Dogs Rarely Get Tetanus

Puncture from a rusty nail not likely to cause a problem.


Q. Our dog stepped on a rusty nail. We got it out, put hydrogen peroxide on the wound, and kept her off her foot for most of the day. Can dogs get tetanus from a nail?

A. This is a great question. Why do humans get tetanus vaccinations on a regular basis, but dogs do not?
Dogs (and cats) are very resistant to the effects of the bacterium Clostridium tetani, which causes lockjaw, or tetanus, in humans after it gets established in wounds. There are a few reports of lockjaw in dogs, but it is rare.
Just so you know, horses, and cattle other livestock are susceptible, and should be vaccinated on a regular basis.


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mary   woodstock, ON

9/24/2010 6:23:49 PM

we just lost our jack russel-beagle cross to tetanus.our vet wasn't sure,rabbie or tetanus.he had lock jaw, stiff legs at 90 degree angles to his body and became unable to move his neck.couldn't eat or drink.we were using syringes to get fluids into him.this progressed rapidly.he was about 12-13 yrs. once determined it was tetanus,our vet treated him with HORSE ANTIDOTES.sent him home,and perscribed peniclilli.6ml,2 X's/daily.but we were too late.

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Margaret   Powell River, BC

1/11/2009 10:43:12 PM

We brought home our 2 month old puppy on Dec 1 2008. Took him to the vet on Dec. 29 and he was thought to have tetanus and treated on that basis. I have pictures of him from his first week with us and believe I can see the symtoms present at that time. At about 10 days with us he was chewing on a basket with a metal handle and started yelping wildly, his jaw was "locked" and he could not seem to remove himself. After about 30 seconds he came free. At the time it did not seem significant. He did have some trouble eating from the beginning but we attributed that to being a puppy and maybe the kibbles were too big (changed food) but slowly it became worse and then drinking seemed to be a problem. That was when we took him to the vet. He came home on Jan. 10th, very thin, still some trouble eating and drinking and salivating. His limbs still stiff but improving. Swelling in the throat has lessened. We are now hopeful that he is going to pull through.

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