THE INFLUENCE OF SNAKE-POISON.?BY J. FAYEER.
Br J. Fayrer, M.D. Present : Dr. Fayrer, Dr. Ewart, Professor of Physiology, and Mr. SceTa, of the Indian Museum.
August 15th, 1868.?Tlie object of these experiments was to make careful observations of the symptoms during the action of the poison, to note the pathological changes during life and after death, and the microscopical appearances of the blood of a healthy state, immediately before submitting
mammal in the
it to the influence of the snake-poison, and to compare these appearances with those of the blood of the same animal after death from the snake-poison. The
with with two
the greatest care by microscopes, the > power they were repeated many
times. Experiment No. 1.
that confirmed Dr. Halford's observation.
Experiment No. 2. A healthy medium-sized dog was bitten, at 12-40, in the left hind-leg by the Daboia Russelli. It was not certain that the The mouth of the snake was also brought in contact with the right thigh and the lower part of the abdomen, and the fangs were struck lightly into the parts. The snake was one that had been used on former occasions, and was weak,
At 11-59 a.m., a small pariah dog was bitten in the left hind-leg, just above the carpal joint, by a Daboia, the same snake
experiments. The dog was put snake, which, though excited and hissing loudly, appeared disinclined to bite ; on being irritated, it struck the the
probably almost exhausted, of poison. p.m.?Lies down; looks depressed ; evidently
that had been used in former near
EXPERIMENTS ON THE INFLUENCE OF SNAKEPOISON.
Professor Ewart and
healthy. Spleen enlarged. Stomach contained a Kidneys healthy. Brain taken out and carefully examined; it was healthy-look ing and firm, perhaps more anocmic than quite natural. The blood was kept until next day, and there was no coagulation. Up to 1-54 p.m., no rigor mortis. The blood was most carefully examined before the dog was bitten, during the operation of the poison and after death. There was nothing suggestive of the changes described by Professor Ilalford. The red corpuscles remained altogether unaltered. In one of the examinations after death, a few more of the white corpuscles were seen than we had observed in other specimens, but there was no peculiarity about them; and after most careful and repeated examinations, we could detect nothing quantity
has been very little change during the last Lies down quietly. There are abdominal contracof irregular action of the diaphragm.
leg as described ; the wound bled freely. 5 p.m.?When roused moves about, but is sluggish and weak. It was nearly fire minutes before the dog shewed signs of the Steps irregularly with a staggering gait, crossing the liindeffects of the poison, lie then began to stagger and seemed 1 legs, at other times keeping them wide apart. After walking weak, and as if unable to co-ordinate the muscular movements j a little, the steps became more regular and steady. The dog of the limbs. having usually been fed at this time, food was offered, but he At 12-6 he lay down, breathing heavily; at 12-7 he rose refused it. and staggered a few steps and vomited. 6-30.?Quiet; no symptoms of pain or convulsions ; perfectly 12-9.?Gradually subsided on to his left liind-quarter; conscious; when spoken to, responds readily by raising his looks vacantly about him, but intelligent when spoken to. There head and wagging his tail. Is insensible to pain if irritated in is no indication of any suffering. any part of the body. 12-11.?Walks about when led, but very sluggish, and wants In some of tlio former experiments it seemed as though to lie down ; weak in the bitten leg. ana;sthesia were produced on the limb that had been bitten. 12-18.?Is walking slowly, staggering in the hind-quarters ; The dog gradually drooped, without any sign of pain; no at 8-15 p.m. has his head depressed, with the neck stretched out. Cold spasm. Died water dashed over the head seemed to rouse him partially. Bitten at 12-4. dog
12-22.?Lies down-, weak and exhausted; no convulsions. Takes no notice When as though he were going to sleep.
spoken to. 12-42.?Lying walk
and disinclined to move; can
little when roused.
body was examined soon after death. integument, it was found that the deepest wounds from the snake's fangs had been received in the middle not penetrated of the lower part of the abdomen, but they had the adipose tissue. than deeper Several small punctures (4 or 5) were found in the side of the abdomen and in the inner part of the thigh. being
12-57.?Insensible; catching respiration.
