidity or ossification. Further, as the change in the cartilage usually begins inferiorly or where the concealed portion is attached to the pedal bone, ossification may have made considerable progress upwards and forwards before hardening or other alteration suggestive of sidebone can be detected in the part above the hoof. This fact should not be for gotten in cases of partial sidebone in which the ossified area generally occupies the centre of the plate. The binder or slightly incurved portion of the cartilage is only ossified in complete side bone, and in other cases the anterior part may not be ossified though frequently it fails to yield to pressure, because it rests against a prominence of the coronary bone. A lateral cartilage may be hard yet flexible, and although this condition cannot be regarded as typical of sidebone, it indicates that ossification is proceeding and that eventually sidebone will be formed. In some cases sidebone formation is preceded by peri chondritis, which extends rapidly over the carti lage, making it thicker and less flexible. This change is followed by ossification throughout of a small area of the cartilage, which, by gradual extension of the process, becomes completely transformed into bone.
The Feet. Faulty conformation of the foot may be natural or congenital, and it does not amount to unsoundness unless it is evident that the defect will interfere with the horse's useful ness. The feet should be carefully examined as to shape, condition of horn, and indications of disease. The old and often-quoted dictum of Jeremiah Bridges,"No foot—no horse,"is as true to-day as at any former time. The fore feet may be unequal in size, one being contracted or notably smaller than the other, or both may be blocky with deep, narrow heels. Either condi tion is suggestive of serious foot trouble, though often odd fore feet and blocky feet are natural and not symptomatic of navicular or other disease of the foot. Such feet should be closely inspected, and judgment should be guided by consideration of the horse's action in the trot and his age. If the horse is over six years old, lame in front, and his action improves with exercise, very probably the seat of lameness is in the foot or feet, according to the case. In the absence of lameness or varying action the existence of blocky feet or odd fore feet should be stated by the examiner in his report on the soundness of the horse. Corns often occur in blocky feet and are very difficult to cure, because chronic ostitis of the plantar aspect of the pedal bone is a frequent complication. Flat-foot is often congenital, though it may be acquired. The sole is almost level with the margin of the wall, the heels are low, wide, often spreading, and the wall is extremely oblique. As the sole is usually thin it is easily bruised and lameness from corns is common. If laminitis attack flat-feet the result may unfit the horse for further town work. The wall is weak, often brittle, and the shoe is frequently loose or cast off. Very few horses with flat feet can long withstand the effects of journeys or constant work on paved streets, but for short runs or light, pleasure purposes they may prove useful, though generally they require special care in shoeing.
Sand - crack of the toe or quarter, whether causing lameness or not, is an unsoundness. According to the length and depth of the fissure and the treatment applied many months may elapse before the sand-crack grows out with the descent of a new intact wall. Superficial and partial sand-cracks are of less importance than deep and complete sand-cracks. Open sand crack accompanied by lameness is a very serious condition. Superficial sand-cracks may cause no inconvenience to the horse so long as care is exercised in shoeing and keeping the hoofs in good condition. Cracks in the hoof near the ground border of the wall are not recognized as sand-cracks, which always begin at the coronet and are carried downwards with the growing wall. Fractures or cracks of the wall near the shoe may be due to careless shoeing or brittle hoof, which is easily fractured.
False quarter is a permanent defect of the wall, a portion of the horn being awanting owing to limited destruction of the coronary band which secretes the greater part of the wall of the hoof. The defect or scar in the coronary band may be obscure or easily seen, and the breach in the wall or false quarter is usually conspicuous, as a depression with irregular margins which sometimes overlap. False quarter is incurable, though frequently it does not appear to interfere with the horse's action or usefulness. It is an unsoundness.
Seedy-toe may affect the fore or hind feet. The separation may be limited to a small area of the toe wall, or it may extend upwards to near the coronet and laterally towards the quarters. Commencing seedy-toe may be over looked, as it rarely causes lameness or immediate deformity of the foot. Old-standing or exten sive seedy-toe is accompanied by more or less, sometimes characteristic, lameness and deform ity of the wall and sole. In the absence of deformity seedy-toe may be suspected, and confirmation may be obtained by percussion of the wall, but in most horses submitted to examination for soundness this defect can only be discovered with certainty by removing the shoe and searching the foot. The separation is progressive, occasionally intractable, and when extensive a year may be required to restore the hoof to a sound condition.
Convex toe wall, that is a prominence or ridge extending from the coronet to the plantar border of one or both fore or hind feet, is symptomatic of low ringbone or pyramidal disease. The horse's gait—going on the heel—may suggest chronic laminitis as the cause of the peculiar action. Ribs or rings arranged horizontally in the wall of the hoof may be due to a change in diet, as a run on pasture, or to indigestion, or laminitis. Dietetic rings are equally spaced and preserve their independence throughout, while those arising from disease are disposed irregularly, perhaps broken, in their course from one quarter to the other, and when connected with chronic laminitis they converge at the depression of the toe wall. Sinking of the toe wall indicates displacement of the pedal bone, with flat or convex sole, and in trotting the horse brings the heel first to the ground.
Club-foot, crooked or distorted hoof, and in turned and out-turned toe are congenital defects in most instances. A hind foot may appear clubbed after healed fracture of the pedal bone. This condition is known as"buttress foot,"and in consequence of the deformity of the pastern the horse goes on the toe of the affected foot. An inturned toe is preferable to an out-turned one unless the faulty foot in movement threatens to strike the opposite limb. Out-turned toe pre disposes to quarter sand-crack and to cutting or brushing.
Horn tumour under the wall is a rare cause of unsoundness. No doubt there is a stage in its growth when there is no lameness, but sometimes in searching the foot for suspected seedy-toe a crescentic area of tough horn which indicates horn tumour may be found at the white line. As a rule, horn tumour is accom panied by lameness, but owing to the horse"pointing"the lame foot the defect in action may be mistakenly attributed to navicular disease, in which lameness wears off with exercise, while that due to horn tumour con tinues unaltered or somewhat aggravated. Thrush, or catarrh of the glands of the sensitive frog, is often a chronic ailment which may become serious if neglected. Thrush is more common in the hind than the fore feet. The co-existence of thrush in a fore foot with slight lameness in a worn or aged horse is suggestive of navicular disease. Thrush is an unsoundness. In cart horses it may foreshadow canker of the foot, and in all classes it may lead to extensive destruction of the horny frog. In the majority of cases thrush is a trivial and temporary de fect, amenable to curative treatment, but its existence should not be overlooked. Navi cular disease, when incipient, in a well-preserved horse may mislead the examiner who believes in the invariable manifestation of the so-called"classical symptoms"of this malady. In some horses the foot or feet may be well-formed or of excellent shape, pointing may be absent, and varying action under exercise may not be observable in the early stage of navicular disease. Advanced cases are easily recognized by attending to the horse's action throughout the examination.
Chronic laminitis attracts attention because of the horse's gait, which, though characteristic of this affection, is not peculiar to it. Going on the heels with, more or less tilting of the toe is shown in low ringbone, horn tumour, toe sand crack, painful condition of the extensor region of the coronet and pastern, etc., but generally in chronic laminitis there is deformity of the hoof. Corns, whether dry or moist, recent or of doubtful duration, constitute unsoundness. Their importance bears some relation to the shape of the foot. In flat, thin-heeled feet, and in blocky feet with deep heels, bruising is fre quent and the effects are likely to persist for a considerable time, because of co-existing ostitis of the pedal bone, which in chronic corns is often studded with asperities on its ground surface.
