Tetanus

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Tetanus

Tetanus (lockjaw) is a highly fatal disease, caused by a potent neurotoxin elaborated by the anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium Clostridium tetani. These organisms are present in the intestinal tract and feces of horses, other animals, and humans and are ubiquitous in soil, especially soils that are heavily contaminated by fecal matter.

Transmission: The most frequent sites of infection in horses are soft tissue-injuries (including surgery) and puncture wounds to the foot.

Incubation Period: The incubation period is typically 1 to 3 weeks but can take up to several months.

The severity of the symptoms and rate of the progression of the disease depends on the age and size of the horse and the dose of toxin. Tetanus is expensive to treat and has a high mortality rate; therefore all horses should be actively immunized using tetanus toxoid as part of the core vaccination program.

Symptoms

Sudden onset of stiff gait
Hypersensitivity
84%
Prolapse of the third eyelid
79%
Difficulty opening the mouth
79%
Flared nostrils
79%
Elevated heart rate
77%
Rapid breathing
71%
Elevated tail-head
58%
Presence of wounds
45%
Ears erect and stiff
37%
Elevated body temperature
29%

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical Signs
  • Physical exam
  • Laboratory tests

Treatment

TherapiesDetails
Tetanus antitoxin injection
Control of muscle spasm
General supportive care

Prognosis

Poor, is almost always fatal

Scientific Research

General Overviews

  • Prolapse third eyelid icon
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Causative agent