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or the effects of the malarial poison on the great nerve centers, or possibly may be caused by the condition of the blood itself. I have often witnessed these same symptoms in horses suffering with influenza, caused by derangement of the biliary apparatus. Hemorrhages are frequently passed with stools in the malarial disease, whilst in staggers the bowels are always inactive; the most drastic cathartics seldom move them. It is true, the urine is occasionally high colored, and may in rare instances contain coloring matter of the blood, but never blood in staggers, and in the great majority of the cases there appears to be a suppressing or retention of urine. Staggers occurs where there never has been a case of hemorrhagic malarial fever, e. g., three or four counties in Virginia Malarial fevers occur in many places in the South where staggers is unknown.
I have given a brief description of Hog Island, in the James River. It is a low, marshy island, and there have been no malarial fevers of any variety on the island for at least four years to the knowledge of the civil engineer, who has lived there that length of time, and he does not think there was ever any fever on the island. He reasons thus :
Here we are, right out in the open river. It is four miles across to the main land on one side, and a background of trees behind us on the other side, and the wind has full play up and down the river. If any malarial poison arises from the marshes the wind comes along and carries it away with a full sweep as soon as the poison ascends and before it has time to do harm.
This must be the explanation, because there are a number of men working at dikes in the fields around the marshes, erecting buildings, making roads, and laying tiles, and no cases of malarial fever occur, whilst on the other hand 3 horses were stricken with staggers within two hours, and I am certain some of the feed was tainted sufficiently to produce disease.
If staggers was properly classified we would have no difficulty in illustrating the difference between it and malarial fevers in a more lucid manner than has been attempted in this paper. The difference between malarial fevers and epidemic cerebro-spinal meningitis has been so thoroughly proved by Southern physicians that those who are acquainted with the facts do not consider the matter at all, and if sta were known to be identical with epizootic cerebro-spinal meningitis the difference could be shown with as much ease.
By concluding that staggers is not due to miasmatic influences, I do not mean to infer that horses are not susceptible to malaria. I firmly believe that they are subject to malarial fevers, and I think I have seen cases of it. I merely hold the opinion that miasmatic influence does not cause staggers, and leave the question open whether horses are susceptible to malaria.
When I advance the idea that staggers may be caused by a fungus on the feed I do not mean to insinuate that I have made a discovery, because I have not. That part must be done by a specialist in that branch of botany, but the evidence of fungi is too plain to be overlooked by any one who thoroughly investigates this matter and all the circumstances connected therewith. I am well aware of the fact that the cryptogamic theory was advanced years ago to account for the origin of malarial and other epidemic fevers, and I know that veterinarians have held the opinion that certain outbreaks of cerebrospinal meningitis were caused by fungi; but in connection with this disease the question of the cause is more circumscribed.
ease is of yearly occurrence in certain localities, and therefore there should be less trouble in getting the subject into a better light. The only thing certain about the matter at present is the fearful loss of horses annually; all else is theory or supposition. I have given you the facts as I have obtained them, along with my own observations. I have given the opinions of others as well as my own views, and have argued the questions according to my ability; not for the sake of argument, but to get the subject into a smaller compass so that in its consideration one would not have to cover so much ground.
In the absence of all knowledge of the pathology of this disease, and as it proves so rapidly fatal (with very rare exceptions), to advise a course of treatment is a speculation I do not care to indulge in at present. To try to prevent is the only course to pursue in the present state of our knowledge. In addition to the opinion I have given as regards the dietetic course I think should be followed, I will add : Horses (or colts) should not be put to or allowed any severe exertion during the hot weather; should be watered, fed, and worked regularly, and at the first sign of indisposition should be taken to the stable and let remain there quietly until the owner is satisfied nothing materially ails the animal; but should he observe any signs of staggering gait, blindness, drowsiness, or difficulty in swallowing water, then administer carefully from six to twelve drams of aloes (if there is much difficulty in swallowing, this is easier said than done), and enjoin perfect quietness ; injections of from one to two ounces of turpentine in warm water into the rectum several times a day; cold applications to the head, warmth to the spine, etc., may be tried. It would be a good idea to watch the state of the bowels carefully, and at the first sign of costiveness administer a laxative, such as four drams of aloes, and this might be done with benefit in the neighborhoods where there is an outbreak. Give, say, four drams of aloes once a week to each horse, and to colts in proportion. Respectfully submitted.