Hind Limbs. In horses submitted for exam ination a common defect is fractured external angle of the haunch. The quarters are unequal in prominence, as may be noticed when the horse is viewed from behind. The deformity may be accompanied by lameness if the accident is recent, but in old- standing cases lameness should be absent and the defect should have no influence on the horse's capacity for work. A similar condition affecting the buttock may be met with. The tuber ischii may be fractured and displaced, diminishing the prominence of the buttock. A horse with either defect cannot be considered as sound, but he may with confidence be described as serviceably sound. After re covery from either injury he is likely to continue as sound in action as he was before the accident. Muscular atrophy of the hip is sometimes seen, and, possibly, may be due to inaction of the limb arising from bruising or chronic lameness of the hock, fetlock, or foot. Gluteal atrophy may have a local origin (paralysis, pelvic fracture), but in the absence of lameness and evident deformity the defect can only be referred to as symptomatic of antecedent inaction of the limb.
The stifle is very rarely found unsound in horses submitted to examination, probably because very simple injuries to this region produce noticeable lameness. Abrasions, capped stifle, and obliteration of the surface indentation below the patella may be seen occasionally, and as the prognosis of any form of stifle lameness 1S-1111_certain, the defect, though apparently slight, must be regarded for the time being as an un soundness. The lower thigh or leg is very seldom the seat of unsoundness. Indurated swelling resulting from injury, tumours, and warts may be met with on either surface of the leg. The inner prominence (internal malleolus) of the lower extremity of the tibia may be conspicuously enlarged, and this may be mis taken for spavin. It is a harmless defect, and when not congenital its origin is due to a blow. Occasionally large tendinous thoroughpin of the hock extends upwards, disfiguring the inner aspect of the leg.
The hock furnishes the most serious and fre quent unsoundnesses of the hind limb. Curb may be confused with sickle hock_ orwith curby formation of the limb, a congenital condition in which the os calcis, instead of being vertical or upright, slopes forwards, and the posterior line of the limb from the lower thigh to the pastern appears more or less regularly curved when the limb is viewed from the side. Curby formation of limb, though unsightly, may not impair the horse's usefulness. Some think that it predisposes to the formation of curb—which is the result of strain of ligament or tendon at the back of the hock. Large or very con spicuous curb in a saddle-horse is a serious unsoundness. Lameness may be absent at the time of examination, but it is likely to recur when the horse is put to regular work. In harness horses, large curb is of less consequence, though buyers of affected animals would be well advised to anticipate contingencies and secure a special warranty covering the defective hock for three months or longer from the date of purchase. Small curb unassociated with lame ness may be of little importance, but the distinc tion sometimes made in practice between"false curb,"or enlarged head of the small external metatarsal bone, and"true curb,"or strain of the calcaneo - cuboid ligament or perforatus tendon, is not often based on accurate knowledge of the nature of the prominence or curb. A portion of the ligament is inserted on the head of the external splint bone, a fact which is often ignored, and in many instances of so-called"false curb"palpation does not enable the examiner positively to state that the prominence is solely due to enlargement of the head of the small bone. Frequently it is only partly due to that cause and partly to thickening of the ligament.
Curb, whether very limited or diffused, true or false, should always be mentioned in the certifi cate, and in most instances a fair estimate of the importance of the defect should be offered to the intending purchaser of the horse.
Bone spavin unaccompanied by lameness is a much - overrated unsoundness. Spavin may gradually form and attain conspicuous size without causing noticeable lameness, and after formation of the exostosis is complete, or the process has become arrested and the affected bones anchylosed peripherally or centrally, the horse is likely to continue to give satisfaction for many years in saddle or harness. A plainly spavined hock free of lameness may withstand the effects of severe work much longer than a hock having no trace of spavin. Compared with large or diffused curb, spavin is altogether a less risky defect, and in some horses the exostosis would seem to add to the strength of the hock. This hopeful view is to some extent discounted by the fact that spavin lameness may be in curable, and this applies particularly to the occult form of the disease, in which there is no appreciable enlargement at the usual seat of spavin. Exostosis, even when small, situated well forward or at the front of the joint, is always more dangerous than spavin formed on the postero-internal aspect of the hock.
Spavin disease may affect any hock, but it is more likely to occur in hocks which, viewed from in front, appear narrower or to taper towards the shank and less likely in square hocks—that is, those which show the same breadth at the head of the shank as at the upper or tibial margin and which at first view look like spavined hocks.
Diagnosis in the absence of lameness may be easy or difficult, depending on the prominence of the exostosis. Coarse, tuberous, and odd hocks have to be considered, and occasionally a doubtful hock may be passed without remark because its action is good. But good or fault less action alone is no proof that the hock is free of spavin. As a rule, spavin disease does not implicate the tibio-tarsal or principal joint of the tarsus, and unless the ostitis is active it has no influence on flexion or extension of the hock. In spavin lameness impaired hock action is due to the pain induced by the existing ostitis or arthritis of the affected small bones or joints, and not to the enlargement hindering move ment of the hock joint. Large spavins may be recognized by viewing the hocks from in front or behind, but in all cases resort should be had to palpation. Hints as to the best procedure in diagnosis are helpful, but only practice in the palpation of sound and unsound hocks will impart confidence to the examiner. Passing the hand slowly from the tibia to the shank over the inner surface of the extended hock the normal prominences of the bones or, preferably, the spaces between them, should be identified. In spavin these spaces or some of them are effaced or concealed by the exostosis. Sometimes palpation of the flexed hock gives more reliable information of the actual state of the spavin area. The suspected hock should be compared with the other one, and when both are doubtful examination should be repeated patiently until a positive opinion can he formed. When con venient, X-ray examination of the hocks will in most cases remove doubt as to the existence of spavin.
Odd hocks, like odd fore feet, may be congenital, but the examiner is under no sort of obligation to be absolutely certain of the origin of enlarged hock or of any other unsoundness, unless there is an express stipulation to that effect. He should point out the defect and give a qualified opinion of its probable effect on the horse's usefulness, and, if necessary, suggest that the vendor should furnish a special or time war ranty covering the odd hock for a reasonable period.
Coarse or tuberous hock bones are frequently seen in horses under five years old, and generally in such cases the bones forming the other joints of the limbs are equally coarse or prominent. With advancing age rough or coarse hocks lose this feature, the prominences diminishing or, as is said,"fining down."In the majority of instances coarse hocks coexisting with similar prominences on the other joints are sound and unlikely to lead to lameness.
Occult spavin disease in the active state is always accompanied by lameness, which does not diminish under exercise. The hock is seldom enlarged, though on post-mortem examination small exostoses may be found at the margins of the affected joints. Thus affected a horse may not be rejected for spavin, as there is no appreci able enlargement of the hock, but for lameness, which is continuous and usually very well marked.
Bog spavin or distension of the true hock joint may be acute or chronic. Fortunately acute bog spavin is rare, for generally it is in curable. Chronic bog spavin is common, and so long as the distension is not excessive it may not interfere with the action of the hock. Straight hocks are predisposed to bog spavin, which in most instances may be regarded as a sign of weakness or of wear. In some horses bog spavin coexists with articular thoroughpin and distension of the synovial sheath of the perforans (tendinous thoroughpin). These dis tensions, when small or of moderate size, appear to have little influence on the horse's action or capacity for work, slow or fast, but as they may at any time suddenly undergo considerable increase, becoming large enough to hamper hock movement, they should be mentioned as unsoundnesses.
Two other synovial distensions in this region may be mentioned; one affects the peroneus sheath on the outer side of the shank, the other the sheath of the accessory flexor on the inner side of the hock. Both are noticeable and generally harmless. Capped hock is an obvious and very common defect. Two forms are recog nized: one, extremely rare, affecting the synovial bursa beneath the perforatus cap, the other the mucous or subcutaneous bursa over the tendon at the point of the hock. The first produces bilateral distension and lameness, which is not easily removed. The second or commoner form is a conspicuous blemish, which in prac tice is often included with the recognition marks of the horse.
The principal defects or unsoundnesses of the hind limbs below the hock have already been referred to under the examination of the fore limb. Slightly modified or amended where necessary, the remarks made on the fore cannon, flexor tendons, suspensory, fetlock, pastern, and foot may be applied to these parts of the hind limb.
