Page:Horses and roads.djvu/39

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the animals delicate. Swelled legs may be frequently reduced to their proper natural size by taking away the litter only; which, in some stables where ignorant grooms and farriers govern, would be a great saving of bleeding and physic, besides straw. I have seen, by repeated experiments, legs swell and unswell, by leaving litter, or taking it away, like mercury in a weather glass.’ It has also been found in the army that the troopers’ horses, which are not bedded down during the day, never suffer so much from corns, contractions, thrush, and grease as the officer’s chargers do, which have straw to stand upon whenever they are in the stable.

Some owners, with a view to economy, substitute sawdust for the straw, and they leave it for weeks without changing it. This is a still greater mistake; it gets saturated with acids and alkalies, and is most injurious to the feet as well as to the general health of the animals. Veterinary surgeons assign, as one of the causes of cough, ‘rank bedding.’ It is a frequent source of seedy toe; yet, not many weeks since, a groom to whom this remark was made laughed it to scorn, saying that it was the best possible preventive to the disease, and was, moreover, the very best cure for it in a horse already affected with it; and, he added, the older and more rotten the sawdust the more effective. His horse did have seedy toe shortly after this, and the veterinary had to be called in. He, of course, had all this rotten muck immediately removed. The use of sawdust is no economy at all, when considered from the right