Died in 66 minutes. soon
Part above the
where the animal was bitten,
ecchymosed to an inches, and discolored by dark bloody fluid. Decomposition commencing. A coagulum corresponded to the points at which penetrated.
extent of 2
pale and bloodless; completely opened.
right cavities contained
out of the heart and from the great vessels in the thorax fluid, with no tendency to coagulate. The left side of the
post-mortem appearances of the thoracic and abdominal were exactly the same as in the former case, except that the spleen was healthy in this case. The blood was watched for 14 hours, and it did not coagulate ; and, being carefully examined under the microscope, presented no change from the normal condition. The results of these experiments, which were conducted with great care and every precaution to exclude sources of error, The
when the thorax was
Blood in femoral vein fluid.
convulsions; just before death the defecation was of a mucocharacter, having been perfectly natural before
hours and eleven minutes after being bitten. In this case death was very slow and painless. It seemed over the animal, and more like a gentle lethargy stealing increasing until death. There was no sign of pain ;
Died at 8-15.
THE INDIAN MEDICAL GAZETTE.
death is may, I think, be accepted as almost conclusive that caused by the action of the poison on the nerve-centres generally, and not by its operation on any special one. The condition of the thoracic viscera proves that it is not due to pulmo-
congestion or asphyxia. The fluid state of the blood, although no change in its corpuscular elements is appreciable, tends to show that it is the direct channel through which the nerve-centres are injured. In both these cases death took place slowly, giving ample time for any changes, such as described by Dr. Halford, to take place. It is worthy of notice that in nary
there was absence of any convulsions or tetanic spasms. This may be attributed to the animals having received a smaller dose of the poison, and that administered by com-
In other cases, when the animal were more vigorous, the
smaller, and the Daboias
effect in producing convulsions was marked, and death took place more rapidly. Where the poison operates slowly and feebly, as in these cases, there is very little, if any, difference in the symptoms from those produced by the Cobra-poison administered under the same conditions. Experiment No. 3.
August 17tli, 1868.?A half-grown pig
placed in a large variety called by the snake had been used before, had been some time in confinement, had probably not eaten for some time, and consequently might be expected to be weak and comparatively feebly poisonous. The snake seemed indisposed to bite until irritated, and the pig stepped on him, when he seized it by the right forefoot, just above the hoof, and drew blood. The pig lay down at once, appeared very much frightened; the snake also appeared terrified by the pig, and lay for a moment, as though he were seriously injured. The pig made no attempt either to attack the snake or defend himself; he merely tried to get out of the way. The snake bit at 11-55 a.m., and as the pig was lying down, the bitten leg was drawn up in a jerking and convulsive manner.
box with a full-grown natives Keauteah. The
11-59.?Grot up and ran about the room ; the bitten limb weak. Lay down again ; right fore-leg twitching in a
generally down again. The bitten leg always convulsed in lying down; places it under its body, as though to prevent the involuntary movement; working the mouth ; making manner ;
efforts to retch. 12-3.?Eoused up ;
squealing lustily ; quite
able to walk when
roused, but when left to liimself lies down; eyelids droop, and looks
12-5.?Eoused; rests himself against the wall. 12-6.?Eesists efforts to
down ; bitten leg uneasy, but not so much convulsed as at first. When roused, he walks; appears to be much weaker.
in the corner of the
against the wall. Twitcliing occasionally in Eyelids closed occasionally. One can now see bitten just above the hoof posteriorly. 12-25.?Can convulsed at
the bitten limb. that he has been
the limb ; holds it up when he
with his left side
slight general uneasiness. posterior extremity.
puts it down when pushed. 12-45.?Eoused up. Twitching. Lies down. 1 p.m.?Unless roused, lies down against the wall. ing now in right liind-leg. on
stretched out. 2-15.?Roused him up; great loss of nervous and muscular When he got up, lie did so with much difficulty; propped himself up against the wall; staggered and fell down. power.
2-25.?Very lethargic; cannot stand; when placed on his legs, same debility characterizing general muscidar system noticed in those muscles which affect the organs of speech. His squeal is now a mere whine. He is anaemic, conjunctivae pallid. The right fore-leg first bitten is ecchymosed much up to the elbow-joint. Considerable twitching in muscles of the face, showing that the poison has affected this part in the same way as it has the muscles of the fore and hind-legs. 2-40.?Respiration catching; gasping; convulsed in the posterior extremities ; lips, mouth, and conjunctivae pallid; eyes fixed; insensible to light; pupils dilated; irides unacted upon by light; almost comatose. he falls down;
Bitten first at 11-53. Bitten second time at 1-32 p.m. Hied 2-50,
3 hours after
Sect, cadav. Blood in sinuses of the brain, as in the whole venous system up to the right auricle and ventricle, which were* distended with blood. striatum and medulla a
Sections of brain, thalamus, and corpus oblongata, pallid in the extreme; scarcely
point to be seen. Lungs quite collapsed and anaemic;
left ventricle and auricle
empty. Liver, kidneys, &c., healthy.