Action and Lameness.Want of care more often than want of skill causes failure to detect slight lameness. And it must be remembered that the veterinary surgeon called to prescribe for the lame horse of a client receives every assistance in his work, but when examining a horse as to soundness he may have to contend with the most astute attempts to mislead him. There are lamenesses which temporarily dis appear on the horse being exercised, therefore all attempts to detect lameness should be con ducted after an assured rest of not less than half an hour in a stable, and when practicable this rest should immediately follow rapid exer cise as that of the test for wind. If it is certain that the horse has not been taken out of his stall there is no better time than the early morning—after a night's rest. When possible this is a desirable precaution, but often the circumstances attending the examination pre clude its adoption. The veterinary surgeon may be called to the vendor's stables, or the horse may be brought to the veterinary yard, and unless there is ample time and the examiner has more than the usual modicum of tact he may be defeated in his effort to make a searching examination for lameness. However, if he will concentrate his attention on the horse through out the examination, declining to discuss weather, health, or holidays, or to laugh too much at the vendor's good story, he will not often fail to observe lameness even when it is very slight.
The horse should be led out quietly and allowed to stand for a minute or two, then slowly trotted about thirty yards bn a paved roadway, turned, and trotted back to the examiner. A slow trot is the best pace at which to discover lameness, and a loose rein permits the movement of the head—the nodding - which is most indi cative. A slightly lame horse that is brought out of a stable and frightened or excited, espe cially if his head is held tightly, shows very little, if any, defect in movement. An experi enced runner may assist in covering a slight lameness. The order to"give him his often needed, but it must not be forgotten that obedience to such a command may result in the runner being seriously kicked. A paved roadway is absolutely necessary to a proper test of action or lameness. In the country a grass field or a bridle path may be most con venient for trotting the horse, but the test on either or both is insufficient and unreliable, and if lameness should be overlooked the examiner may be accused of negligence in conducting the examination. Even at some inconvenience to himself the examiner should insist upon seeing the horse trot on a hard road with a fairly even surface and a slight gradient. Lameness of any degree. however arising, is an unsoundness. A
horse's action may be objectionable, as in dishing outwards or inwards, threatening to strike or cut, rolling, waddling, hitching, etc., but so long as the peculiarity arises from conformation and not from disease, accident, or other acquired cause, it is not unsound unless it is dangerous or likely to prove inconsistent with the usefulness of the animal. Occasionally a horse exhibits in front or behind a peculiar gait which may vary with the pace of movement and which at first view may puzzle the examiner. But more often than not peculiarity of gait is a mere euphemism for slight lameness, and in any supposititious case of this kind the horse should be trotted repeatedly at short intervals with and without a weight on his back and after resting from cantering exercise. In most instances this pro cedure will accentuate slight or doubtful lame ness or remove the supposed peculiarity of action. Care must be exercised in watching a horse trotting with low or short front action. This peculiarity may be due to chronic disease of the feet, or it may be natural to the animal. Half an hour's trotting exercise will settle the point by increasing the freedom of action, whilst a further half hour on the pillar reins and another run out in hand will show the horse again at his worst. At auctions where only a run can be obtained, any doubt about the fore feet should take into consideration the age of the animal and a verdict given against horses over six years old. Whilst turning round, a horse often shows some symptom such as snatching up the foot, knuckling over, or crossing the legs, which is not so noticeable in a straight run. When a horse is set back there may be an exhibition of abnormal movement, which is not so well seen under any other circumstances. But the examiner should remember that a green horse or a bad-tempered one will sometimes object to being backed and then move erratically. Every horse does not rim in hand quite evenly with a bit in his mouth. He may carry his head to one side and give an appearance of lameness in front. When a doubt exists as to the presence of"bridle lameness,"a halter should be substi tuted for the bridle and the horse again trotted until the examiner is satisfied one way or another.
Stringhalt, whether continuous, intermittent, or occasional, must be regarded as an unsound ness, though in a working horse it may not be a serious defect. Stallions and mares affected with stringhalt are justly condemned as unsound for breeding purposes. The cause of the spas modic action of the limb or limbs remains unde termined. Stringhalt may be manifested by an upward jerk of the foot (flexor stringhalt) or by a downward thrust, the foot forcibly striking the ground (extensor stringhalt). Occasionally both these movements are pronounced and very noticeable in the horse at work, and in some cases the shoe may be loosened or broken, and in backing the horse may injure himself.
Stringhalt may appear at any age and remain stationary or become aggravated with advancing years. Frequently it arises quite suddenly and from no appreciable cause. Occasionally it appears during or soon after a horse's recovery from a slight illness, accident, or operation like docking, or it may follow blistering or firing a leg—either fore or hind. Intermittent slight stringhalt of one or both hind limbs may exist for years without noticeable variation, or it may become continuous or much more evident. It very seldom disappears entirely, though some times continuous manifestation becomes inter mittent, the intervals gradually extending until the defect is shown only very occasionally.
Stringhalt is often detected when the horse is moved over or turned in his stall. It is also seen in the first few steps of a slow trot and very frequently in the act of turning the horse to come back to the examiner. It may be revealed by backing the horse, or by turning him to the right or left completely round on his own length. Sometimes it is only discoverable after the horse has been severely exercised or when he is tired. In ponies with excellent hock action slight stringhalt may be confused with"straw cramp"or momentary arrest of the patella on the femoral trochlea, but in the latter, owing to the stifle being held in extension, the foot"dwells on the ground"—as if fixed—for a few seconds before it is jerked upwards. The movement of stringhalt is involuntary, while that of"straw cramp"is voluntary and due to effort imposed on the limb by the state of the stifle.
Shivering is an important unsoundness, and much more serious than stringhalt, because generally it is progressive and in time renders the horse unfit or less useful for ordinary work. Affected stallions and mares should not be used for breeding, as their progeny are almost certain to exhibit symptoms of shivering before or soon after reaching maturity. Shivering affects the upper or gluteal and femoral regions of one or both hind limbs and the tail, sometimes a fore limb, and occasionally the lips and muscles of the head and neck. The characteristic tremor and elevation of the limb are due to involuntary spasmodic muscular contraction. Shivering is most common in cart horses. It also affects light harness horses, hunters, hacks, thorough breds, and, rarely, ponies. It varies in intensity, and may be intermittent or continuous in mani festation. It is aggravated by constant hard work on paved streets and poor feeding, and, temporarily, by violent effort, excitement, or by intercurrent systemic or local disease or injury. Slight shivering is often modified, the symptoms being suspended by prolonged idleness, grazing the horse for a month or two, or by easy slow work on land. As the disease advances the horse, though still useful for straight pulling or trace work, becomes unwilling or unable to set back a load; he refuses to lie down, and in sleeping standing frequently half-falls, bruising his fetlocks and sometimes contracting other injuries. Hunters, at first, may gallop and jump satisfactorily; later, they lose confidence or show difficulty in rising to or clearing a jump, and eventually they soon tire in galloping, blunder at their fences, and become unsafe or useless for hunting. Confirmed shivering is easily recognized, but when the defect is slight repeated examination of the horse may be necessary before the symptoms can be dis covered. Many methods of testing the horse are employed. The more useful are: backing the horse rapidly on rough setts, turning him round on his own length, moving him from side to side in a stall, raising and abducting each hind limb, smartly tapping the shank, front of the stifle, or point of the elbow while backing the horse, offering the horse water in a bucket placed on the ground, raising a hind foot and hammering the shoe or hoof, and pricking the hind fetlock or pastern. The symptoms may be revealed by resting the horse in a dark box for half-an-hour and then lifting a hind foot, or by lunging or cantering the horse for a time, followed by a rest in a stall and afterwards lifting a hind foot or moving the horse from side to side.