W. H. HARBAUGH, V. S.,
Inspector of Bureau of Animal Industry. RICHMOND, VA., Docember 13, 1886.
THE CATTLE INDUSTRY OF CALIFORNIA.
Hon. NORMAN J. COLMAN,
Commissioner of Agriculture, SIR: In accordance with your instructions, I proceeded to California in October last to make an investigation of the cattle industry and the diseases affecting cattle in that State. The results of that investigation are herewith transmitted to you.
Before the advent of the farmer California was an ideal cattle range from the head of the Sacramento River to the southern line of the State. The broad valleys of the Sacramento and the San Joaquin stretched for hundreds of miles to the north and south, covered here and there with groves of live oak and intersected with fine running streams.
Bordered on the east by the foot-hills of the Sierra Nevadas and on the west by the Coast Range, with dozens of offshoots at various angles, the landscape was more entrancing than artist's imagination could paint. The valleys were one vast field of afalfa, clover, and bunch grass, while the hills on the east were similarly clothed, and those on the west covered with wild oats. The Coast Range of mountains, from a point of 100 miles north of the bay of San Francisco southward, is a pastoral region. Its rounded sides, abrupt bluffs, and towering summits are carpeted with the most nutritious grasses, and afford a world of most excellent range for cattle. The table-lands, mountains, and valleys in the country south of the headof the San Joaquin are quite similar in character to the country above mentioned, save that in many parts the grass is less luxuriant, with occasional stretches of semi-desert.
Before the days of "forty-nine" the Mexican vaquero was there, and hundreds of thousands of cattle roamed at will over the grassy plains or climbed the hill-sides.
Previous to the influx of the gold hunters, the cattle were slaughtered for their hides and tallow, these being shipped by vessel around Cape Horn to New York and Europe. This practice prevailed for some years after the American settlement, because there were more cattle than the market demanded. The population of the coast rapidly increased and the gold mines naturally drew to them a portion of those engaged in cattle raising, so that for a few years the herds were neglected and a very material decrease in the number of cattle occurred up to about 1854. About this time large numbers of the new settlers engaged in the ranching business, and the herds rapidly multiplied. By 1862 there were so many cattle in the State that the question of a market was a very serious one. The annual consumption was estimated at 400,000 head, and the annual increase was 600,000. The range being full, this annual surplus of 200,000 coming on had to be disposed of in some way. Accordingly cattle men's conventions were called at several places in the State during the winter of 1862–63 to consider the situation. These were the pioneor conventions of this character.) The results of these deliberations were a determination to erect slaughter-houses in both the north and the south, where cattle should be killed for their hides and tallow in such numbers as would consume the surplus of production. Each ranch man was to contribute to these slaughtering pens in proportion to the number of his herd, so that the losses should be on an equitable basis.
But just as the arrangements for the carrying out of this plan were being shaped, drought set in and the year 1864 witnessed the death of so many cattle from starvation that the equilibrium between production and consumption was more than restored; hence the plan was abandoned.
The discovery of gold in eastern Oregon and Washington Territory (now Idaho) in the autumn of 1862 caused a great influx of people into that previously unoccupied country. These had to be fed, and a few enterprising ranch men from California hastened hither with large herds of beef steers. These were wintered on the white sage and tall rye grass of the Snake River country, and it was thus demonstrated that cattle would live during winter in all that northern region with small loss. Here, then, was an outlet for the starving herds of California when the great drought was so rapidly and repeatedly decimating them.
Thousands upon thousands died on the plains while their owners were hoping and praying for rain, and thousands more died on the trail leading to pastures new.
With the return of the seasons to their normal conditions, and the adjustment of the herds to their somewhat changed relations, a new trouble arose. The State legislature passed a herd or no-fence law. This required the owners of cattle to fence them in or herd them off the land of others, while at the same time it permitted settlers to plant crops on the open prairies and made cattle owners responsible for damage done to growing crops on unfenced lands. lands.
