Press Bulletin No. 58.
[By C. F. DAWSON, Station Veterinarian.]
Forage Poisoning, otherwise known under the names
cerelro-spinlal melninitis, _grass-staffers, or blind-stag-
_ers is a disease which occurs not only in Florida every
summer but also over a large portion of the Central and
Eastern parts of the United States. In Florida, it seems
to occur oftenest along the East Coast. As the name in-
dicates, it is caused by poisonous plants, or more strictly
speaking, by diseased forage, such as fermenting grains
and hay. or by grasses which have matted together near
the ground and become mouldy. Sour or mouldy silage
has also produced the disease, as has also stagnant pond-
water in which vegetation is decomposing. Mouldy or
worm-oaten corn has also come in for its share of blame
Oct. 1, 1905.
as a cause. It affects horses and mules of all ages alike.
The symptoms are as variable as the cause, and ac-
cording to their nature we recognize three types of the dis-
ease. In the firsttype, the most rapidly fatal, there oc-
curs a weak, staggering gait, partial or complete paralysis
of the throat, blindness, twitching of the muscles, and no
fever, as a rule. The animal soon goes down, becomes
delirious and goes through the movements of walking,
trotting or running while on its side. This stage is soon
succeeded by deep coma, and the animal quietly expires
in a few hours from the onset of the disease. The second
type is first manifested by slowness in chewing, partial in-
ability to swallow, and weakness in the tail. There is no
pain or fever. The breathing and pulse are about nor-
mal, and a slight constipation exists. In two or three
days the animal recovers, or all the foregoing symptoms
are increased in severity. The throat paralysis is com-
pleto, the gait uncertain, coma or sleepiness appears, the
pulse is weak and slow, the breathing is labored; Deli-
rium now develops, the animal goes down, the spine be-
comes rigid and there i- cramping of the neck and jaws.
Death occurs in about a week or ten days in these cases.
In the third or mild type, the control of the limbs
and tail is only slightly affected, and the ability to swal-
low is not lost. There is no fever, pain, or unconscious
movements, and the animal shows improvement in four
or five days, ultimately recovering.
In some cases of the disease, spinal paralysis is the
most prominent symptoms, while in others it may be diffi-
culty in swallowing that attracts most attention. In all
cases, if sleepiness or coma remains absent for a week, the
animal will likely recover; but some form of paralysis
may show for a while.
According to the symptom do we find departures
from the normal condition in the brain and spinal cord.
In mild cases, there are no notable changes-in the nervous
system. In others, we note considerable liquid in the
brain and spinal cord cavities, and distention of the blood
vessels. In the severest cases, the brain and spinal cord
will appear softened, and even abscesses may be found.
The object of this artice is only to call attention to
the causes of this disease, so that owners will be more
careful to provide their animals with pure food and drink-
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