Partial paralysis, which usually affects the horse's hind limbs, is only likely to escape notice when the defect is very slight. Sinking of the quarters or crossing the hind limbs when turning, signs of inco-ordination of movement, or marked awkwardness in backing, striking the hind limbs when turning completely round, and rocking or waddling in the trot are all more or less suggestive of posterior paralysis.
"Jinked back"and"kidney dropping"are terms of indefinite meaning and application, though commonly employed to indicate spinal weakness. These defects and loss of power caused by arterial obstruction are discovered while the horse is undergoing the test for wind. A jinked-back horse after going some time loses power in his hind quarters and gradually sinks to the ground, sitting like a dog for a few minutes, then rising voluntarily and cantering on as at the beginning of the trial. The subject of aortic or iliac thrombosis gradually fails behind when trotting or cantering. The chief symptoms are shortening of the stride, dragging of one or both hind feet, knuckling of the hind fetlocks, drooping of the quarters, diminishing hock flexion, with dryness and palpable coldness of the limb downwards from the hock. Unable to con tinue, the horse moves slower and slower, then, crouching, blowing, and sweating, goes down, struggling a little as if seized with colic. After a few minutes he recovers sufficiently to rise, shakes himself, and trots on again with no sign of inability or loss of power in the hind limbs. As some forms of partial paralysis are only manifested under exercise like that required in testing the animal's wind, the examiner, when possible, should insist upon making a full ex amination of the horse. In some instances a limited examination may be sufficient, but when a certificate of soundness is required the examina tion should be thorough and complete.
Removing the horse's shoes to facilitate ex amination of the feet, though not imperative in every case, should not be neglected, especially when the state of the hoofs is suggestive of foot disease. Seedy-toe may exist in a fore or hind foot of irreproachable shape and appearance, and although percussion may enable the ex aminer to discover the defect, a positive opinion should only be given after removing the shoe and searching the foot. But the shoes should not be removed without the vendor's sanction, which is very seldom refused. Removal of shoes may be prohibited by the conditions of sale in force at auctions. If the horse is sold as sound, the prohibition is unfair to the buyer and distinctly questionable in law. A client may find fault with his veterinary surgeon for not having the horse's shoes removed at the time of examination, but the examiner is under no sort of obligation in this matter. He may or may not have the shoes removed, according to his judgment as an expert, but he cannot escape responsibility for his opinion of the horse's soundness.
Eyes.Although horses frequently suffer from injuries or diseases—serious or trivial—of the eyeball or its appendages, it may be said that, in those submitted for examination as to sound ness, defects of the eyes, other than opacities of the cornea and lens, are not often encountered. Occasionally, blindness (ainaurosis) due to paralysis or to inflammatory change within the eyeball is met with. Glaucoma is extremely rare. The lachrymal apparatus is very seldom found diseased, and defects of the eyelids, as ptosis (paralysis of the upper eyelid) and defor mity resulting from wounding, are far from common. Sometimes, owing to recurrent attacks of ophthalmia, the eyeball is found atrophied, the media opaque, and in rare instances one eye may be collapsed or awanting. Shying in certain cases may equal an unsoundness, though usually it is regarded as a vice. Shying may be due to astigmatism (see"Diseases of the Eye"), short sight or long sight, or it may arise from corneal opacity, cataract, or other lesion of the visual axis. It may be only coincidence, but sometimes persistent shying coexists with large corpora nigra which appear to obstruct the pupil.
Corneal opacities may be temporary or per manent, and they vary greatly in size, shape, density, and position. During an attack of specific ophthalmia the cornea may be com pletely opaque. Dense patch-like opacities may be seen at a considerable distance from the affected eye, but the smaller, less dense, specks, streaks, or hair-like lines may be readily over looked unless the eye is in a favourable position or under artificial illumination at the time of examination. Sometimes there is no definite or isolated opacity, but the transparency of the cornea—all over—is impaired by dimness, which is comparable to steamed glass and recognized as"cloudy cornea."Every corneal opacity while it lasts is an unsoundness, but its impor tance varies with the size, position, duration, and probability of removal of the defect and with the class of horse. Small, thin, spot or streak like opacity situated towards the corneal border is of minor importance in light harness and heavy draught horses which usually wear a winker bridle, though some horse owners strongly object to purchase an animal with a corneal opacity. It is most serious in saddle-horses—hacks and hunters—though frequently horsemen attach little importance to this defect when the horse in all other respects is suitable for the purpose required. Corneal opacity may cause shying, and in hunters it may lead to accident in jumping. Recent corneal opacities properly treated seldom extend their borders; they tend to become smaller and clearer, and eventually transparent, though sometimes they increase in density, and a dense opacity is likely to be per manent. Even a"whip-mark"which at first is not completely opaque may result in per manent limited opacity of the cornea.
Cataract or opacity of the lens or its capsule is usually regarded by horse owners as a more serious defect than opacity of the cornea. This view may be due to experience of horses with cataractous eyes or to information concerning the effects of commencing cataract in the human eye. Probably, like man, the horse realizes the alteration in vision produced by incipient cataract, though frequently the existence of small cataract is not manifested by symptoms of impaired sight.
Cataracts vary in size from a mere speck or pin's head to a conspicuous patch of opacity, or, m some instances, a completely opaque lens. Occasionally two or more cataracts are present in one eye. The larger opacities obstruct vision, but the smaller may not seriously interfere with the horse's usefulness for any class of work. The position as well as the size of the cataract should be considered in advising the purchaser of an affected horse. Centrally placed opacities, even when small or difficult to discover, are often associated with hesitating movements and shying, while peripherally placed small opacities appear to have little influence on the horse's behaviour in harness or under saddle. Cataract may be due to heredity or to injury or disease of the eye. Every cataract constitutes an un soundness, and the importance of the opacity largely depends on the probability of its extension or increase resulting in blindness. Congenital cataract seldom undergoes any appreciable alteration during life, and acquired small opacity of the lens, when arising from accident or injury to the eye, may remain un altered for many years. Cataract resulting from an attack of specific ophthalmia is a very uncertain defect. In most cases the opacity extends and eventually the whole lens becomes involved, a termination which is hastened by every subsequent attack of ophthalmia. Years may elapse between the inception of cataract and complete loss of sight, though sometimes within six months the lens is no longer trans parent. In forming an estimate of the risk in purchasing a horse with cataract, the examiner should assure himself that the defect is really a lenticular opacity and not a spurious cataract or the product of a recent attack of ophthalmia. Spurious cataract is the term applied to a small mass of fibrinous exudate in the aqueous humour, more or less obstructing the pupil, and free or floating or attached to the iris or the capsule of the lens. This sort of opacity in time tends to diminish and disappear, but it should always be regarded as a serious defect, for its presence indicates antecedent disease of the interior of the eyeball. The various methods employed in the detection of opacity and other defects of the eyes are described under"Diseases of the Eye"(p. 743 et seq.), to which the reader may refer for further information. Here it is desirable to state that of the many methods of examining the eyes of the horse the most reliable in routine practice is that which is carried out in natural light, the horse facing north, standing under an arch or in a doorway, while the eye under examination is shaded by means of a black hat, fan, or shield held in front of the orbit. By this method the examiner with average vision will be able to discover defects of the cornea, iris, and lens, and in any doubtful case he can make a further examination by resorting to the ophthalmoscope or to the catoptric test. Faint opacities of the cornea and minute cataracts are less likely to escape observation than immobility of the iris—a condition which is sometimes over looked. While the horse is under examination the examiner has many opportunities of noting the activity of the iris. A glance at the pupils before the horse leaves the stable, followed by another view of the eyes after the horse has been brought outside, or on pulling it up after the test for wind, should enable the examiner to judge the condition of the iris.
