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BIG-JAW OR LUMP-JAW. (Actinomycosis)

Category: Infectious Diseases

This is an infectious disease of
cattle, less frequently of man, and it is caused by what is called the
"ray fungus." This grows in the tissues and develops a mass with a
secondary chronic inflammation.

This disease is widespread among cattle, and also occurs in the pig. In
the ox it is called the "big jaw." The infection may be taken in with the
food, and it locates itself often in the mouth or surroundings. Oats,
barley, and rye may carry the germ to the animals. The fungus may be found
even in decayed teeth.

Alimentary Canal Type. The jaw has been affected in man. One side of the
face is swollen or there may be a chronic enlargement of the jaw, which
may look like a sarcoma (tumor). The tongue also is sometimes affected and
shows small growths. It may also occur in the intestines and liver. There
is at first a tumor (lump), and this finally suppurates.

In the Lungs. They also can be affected. It is chronic here and there is
cough, fever, wasting and an expectoration of mucus and pus, sometimes of
a very bad odor (fetid). It sometimes acts like miliary tuberculosis of
the lungs, and this is quite frequent in oxen. Other diseases of the lungs
and bronchial affections occur and abscesses and cavities are formed that
may be diagnosed during life.

Symptoms. If in the jaw there may be toothache, difficulty of swallowing
and of opening the jaw. The adjacent muscles may be hardened (indurated).
A swelling appears at the angle of the jaw and this quickly passes into
suppuration; later it opens first outside, then inside--into the mouth and
discharges pus containing little yellow masses. It will extend down even
into the bowels unless it is properly treated. Then there will be stomach
disturbances and diarrhea. It may ulcerate through the bowels and cause
peritonitis. The liver, spleen and ovaries may also become affected.

The Skin. There may be chronic suppurating ulcers of the skin and the
"ray fungus" can be found in them.

Diagnosis. The "ray fungus" can be found. There is a wooden hardness of
the tissues beyond the borders of the ulcers; there are the little yellow
granules in the pus. The course is chronic. Mild cases recover in six to
nine months or earlier, the mouth form being the most favorable.

Treatment. Surgical. Remove the parts involved. Internally, iodide of
potash in large doses is recommended. The food should be plenty and
nourishing. In this case we must recommend you to a physician instead of
the home treatments.

Next: GONORRHEA (Urethritis)

Previous: GLANDERS

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