1. bookVolume 64 (2020): Issue 3 (September 2020)
Journal Details
First Published
30 Mar 2016
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Tetanus in Animals — Summary of Knowledge

Published Online: 06 Oct 2020
Volume & Issue: Volume 64 (2020) - Issue 3 (September 2020)
Page range: 54 - 60
Received: 30 Jun 2020
Accepted: 03 Aug 2020
Journal Details
First Published
30 Mar 2016
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

Tetanus is a neurologic non-transmissible disease (often fatal) of humans and other animals with a worldwide occurrence. Clostridium tetani is the spore producing bacillus which causes the bacterial disease. In deep penetrating wounds the spores germinate and produce a toxin called tetanospasmin. The main characteristic sign of tetanus is a spastic paralysis. A diagnosis is usually based on the clinical signs because the detection in the wound and the cultivation of C. tetani is very difficult. Between animal species there is considerable variability in the susceptibility to the bacillus. The most sensitive animal species to the neurotoxin are horses. Sheep and cattle are less sensitive and tetanus in these animal species are less common. Tetanus in cats and dogs are rare and dogs are less sensitive than cats. Clinically two forms of tetanus have been recognized, i. e. localized and generalized. The available treatment is not specific because the toxin in neuronal cells cannot be accessed by antitoxin antibodies. The aim of the therapy is to: neutralise the unbound neurotoxin, inhibit C. tetani growth in the wound, and provide supportive care to mitigate the effects of the neurotoxin. The treatment is difficult with an unclear prognosis.


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