In aged mares and geldings, and perhaps more frequently in stud horses, the pupil gives a whitish or bluish reflection which is suggestive of cataract, though usually the lens is quite free of definite opacity. This peculiar appear ance is due to defective refraction of some of the lens layers, the light being partially reflected owing to increased density of the cortex or of some of its laminae. The bluish-white reflection is more noticeable as the cortex layers increase in density or more closely approach the condi tion of the nucleus. It is a sign of retrogression, quite consistent with advancing age, and in the stallion the change appears to be hastened by masturbation and much service at the stud. Under the catoptric test the transparency of the lens is somewhat impaired, the middle and deep images of the flame are blurred or badly defined, but in most cases no isolated opacity can be discovered. In the absence of a definite opacity, duplication or blurring of the images of the flame should not be considered as amount ing to an unsoundness. The horse's sight may not be perfect, it may be slightly impaired, but ' it is likely to continue serviceable for many years.
Blindness due to cataract offers little or no difficulty in diagnosis. Blindness (amaurosis) of both eyes is more easily recognized than blindness of one eye, especially when the loss of arises from paralysis. In any case of suspected one-sided blindness the sound eye should be carefully covered while the suspected eye is under examination. The usual tests should be applied indoors or in a calm atmos phere. In the trot a blind horse lifts its feet rather high and its ears are in constant motion. In walking or trotting over small obstacles and a white cloth placed on the ground it should blunder at the first and show no sign of boggling at the second. In certain cases a further test may be tried: With the points of two or three fingers firmly tap its face below the suspected eye, then make a feint to repeat the stroke and note the effect on the horse of the two move ments. Repeat the stroke on the face and the feint to strike, and follow this by directing a finger on the cornea—a movement which few seeing eyes will tolerate.
Age. In judging the age of the horse, atten tion is given chiefly to the lower incisors and particularly to the corner teeth, which are the youngest in the mouth. The tushes are too variable in eruption and wear, and, in the mare, too rudimentary to afford reliable information, and the molar teeth are only referred to in very young animals in which, owing to various causes, the indications of age furnished by the tem porary incisors may be doubtful. The age of thoroughbreds can be ascertained from the General Stud Book, and in many instances that of shires, hackneys, and other pedigree horses from the stud books of the respective breeds. In the United Kingdom the age of thorough breds is reckoned from January 1 and that of half-bred horses from May 1, but in New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa the date is August 1.
In practice it is customary to qualify the estimated age of any horse examined a month or two before or after the recognized date of birth by adding"rising"or"off"to the stated age. Thus a horse described as rising five is one approaching the age of five years, or nearer five than four, while one described as five years off is a few months over five years old.
Thoroughbreds may be described as"aged" after six, and other horses after eight years. The temporary incisors should be carefully distinguished from the permanent teeth.
Compared with the permanent the temporary incisors are shorter and whiter; they have a constriction or neck between the fang and the free portion or crown, a shallow depression or cup on the table or wearing surface, but are not grooved on the anterior surface—that next the lip. The permanent incisors have no con striction or neck, but they have a deep cup, "mark,"or infundibulum on the wearing surface or table and a vertical groove on the labial aspect. Distinction is readily made when both temporary and permanent teeth coexist, but temporary incisors alone, especially in ponies, may mislead the examiner, and a two year - old may be mistaken for a five-year-old mouth. Occasionally difficulty arises in judging the correct age of a colt or filly owing to the state of the temporary incisors, which may not be very different at the ages of one and two years old. When doubt exists, the number of molar teeth in position should be ascertained. At one year, four molars—three temporary and one permanent—should be found on each side of the lower jaw, and at two years a fifth molar—the second permanent - should be cut or coming into position.
Galvayne's groove, a shallow vertical depres sion on the outer surface of the upper corner tooth, when rightly interpreted, is a very useful guide in judging the age of old horses. It appears at nine, close to the gum, and pro gressively lengthens with age or wear of the tooth or as it is pushed from its socket. At the age of twenty or twenty-one this groove extends to the edge of the wearing surface or table, and its upper extremity is just beneath the gum or receding from it. After this period the space existing between the gum and the upper extremity of the groove approxi mately indicates the age up to thirty years or more. In some horses this groove is absent or badly defined. In very old age the lower incisors viewed from the side are almost hori zontal, very much diminished in curvature and transverse diameter. The peripheral enamel is extremely thin, especially at the posterior border of the wearing surface, which is triangular, and the dental star forms a rounded mark on the centre of the table. The fangs, which in early life were inclined towards the mesial line of the jaw, are now parallel, the crowns converging, and the spaces between the teeth are occupied by triangular projections of the gum.
Parrot mouth, or overshot jaw, and the rare condition pig-mouth, whether due to excessive length of the jaw or teeth or to restricted development of one jaw, are deformities which vary greatly in degree and in their effects on the wearing surface of the incisor teeth. In many instances the age can only be guessed or approximately estimated. Cribbing, too, may so alter the incisor teeth as to cause much diffi culty in fixing the age of the horse. Cribbing usually results in conspicuous wear of the anterior border of the tables, but sometimes the posterior border is also worn, and in horses which have the habit of rubbing the teeth on the manger or playing with the collar chain the wear may be vertical or between the crowns of the teeth.
Bishoping is less extensively practised now than formerly, probably because less attention is paid to the mark or cup as the principal indi cation of age. Bishoping consists in giving the appearance of younger age to the teeth of an old horse. The teeth are filed, shortened, and trimmed into good shape, and a small excava tion is made in each table by means of a burr, fine chisel, or gouge, the artificial mark being darkened by applying silver nitrate or the point of a special cautery. However artistically executed, the sham marks of Bishoped teeth are easily recognized. In the closed mouth the tables of the upper and lower incisors do not correspond, spaces exist in front between the arches, the false mark is devoid of a circle of enamel and its margin is not in relief. The trace —if any exist—of the genuine mark is posterior to the false one; the shape of the tables is not in keeping with the size and position of the artificial mark, and, generally, there are indi cations of the use of a file on the incisors and on the Lushes, which are shortened, sharpened, and very nicely trimmed.
(For further information, 1094-99.) Wind.The principal unsoundnesses of wind are whistling, roaring, broken wind, wheezing or thick wind, chronic cough, and sometimes grunting. Other objectionable respiratory sounds are emitted under exertion by some horses, but unless the particular noise can be connected with disease, injury, operation, or acquired alteration of structure it should not be regarded as a sign of unsoundness of wind. Trumpeting, snorting, and flapping the wing of the nostril are bad habits or vices, offensive to many horse-owners, but without appreciable influence on the efficiency of respiration. High blowing may be due to excitement, showing condition, or freshness in a horse of high courage. It should disappear under exercise or as the horse settles down to steady going. Grunting is a peculiar noise produced in forced expiration by some horses when suddenly struck or threatened with a stick directed to their ribs. Such horses may grunt in jumping—rising or landing at a fence, when starting a load, or in lying down or rolling in the loose box. More attention has been given to grunting since the revival of the laryngeal operation for the relief of roaring. Horses which were affected with roaring or whistling but quite free of grunting before undergoing this operation, grunt badly after its performance, and usually the noise emitted by the habitual pre-operation grunter is very much aggravated by the surgical treat ment. This strongly suggests that horses in which grunting can be connected with the laryngeal operation or its effects should be regarded as unsound in wind, though probably such horses when galloped will emit a modified whistle or roar and be rejected as unsound apart from any question as to grunting. Horses that have not been subjected to any sort of laryngeal operation may or may not grunt when threatened or otherwise tested. Some grunt and, when extended, also roar or whistle; others whistle or roar but do not grunt at any time; while many grunt but neither whistle nor roar.' Roaring and whistling only differ from each other in the timbre of the sound, which is higher pitched in whistling than roaring. Both sounds are emitted during the intake of air or inspira tion, and in most instances, probably 99 per cent of chronic roaring or whistling, they are due to partial respiratory obstruction arising from passive movements of the arytenoid carti lage or paralysis of the dilator muscles of the larynx. Roaring, more or less acute, may be temporary and symptomatic of laryngitis, pharyngitis, nasal obstruction, strangles, glan ders, impaction of the guttural pouch, purpura, influenza, pneumonia, and other diseases, but horses affected with one or another of these diseases are very seldom submitted to examina tion for soundness. Occasionally roaring or whistling is due to a cause acting mechanically by compressing the larynx as a tight throat lash or bearing-rein, a severe bit, or excessive flexion of the head on the neck.
