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Canine madness is fatal to man during the heat of Sirius,2 and, as we have already said, it proves so in consequence of those who are bitten having a deadly horror of water.3 For this reason, during the thirty days4 that this star exerts its influence, we try to prevent the disease by mixing dung from the poultry-yard with the dog's food; or else, if they are already attacked by the disease, by giving them hellebore.

(41.) We have a single remedy against the bite, which has been but lately discovered, by a kind of oracle, as it were—the root of the wild rose, which is called cynorrhodos,5 or dogrose. Columella informs us, that if, on the fortieth day after the birth of the pup, the last bone of the tail is bitten off, the sinew will follow with it; after which, the tail will not grow, and the dog will never become rabid.6 It is mentioned, among the other prodigies, and this I take to be one indeed, that a dog once spoke;7 and that when Tarquin was expelled from the kingdom, a serpent barked.

1 All these remedies are perfectly useless.—B.

2 Pliny details the noxious effects, conceived to be produced by the influence of Sirius, in B. ii. c. 40, and, among others, its tendency to produce canine madness. In B. xxix. c. 32, he enumerates the various remedies proposed for the disease; these, however, are equally inefficacious with those mentioned here.—B.

3 We have an account of this disease in Celsus, B. v. c. 27, and especially of the peculiar symptom from which it derives its classical denomination. It is remarkable that Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. viii. c. 22, speaking of canine madness, says, that it is communicated by the dog to all animals, except man.—B. See B. vii. c. 13.

4 It appears that there was a difference of opinion as to the number of days during which the Dog-star continued to exercise its influence.—B.

5 The history of this supposed discovery is related more at large, B. xxv. c. 2 and 6. The popular name of the plant is still the "dog-rose."—B.

6 Columella says, that the operation prevents the tail from acquiring "fœdum incrementum," "afoul increase;" and, as many shepherds say, secures the animal from the disease.—B.

7 This is one of the marvellous tales related by Julius Obsequens, c. 103.—B.

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