The result of the passage of this law was the driving of most of the cattle men out of the State, for the reason that the expense of close herding and the trespass suits consumed all the profits in the business. A few men, who had grown rich, succeeding in purchasing large tracts of land from the holders of Spanish grants that had been confirmed, and were thus enabled to fence in their herds and remain in the State. The majority of their herds, however, were taken to Nevada, eastern Oregon, and Idaho. Since that time the beef supply of the State has been largely drawn from the range herds of Oregon and Nevada, those two Štates supplying annually from 25 to 30 per cent. of all the cattle killed. Recently, since the completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad, Arizona has become a small factor in the beef supply of the Pacific, and as the result prices in the San Francisco market have materially declined. Another result of this influx of Southern cattle has been the forcing of a portion of the Oregon and Nevada cattle upon the Eastern market. As a rule the Southern cattle are greatly inferior in size and quality to the California, Oregon, and Nevada steers, but their cheapness enables wholesale butchers to buy them in large lots to be placed on alfalfa pastures, and held as a club with which to knock down the price of beef cattle on the market.
THE BEEF PRODUCT NOT INCREASING.
From the most reliable sources the information is to the effect that the beef supply of the State is not increasing. This is no doubt largely due to the fact of the existence of the herd law on the statute book. Wheat is the staple product of the farmers, and millions of acres are seeded on the plains without fencing. The aftermath is lost to the farmer because he can not afford to herd the small bunch of cattle his means would enable him to buy. Were the wheat-fields fenced into suitable lots every tenant would keep more or less cattle, and the stubble would thus be utilized to such an extent as to greatly increase the beef output of the State. The grain is all cut by heading machines and a growth of straw from 15 to 24 inches tall is left standing on the ground. The long, dry summers cure both grain and grass so thoroughly that this grain stubble is sweet and nutritious, making the choicest of feed for all kinds of stock. Large owners of cattle and sheep frequently rent these stubble areas in the fall and herd their stock upon them. But the proportion so rented is small as compared with the total area.
Contrary to the generally received opinion, California is not a desirable place to feed cattle in winter. Feed is abundant and reasonably cheap. - All kinds of grain grow luxuriantly, and wheat, oats, and barley, cut just before reaching maturity, make the choicest of hay, and on most of the cultivated lands yield 21 to 3 tons to the acre. Alfalfa is largely cultivated and 5 tons to the acre is a low estimate for the three crops usually cut. Farmers assure me that they frequently get a yield of 7 tons to the acre, and sometimes as high as 8 or 9 tons. There is little or no trouble to properly cure and save alfalfa or other kinds of hay, and the amount put up is astonishingly large. The wonder is what becomes of it all. The explanation comes from seeing the vast quantities baled and loaded on the vessels leaving San Francisco for southern ports, where no hay is made.
Cattle grow exceedingly fat in the early spring on the natural pasture or alfalfa fields, and ripen into solid, choice beef on the natural grasses during the summer. But when the winter begins the heavy, damp atmosphere seems to destroy the bovine appetite, and animals put up for fattening are as dainty as spoiled children. Fat steers put up in the late autumn and fed on alfalfa will not shrink, but they will not put on additional flesh. To increase their weight ground feed must be given them, and great care taken not to overfeed. The reverse of this is true just over the State line in Nevada, where the winter climate is cold but dry. For this reason nearly all the wholesale butchers of San Francisco buy cattle in Oregon or Nevada and hold them in the Humboldt Valley during winter, where they are fed on alfalfa or native blue-stem hay. The feeding yards are convenient to the Central Pacific Railroad, so that on a few hours' notice shipments can be made as required to supply the needs of the trade. Well-authenticated statistics show that steers from two to four years old, put up in the fall at any of the Humboldt Valley stations and fed hay for four or five months in open lots, will fatten at the average rate of 2 pounds gross per day. It is also demonstrated that under reasonably fair conditions a long ton of alfalfa will lay on 100 pounds of meat and growth.
S. Mis. 156—16