The longer I research elements of World War I having to do with my novel The Crowning Battle of the Great War: The Battle of Bellicourt Tunnel, the more I run across information about items that 1) we never think of, having our minds on the big matters of war, and 2) ideas that make perfect sense when we think about them. Such is the invention of “The Dip Tank.” With all the horses and mules the war put to work, it was inevitable that diseases and infections, physical ailments, would spread throughout the animal world. The four-footed soldiers were prone to mange, a disease brought on by parasitic mites. The mites bury themselves in the animal’s hair follicles.
Canadian veterinarians developed “The Dip Tank” in 1915. Before this mange was fought by clipping the long winter hair of the animals. As a result many animals died from hyperthermia and equine influenza. “The Dip Tank” killed the parasites, leaving the long hair on the animals. “The Dip Tank” was of simple design. It was a long trench or dugout with boards on the bottom. The treatment consisted of water, sulphur, lime, carbonic acid, and creosote, heated to a certain temperature. The animal would walk though the tank, fully immersed in the liquid.