Rarely chronic roaring or whistling may be intermittent and dependent on the condition of the horse at the time of examination. But alleged intermittency of either defect should always be regarded as doubtful until a thorough test of the horse's wind has been made. A horse that has been idle and not exercised for some time may plainly whistle under very slight effort the first time he is tried for wind, and at subsequent tests the sound may be indistinct, Further information on grunting and its relation to roaring or whistling may be found in The Jour. Comp. Path. and Therapeut., vol. ix. pp. loud, or it may require longer exertion for its production, but as a rule the horse is not sound in wind. Idleness, gastric or abdominal distension, indigestion, and constipation tem porarily influence the quality of the sound, making it louder and more easily elicited. Careful exercise and judicious feeding also have an influence in certain cases of roaring or whist ling by diminishing the noise so that it is less audible or less easily provoked. Roaring may be modified or, as is said,"greatly improved"by the laryngeal operation, but very few roarers or whistlers are cured or rendered quite free of noisy respiration by this treatment. The general result is subdued roaring, mainly differing from the pre-operation sound by lowness of pitch and in many instances by duplication, the noise being emitted during both inspiration and expiration. And a more satisfactory result can hardly be expected from the current laryngeal operation. Excision of the mucosa of the ven tricle of one or both sides of the larynx in order to effect closure or obliteration of the pouch, with consequent removal of the cause by which the arytenoid cartilage is pushed towards the air passage, would seem to be based on faulty conception of laryngeal function. Operators appear to assume that the ventricle is distended by the intake of air and that its distension is responsible for the arytenoid obstructing inspira tion, but the fact is, the ventricle is virtually empty during inspiration or when roaring is produced, and is only distended with air during expiration, in the same way as are the other accessory cavities connected with the respira tory tract. Fixation of the passive arytenoid on one side or both is necessary to the pre vention of the noise and distress, and when this can be effected without resulting deformity of the larynx, some method of laryngeal operation will supersede tracheotomy for the relief of roaring.
The origin of roaring or whistling in a horse may be due to heredity or it may be unknown. The noise may arise quite suddenly, without premonitory symptoms or any sign of illness, and this should excite no surprise, for in animals as in man the inception of paralysis is often sudden and not associated with a known or an efficient cause. Sometimes, however, there is knowledge of the horse having had a cough or a common cold with slight nasal discharge or sore throat a few weeks prior to the beginning of the noise. In many instances the occurrence of roaring is preceded by a more or less severe attack of strangles or other systemic disease.
The duration of chronic roaring or whistling in any case can very seldom be determined with accuracy, and in most cases unaccompanied by signs or traces of causative or coincident disease, estimates of the age of the defect can only be approximate. When roaring or whistling is only discovered two or three months after the date of purchase of the horse, it is inequitable for the buyer to insist that the horse must have been unsound in wind at the date of sale. The inception of the defect cannot be established by belated discovery, and although the purchaser may be quite conscientious in making his claim, the necessary proof cannot be obtained. Cases in which the defect of wind has been discovered within a few days or a week or so of the date of purchase are usually less difficult to decide. The condition of the horse, his behaviour while undergoing the test for wind and the character of the noise are helpful in forming an opinion of the duration of whistling or roaring. The progress of roaring and whistling varies con siderably in different horses, depending in some measure upon the animal's constitution, the state of his blood circulation, and the nature of his daily work. Idleness or insufficient exercise tends to aggravate roaring, as happens some times with stallions which at the beginning of their stud career were only thick-winded. Roaring, slight at its inception, may rapidly become worse and render the horse unfit for fast or heavy work. Moderate roaring in some horses undergoes little or no variation for many years. Occasionally a moderate roarer im proves, that is, he makes less noise and exhibits less distress under exertion. A whistler may become a roarer, but a roarer seldom or never becomes a whistler. Whistling is much more likely than roaring to remain stationary, without modification or increase of the sound. A slight whistler may only whistle slightly throughout a long life. As a rule, roaring or whistling is contracted before maturity or before the horse completes his fifth year, but there are many exceptions, and age alone has no controlling influence on the occurrence of unsound wind. Roaring, probably because it induces greater respiratory distress in fast or heavy work, is more likely than whistling to affect the horse's condition. Roarers doing heavy work may con tinue thin though well fed; others well fed and not overworked may be distinctly emaciated because of defective wind and impaired circula tion. The distress arising from roaring reacts on the heart and lungs, and if relief be not afforded the horse remains in poor condition.
Thick wind or wheezing is common in aged horses that are well fed, underworked, or not sufficiently exercised. Fat horses, especially ponies, are often wheezers. It is a chronic defect, and one that is more likely to increase than diminish, though care in feeding and regular exercise may bring about considerable improve ment of the horse's wind. Wheezing may be due to thickening or edema of the mucous lining of the bronchial tubes, larynx, or trachea, or occasionally to bronchial spasm. Thick wind may arise from a common cold, sore throat, laryngitis, strangles, bronchial catarrh, or a mild attack of pneumonia, and sometimes it is asso ciated with limited emphysema of the lungs and cardiac dilatation. It may coexist with roaring or whistling and chronic cough, and frequently it is the forerunner of asthma or broken wind. Though not usually regarded as hereditary it is a serious unsoundness of wind becauSe of its persistence and probable sequelae.
Broken wind is common in ponies, and it occurs in worn hunters, hacks, harness or draught horses—light and heavy. It is an affection of middle and advanced age. In broken wind there is a characteristic cough, the movement of the flank in expiration is double, the lungs are more or less emphysematous and, in chronic or estab lished cases, there is dilatation of the right heart and of the stomach, with indigestion, flatulence, and drooping of the belly—symptoms strongly suggesting functional derangement of the vagus nerve. Broken wind varies much in degree or in its effect on the horse's capacity for ordinary work in harness or saddle. It is a progressive disease, becoming gradually worse in most cases, but it can be checked to some extent by careful dieting and intelligent employment of the horse, especially just after a full meal. As a rule the subjects of broken wind are remarkably good feeders, some have a voracious appetite, though they seldom appear in first-rate condition, being often hidebound, with a dull, dirty coat. For a limited distance, as a mile or so, many badly broken-winded horses are as good as ever they were in pace and action, provided they are not puShed on a full stomach. Longer effort tires them, they lean on the bit, lose energy, and are soon fatigued if not quite exhausted. At rest in the stable the horse's breathing varies a good deal, depending on the quality and quantity of his rations and the state of his digestion. Out side, at work, the dyspncea is always aggravated by thick, foggy weather.
Broken wind may be recognized by noting the character of the horse's cough and by watching the movement of his flank. The peculiar, hollow, wheezing cough is diagnostic of broken wind. It may be heard while the horse is feeding, or thinking, and at exercise, or on pulling up, and usually it can be produced by compressing the larynx. It is exceedingly difficult, if not im possible, to suppress the cough for any great length of time, and although horse-copers are said to be able temporarily to disguise the double flank movement by dosing the horse with atro pine, hyoscyamus, opium, lead, or lard, there is no sure method of concealing the cough. Double movement of the flank in expiration generally points to broken wind, though in rare cases it may be due to hydrothorax, lung consolidation, or diaphragmatic hernia. In any doubtful case, when the cough is uncertain, confirmation may be found by resorting to auscultation or per cussion of the chest, or by severely exercising the horse. A horse that has been doped for the purpose of disguising an infirmity of wind is always sluggish, he refuses to go freely, and usually, while under the influence of drugs, his sight is dull and his pupils are dilated. In the gallop, a broken-winded horse, even when doped, emits a harsh, wheezing or snuffling noise. On pulling up after a thorough test for wind he exhibits abnormal movement of the flank, and very probably emits at the same time the peculiar cough, which cannot be concealed. Broken wind coexisting with roaring or whistling may lead to hesitation in diagnosis, and sometimes the rejection of a horse as unsound is based on only one of these defects, as during the gallop the harsh respiration of broken wind may be masked by the more audible sound of whistling or roaring, while, the cough being absent, no attention is paid to the movements of the flank.
