Kahun papyrus

Veterinary papyrus

Veterinary papyrus

Kahun papyrus (c. 1900 b.C.) is first written data about veterinary medicine and probably the most famous of these ancient Egyptian medical texts and provides the most extensive detail on veterinary matters. Several treatments for some diseases are described, including diseases of cattle, dogs, birds and fish and they are concentrating largely on afflictions that concern the animal’s eyes.

This is a part of text from the large fragment of papyrus:

[Treatment for the eyes (?) of a dog with (?)] the nest of a worm …………… if when it courses (?) scenting (?) the ground, it falls down, it should be said “mysterious prostration as to it.” When the incantations have been said I should thrust my hand within its hemu, a henu of water at my side. When the hand of a man reaches to wash the bone of its back, the man should wash his hand in this henu of water each time that the hand becomes gummed (?) until thou hast drawn forth the heat-dried blood, or anything else or the hesa (?). Thou wilt know that he is cured on the coming of the hesa. Also keep thy fingers ………….

Treatment for the eyes (?) of a bull with the wind (cold ?) If I see [a bull with] wind, he is with his eyes running, his forehead ? uden (wrinkled ?) the roots (gums ?) of his teeth red, his neck swollen (or raised ?): repeat the incantation for him. Let him be laid on his side, let him be sprinkled with cold water, let his eyes and his hoofs (?) and all his body be rubbed with gourds (?) or melons, let him be fumigated with gourds ……… wait herdsman ……………. be soaked ………….. that it draws in soaking ……….. until it dissolves into water: let him be rubbed with gourds of cucumbers. Thou shalt gash (?) him upon his nose and his tail, thou shalt say as to it, “he that has a cut either dies with it or lives with it.” If he does not recover and he is wrinkled (?) under thy fingers, and blinks (?) his eyes, thou shalt bandage his eyes with linen lighted with fire to stop the running.

Treatment for the eyes (?) of a bull with ushau in winter If I see a bull with [usham] in winter, and he is blinded (?) his two eyes are thick; gash thou as above. If I see abull with ushau in winter from cold, since its arrival in (?) summer, his temples are wrinkled (?), his eyes running, his stomach groaning (?), he does not walk (?) ………………….. thou all its body with ……….. as is done to one with a bruise (?).]

Note: According to this source, “ushau” is probably trypanosomiasis.