This section is from the book "Sporting Dogs. Their Points And Management In Health, And Disease", by Frank Townend Barton. Also available from Amazon: Sporting Dogs; Their Points and Management in Health and Disease.
Setons and rowels are not used in the present day so much as in times gone by, nevertheless, when employed with discretion, are of service.
At one time setons were largely used for insertion into the poll when a dog had fits, especially during distemper. In the author's opinion they are injurious for this purpose, but as a counter-irritant in lung and bronchial complaints, good often results from their employment. Many local swellings can be dispersed through the insertion of either a seton or a rowel. Tape, horse-hair, tow, or a circular piece of leather wrapped in tow, are the issues used. If a seton, the skin must be snipped at the inlet and outlet; the needle threaded and passed along under the skin (no deeper as a rule) to the point of exit, and the tape fastened off. It is usual to smear the tape with some stimulating substance, such as resin or turpentine ointment, in order to excite a speedy local inflammation. The tape must be moved (not removed) daily, kept clean, and smeared with the ointment twice weekly.