Wounds.?Bight forefoot bitten at 11-53 a.m., and leg greatly ecchymosed; coagulum marks the entry of the fang. Tissues discolored from rapid death (local) and decomposition. Rignt hind-leg bitten at 1-32 p.m.; less ecchymosed ; mark of fang indicated by a point of coagulum of a dark colour. Bite on right ear also ecchymosed, also snout, in both of which places he was bitten. Blood coagulated in all the veins after being opened for an hour ; coagulum firm. Microscopical examination of blood shows nothing unnatural, excepting perhaps a slowness of the red globules to run into masses like piled coin in rouleaux. The fact that this pig was twice severely bitten, and that death did not occur for nearly three hours, seems to shew that the animal is not very susceptible. A large dog would probably have died in less than half an horn*. It is true that the first Cobra, though a large and powerful one, was probably somewhat exhausted, but the second was perfectly fresh, and had only that morning been brought in by the snake-catcher, freshly caught. Experiment No. 4.
(Ptyas Mucosus) was bitten by length. and sluggish in his movements.
fresh Cobra about 5 feet in
12-30.?Fore-leg put forward ; then convulsion more evident. When roused, walks ; holds up the limb as if from pain in pressing
1-B2.?Pig bitten again by a new and fresli Cobra in left tliigh and in the snout. 1-35.?Twitching in the bitten leg. 1-40.?Gets up when roused ; still twitching in liind-leg. 2-7.?Good deal of twitching in hind-leg; twitching in rapid succession; it sometimes affects corresponding anterior extremity. ? Twitching also of the facial muscles and of the oi'biculares palpebrarum. Lying flat on his side with his legs
12-28.?Lies down ; sive twitching affected
12-59.?Dhamin weak 1-3.?Bitten On the
again by the same snake. moves slowly and with difficulty; growing mani-
festly weak. 1-12.?Grasping for breath; very low; voluntary power gone. Still, when roused, can move and raise
October 1, as
CHOLEEA?BY C. MACNAMAEA.
if he liad been roused from a state of overpowering nervous Breathes slowly and imperfectly ; does not half-fill
oppression. his lungs.
Bitten at 12-53. Died at 1-14 p.m. Dead in 21 minutes. This is further proof of the
action of the
snakes. Experiment No. 5.
12-55 p.m., large Cobra was bitten by a fullgrown, freslily-cauglit Cobra; they were both of one variety, that marked with one occellus in the hood, the Keauteah of the a
Snake-catchers. The scales were scraped off, and the snake was made to imbed his fangs deeply in two different places about 10 inches from the head. There could be no doubt of the penetration, or of the
large quantity of poison. drops of Cobra-poison, taken from the snake, injected, by means of the hypodermic syringe, into the
At 12-59 five were
muscles of the Cobra's back.
1-30.?No effect produced; the Cobra is
1-45.?Still unaffected. 4-30.?Still unaffected. 18th August, 5 p.m.?The snake is
goes far to prove the immunity of the Cobra from the noxious effects of the poison of its own species. This
Experiment No. 6.
p.m.?Civet cat (Viverra Malaccensis) bitten by a Daboia. one place. 1-25.?Appears paralyzed. 1-26.?Appears almost dead. 1-30.?Still breathing imperfectly ; stretches his legs as if from 1-20
The snake struck in more than
vomited; lying down
1-37.?When roused, he seized a stick, but is evidently half in the. hind-quarter; lies down again on left side.
lies down at once. Evidently very drowsy and much exhausted. 1-47.?Tries to get up of his own accord; finds he cannot; rolls
other side; right hind-leg paralyzed. Continues endeavouring to move, and has again succeeded in changing his position. 1-57.?Eying flat on side with all his legs stretched out. Can be roused, but his hinder extremities still paralyzed, and he does not give fight as before. Is uneasy and restless. 2-12.?Roused ; walks about much better, but his right hindleg is very weak ; quite paralyzed. Put into his cage ; gave much more fight. 2-30.?Seems reviving, but he is restless and manifestly uncomfortable ; lying down, and at full stretch, on side. 4-15.?Purged freely ; very low; evidently at the point o^ over
death. 4-25.?Convulsive movements for two
three minutes ;
Body examined, showed
the animal to have been bitten on
the nose, on the side of the head in the thigh.
The post-mortem appearances of the viscera in other animals.
This viper was the same that had been frequently used in other experiments before described, and must have been considerably weakened. The deadly nature of the snake is manifest from this continued power of inflicting mortal wounds, and it is
probable that it lias the power of rapidly secreting fresh poison. It is regarded with great dread by the snake-catchers, and evidently with good reason.