Chronic cough is generally regarded as more important than any other because of its per manency and the frequency with which it appears to precede whistling, roaring, or broken wind. But any sort of cough, dry or moist, of recent or remote origin, constitutes an un soundness while it lasts. Acute recent or tem porary coughing may be associated with nasal catarrh, strangles, pharyngitis, laryngitis, bron chitis, or other respiratory affection. Chronic cough is one of the most annoying defects of the horse. Fortunately it is not common, for it is seldom curable. Usually it is a short, dry, high-pitched cough, repeated more or less fre quently at long or short intervals, inside and outside the stable, without apparent or dis coverable cause. It is said to be a"nervous cough"and due to laryngeal irritation, though often it is unaccountable. Chronic cough in any horse may disappear during the summer and return in the winter. In young horses it may be connected with the eruption of permanent molar teeth. It is met with oftener in light than heavy and aged than young horses. Its effects on the horse vary; often they are slight and even after many months not very noticeable. In some cases the most conspicuous effect is slowly progressive loss of condition. In time, when the cough persists, whistling, wheezing, or broken wind is the usual termination. Chronic cough may be suspected, but it cannot with certainty be distinguished from any other similar cough, and no one can positively esti mate its probable duration. In practice, when a horse, suspected of chronic cough, is found free of all other respiratory defects, and is otherwis6 suitable for the purpose required, the intending purchaser should be advised to obtain from the vendor a special warranty covering the cough for a reasonable time or long enough to permit of the horse's recovery from an ordinary or temporary cough.
Testing the Horse's Wind.Various methods are employed according to the circumstances existing at the time of examination. Lung ing properly carried out is a very searching test and quite suitable for either light or heavy horses. For unbroken animals lunging in a straw-yard or paddock, or turning the colt loose in a small field or a large riding school and hustling it round and round repeatedly, is usually sufficient, the turning and twisting of the horse moving at a rapid pace being very effective in eliciting the symptoms of unsound wind. Saddle and light harness horses may be galloped or lunged, and heavy draught animals may be lunged or galloped, or yoked singly or with another horse to a loaded or braked van and driven a distance at a smart trot over rising ground. Horses intended for fast work (hunters, race-horses, polo ponies, hacks) should be severely tested by galloping on soft ground and, if desir able, the examiner himself may ride the horse. The riding examiner learns something of the horse's manners, his mouth and mode of gallop ing, but in a high wind he may easily miss slight whistling, which the walking examiner, provided he has selected a good position, is more likely to hear as the horse gallops past him or when it is pulled up. As well-bred horses sometimes only whistle when moving at a slow pace it is advisable to begin the test by slowly cantering them to the right and left in a circle of about twenty yards radius, then subjecting them to a splitting gallop, finishing, if possible, at the top of rising ground. Some horses only make a noise at the beginning, others at the close of a prolonged gallop. The distance to be covered or the time required in a fair test cannot be fixed, because sound and unsound winded horses vary greatly in stamina and general condition. In every case the test should be thorough, or in other words, the horse should be kept going until the examiner is satisfied that its wind is either sound or unsound. Roarers as a rule give little difficulty, but whistlers, and especially alleged intermittent whistlers, require very patient testing. Many slight whistlers, which emit no abnormal sound when galloping, will be heard distinctly whistling within a minute or two after pulling up. Galloping may be sup plemented by coughing the horse and noting the character of the cough, but in the absence of distinct whistling, wheezing, or roaring, this test is only reliable in cases of broken wind."Bulling"or"ribbing the horse"to ascertain if he is a grunter has gained importance, as already mentioned, since the resuscitation of the laryngeal operation for roaring. The examiner must see that the horse is free from roaring, whistling, wheezing, broken wind, and any other discoverable infirmity of respiration, but he should not be too anxious to anticipate con tingencies or too apprehensive as to its future soundness. Having made a careful examination of the horse he should decide there and then whether or not it is sound in wind.
Some horse dealers strongly object to the test for wind. They seem to imagine that the rapid exercise of galloping may be injurious to the horse's health, perhaps forgetting that if the horse were at liberty in a field it would probably gallop freely of its own accord. In a long ex perience the writer has found that when a horse is fit for work it is also capable of undergoing the usual test for wind without detriment or risk of suffering immediately from any ailment. Horse dealers occasionally object to the test because they know the horse is unsound in wind, while others more astute oppose the test and offer to guarantee the wind, though they know quite well that without lunging, galloping, or other test the state of the horse's wind cannot be ascertained. Lunging or galloping not only serves to answer the question as to the horse's wind but also furnishes the examiner with useful information regarding the limbs and action, as the enforced exercise usually accentuates the symptoms of slight or doubtful lameness which otherwise might be overlooked. Intermittent lameness like that due to aortic or iliac throm bosis requires for its manifestation rapid and sometimes prolonged exercise of the horse.
Blemishes, scars, marks of firing, etc., should not be neglected, because they depreciate the market value of the horse, and the purchaser may not be satisfied with an examination which ignores obvious defects. Chipped knees, capped hock or elbow, fired hocks, torn eyelid or lip, and in hunters and polo ponies bumped fetlocks and scarred coronets or pasterns, are amongst the commoner blemishes of horses. Firing marks may be very unsightly, and, though some times a hock has been fired with the object of strengthening it or preventing curb or spavin, the existence of such marks should induce the examiner to be extra careful in his palpation of the blemished part. Many blemishes are close to the border-line of unsoundness, and the examiner in giving his verdict should take into consideration the class of horse, its age, the kind of work it must perform, and its action. But unless the blemish diminishes or is likely to interfere with the natural usefulness of the horse it should not be regarded as unsoundness. Frequently, blemishes which may be considered of small importance are included with the horse's marks of identification, a practice which, when advisable, is usually quite satisfactory to the intending purchaser.
Vices and Habits, dangerous or not. These are many and of varying importance, but only a few need be referred to here. Cribbing or wind-sucking may be inveterate and so advanced in its effects on the horse's health as to consti tute unsoundness; otherwise it is a vice. A horse may crib by seizing the manger, collar shank, or any projection in the stall or loose-box, or it may use a knee or other part of a limb as the point of support for its chin. A wind sucking horse is said to"crib in the air,"that is, without seizing any object or supporting the chin, and the habit produces no abnormal wear of the teeth. A cribber wears the anterior or posterior border of the incisors or the vertical spaces between these teeth. If the cribber or wind-sucker is unthrifty and hidebound it should be rejected, and either vice in a horse of good condition should be mentioned, as the habit is almost certain sooner or later to have a deleterious influence on the animal's health. Although excessive wear of the borders of the incisors is not always caused by cribbing it is strongly suggestive of that vice, and the examiner should not fail to report the state of the teeth. Wind-sucking may not be observed while the horse is under examination, but a chronic case may show marks of a throat-strap or other preventive contrivance. Licking, a variety of depraved appetite, is another bad habit which may or may not amount to unsoundness. It is incurable, though the horse may continue serviceable for many years. Weaving, whether acquired through prolonged idleness or by imita tion of a weaving-horse, wears the fore limbs and leads to an unsteady gait. It is a bad habit which, unfortunately, may escape discovery until after the purchase of the horse. Vicious to shoe is a serious vice, and, when proved, sufficient to justify the return of the horse to the vendor even when a warranty of freedom from vice has not been obtained at the time of purchase. But it is necessary to be sure that the horse is really vicious to shoe, and the usual course followed in such cases is to send the horse to two or three different farriers for this pur pose. Other vices or bad habits are: restive ness or restlessness, eagerness to start, jibbing in harness, backing when yoked, biting the rider, kicking, riggishness, running away either from fear or temper, vicious to groom, bolting food, slipping the head-collar, not lying down, stum bling, tripping, overreaching, forging or clicking, etc. Any vice or bad habit which seriously im pairs the natural usefulness of the horse may be regarded as unsoundness, hut in many instances the fault is insufficient to disqualify on that ground alone, and in the absence of a warranty of freedom from vice or bad habit the buyer has no remedy at law.
