When Cuts Can Kill Your Dog

Tetanus rarely strikes dogs, but symptoms call for swift action.

By | Posted: Tue May 31 00:00:00 PDT 2005

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Diagnosis is usually based on characteristic clinical signs. The bacteria may be difficult to culture, and their identification is not considered essential to confirm the diagnosis, Stone says.

Treatment consists of administering an antitoxin to prevent worsening of the symptoms, wound management, and supportive care. Wound treatment may consist of surgery and antibiotics, Stone says. Supportive carethe most important aspect of therapycould involve sedation, muscle relaxants, maintenance of hydration and nutrition, and physical therapy. Severely affected dogs require intensive support with prolonged hospitalization and an extended period of convalescence, as it takes several weeks to several months for nerves to regrow.

Mildly affected dogs or those with the localized form of tetanus usually recover; prognosis for animals with generalized forms is very guarded to poor.

Although seen in humans, tetanus seldom affects dogs. Dogs are inherently resistant to tetanus, Stone says. We see thousands of wounds in dogs every year at Tufts, but only identify two to five cases of tetanus per year. There is no tetanus vaccine for dogs and no preventive measure. Should you suspect your dog has tetanus, prompt veterinary treatment increases the odds of a successful recovery.

The Long Road
Munci remained in Angell's intensive care unit for three weeks. He was on so many IV meds I can't even remember them all, Larrabee says. He required one-on-one care for most of his stay. His heart, respiratory rate, and oxygen levels were constantly monitored, and he received IV nutrition. He needed frequent physical therapy, which was quite a challenge since he weighed well over 100 pounds.

When Munci returned home, he was still unable to walk, wore a urinary catheter, had to be hand-fed, and required injections every four hours, as well as over 20 pills a day. He couldn't bend his head to drink water from his bowl, so he was given water from a shower. After two weeks of home care, he walked stiffly, ate with minimal help, and was weaned off of most of his medications.

Currently 2½ years old, Munci has fully recovered and exhibits no physical reminders of his ordealexcept for his insistence on drinking water only from the shower.

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beth   gonzales, TX

2/27/2009 2:37:12 PM

Tried to, would not go thru. See if this does, although not as thoght worthy.

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