Conformation.Opinion regarding the horse's conformation, which may be good or bad, is often a mere expression of taste or fancy and very seldom based on knowledge of anatomical structure. Horses of all shapes, some very unpromising, go well and last long, giving satisfaction, and buyers are not agreed as to the best or most useful formation of any part of the horse for work or wear. This is fortunate in the vendor's view, as otherwise there would be a poor market for horses not conforming to the buyer's standard. The examining veter inary surgeon should not concern himself with conformation, except in rare instances, as cases of parrot mouth, flat feet, turned-in toes, etc., when he may find it necessary to reject the horse. He should restrict his attention to the horse's utility and leave any question regarding its elegance, perfection of form or the opposite to the buyer. A horse should not, as a rule, be rejected because of bad shape, but when the veterinary surgeon is instructed to examine and, if advisable, to purchase the animal, he must exercise his judgment of conformation as well as soundness.
Veterinary Opinion.In making the examina tion the veterinary surgeon is expected to exercise reasonable care, skill, and intelligence.
He is only responsible for his opinion to his employer or the person who pays the examina tion fee. Responsibility is naturally increased when acting for the buyer and somewhat lessened when acting for the vendor, as the latter is unlikely to find fault with a favourable or too lenient opinion, while the former may be very particular, insisting on being informed of every sort of discoverable defect of the horse. When acting for buyer and seller jointly the vete rinary surgeon is equally responsible to either party in the event of a dispute as to the horse's soundness. When employed as general adviser or agent to the intending purchaser the veterinary surgeon occupies a considerably dif ferent position, his function is enlarged, and he should act for his employer as he would for himself. He should be guided to some extent in his examination by the class of horse and the purpose for which it is required. He should not expect the same cleanness of limb in a made hunter or a seasoned harness horse as in a younger or untried animal, and, as a rule, he should make due allowance for the effects of work and wear in all horses over six years old. Aged horses of any class are likely to have several defects, but so long as they are free of serious disease or deformity, and, in the examiner's opinion, promise to prove satisfac tory at work for a reasonable time, while an unqualified certificate of soundness may be withheld, probably one of serviceable soundness can be given. Inexperienced buyers too often insist upon buying only"a sound horse," refusing to consider one that may be quite serviceable though technically unsound. They should be advised to modify their views of soundness, and reminded that the horse, like man, varies greatly in his lease of vitality or capacity for work, and that a well preserved horse, though not altogether sound, may prove far more durable than an untried sound one. Horse buyers are apt to forget that veterinary surgeons are specially trained to assist them in this matter, and that if more reliance were placed on their advice there would be fewer disap pointed horse owners.
The opinion may be stated orally or in writing, and the written opinion may take the form of a certificate, report, or letter of advice. Some veterinary surgeons never give a certificate because they consider that a report or an explanatory letter is more acceptable to their clients, while others, and they form the majority, give a certificate—a definite opinion of the horse's soundness, which in every way is much more satisfactory to both buyer and seller.
The certified opinion should include one of the following terms: unsound, sound, service ably sound, serviceable for the purpose required; or as variants, workably, or practically sound, according to the view of the examiner. Some times under mistaken effort to avoid the con sequences of error or negligence in making the examination the veterinary surgeon substitutes"no unsoundness"for sound, or"I find no unsoundness"for I find the horse sound, but this practice, when not illusory, is futile and ill-advised. The examining veterinary surgeon undertakes to perform a certain duty for an expert's fee, and if he has confidence in his judgment he should not hesitate to certify in plain and unmistakable terms that he finds the horse sound or unsound. He cannot hope to escape the penalty of incompetence, negligence, or bias by resorting to subterfuge or circum locution in giving his opinion of the horse's soundness or unsoundness. He can only dis charge his obligations to his employer by stat ing fully all the discoverable defects of the horse, qualifying or explaining their importance according to his judgment and experience, but nothing short of this will enable him to preserve reputation or avoid actions for negli gence. Nor is the so-called protection clause, sometimes appended to the certificate, of any value. This clause, in effect, states that the veterinary surgeon refuses to accept liability for errors of description or of opinion regarding the horse. It is a confession of weakness, incapacity, or, at best, trepidation. Without protective effect it is superfluous, and its use should be discontinued as it is more likely to diminish than increase the buyer's faith in the proficiency and integrity of the examiner.
Certificates. Certificates may be partly printed and partly written or wholly written on plain or ornamented paper, bearing the examiner's professional address. The phrase ology should be clear and intelligible and not misleading. Many slightly different forms are employed, but any form that gives in readable order the name of the person for whom the examination is made, the age, sex, class, height, colour, and markings of the horse, its defects, qualified or not, with the opinion of the examiner will be sufficient. It is not imperative though customary to begin the certificate with I hereby certify"or"I this day certify"or even"I certify,"the main thing is to state the facts clearly and concisely. A copy of the certificate should be retained or the particulars entered on the counterfoil.
The marks of identification may be embodied in the certificate, immediately following the age and sex of the horse, or placed separately at the end. In addition to the colour of the horse's coat marks of recognition should in clude the most noticeable markings on the head, trunk, and limbs, and any peculiar or striking feature of any part, as lop ears, slit ear, notched eyelid, wall-eye, fawn-eye, torn lip, slit nostril, scars, blemishes, prominences, indentations, mule feet, calf knees, buck knees, sickle hocks, ewe neck, star gazing, etc. Care should be taken in describing the colour of the horse. The colour of the body and limbs may not corre spond to that of the muzzle, but in any case of doubt the colour of the muzzle controls the description. An old grey horse may appear white, but white is only recognized in spots or patches. A wholly white coat is always called grey. A light bay may be confused with a light chestnut or a dun, and a roan with a grey. A dark chestnut or a dark brown may appear black except on the muzzle, and a dun may be very like a bay or a chestnut, but the"mule stripe"on the back or zebra markings on the limbs of the accepted dun should be helpful. Bays vary considerably, as do chestnuts and roans, but with a little attention to the colours they can be readily distinguished. Dappling of any colour should be mentioned. Piebald is restricted to association of black and white, While skewbald is applied to various combina tions of white with bay, brown or chestnut or any colour except black. A coat spotted like a Dalmatian dog and other combinations of colour - often seen in circus horses—are described as"odd coloured."A"star"is an isolated spot, patch, or streak of white on the forehead. It may be a large, small, faint, broken, or cres centic star, or, when extended towards the face by a short, narrow line, a star and stripe. White confined to a portion of the muzzle, nostril wing, chin, or either lip is a useful mark. A snip or short, narrow, tapering streak of white on upper or lower lip, nose or chin, and flesh markings on the muzzle are very distinctive. White on the face is less useful for the reason that there is no agreement as to the exact position or extent of white indicated by the names list, stripe, streak, race, and blaze. A"white face"is one wholly white. Other marks like"socks,"" stockings,"white foot, white heel, and white coronet are well known. The tail may be docked or undocked, or it may carry grey hairs. The mane also may have grey hairs or it may be"hogged." The height of the horse may be guessed or it may be measured by standard. J. M.