In the world there are many diseases known since ancient times. As a rule, over the centuries, descriptions of the most terrible ailments have passed, which to this day are difficult to treat. Some of them affect not only people, but also their pets. Take, for example, tetanus in dogs.
What it is
This disease is nothing but signs of damage to the nervous tissue by the neurotoxin that is synthesized by Clostridium tetani. Despite the comparative resistance to its action of dogs (and cats, by the way, too), this pathology is also found in them. It is interesting to know that the most "unsinkable" in this case are birds: a lethal dose of toxin for pigeons and chickens is 10,000-300,000 times (body weight) lethal volume for horses.
As a rule, the pathogen enters the body through wounds, scratches and cuts of limbs in contact with the soil. In winter, there are practically no cases of the disease. Young animals are most predisposed.
Etiology and pathogenesis
The causative agent of tetanus is found in the soil, and clostridia is often found in the intestines of many animals. As we said, the development of the disease begins with the fact that the bacterium enters the wound. But! In order for tetanus to develop, it is necessary that this wound does not receive air access (anaerobic environment).
Most often, such damage is formed when the surface of the scratch becomes clogged with debris, anemia and pus. Also similar is fraught with an operation performed if all the rules of asepsis and antiseptics are not observed. In particular, in world veterinary practice there have been cases when castrated males became ill with tetanus.
By the way, can a dog get tetanus from a cat or other animal? No, this is impossible. Tetanus is not transmitted from animal to animal. In fact, clostridia is not a "specialized" pathogen. This microorganism is dangerous with its toxins, "purposefully" it does not harm the body.
What conditions are unfavorable for clostridia?
If oxygen continues to enter the wound, but in this area there is a sufficient number of normally functioning blood vessels, then the spores of the pathogen will not be able to germinate. It is very dangerous when a certain amount of soil gets there, or a necrotic process begins there. In these conditions, clostridia feel just fine. But the fact that they secrete the most dangerous neurotoxin is much more dangerous. When it enters the bloodstream, it overcomes the blood-brain barrier. Actually, at this moment tetanus begins.
As a result, spasmodic, tonic muscle contractions occur. Even their slight stimulation (a sharp sound, an injection) can cause characteristic tetanic muscle cramps. They are so strong that even fractures of the extremities were recorded in medical and veterinary practice. Cramps affecting the larynx, diaphragm, and intercostal muscles lead to respiratory failure. The defeat of the autonomic nervous system ends with cardiac arrhythmias, tachycardia and arterial hypertension.
The clinical picture, the course of the disease
What are the symptoms of tetanus in a dog, and how soon do they appear? The incubation period varies from one day to several weeks, but usually ranges from 10-14 days. Muscle stiffness suddenly manifests itself, and the chewing muscles and muscles of the neck, hind limbs, and also all muscle tissue in the wound area, from which the infection went, are especially often affected. The "lush color" clinical signs "bloom" around the second day. It should be noted that dogs, being sufficiently resistant to tetanus toxin, often begin to show symptoms too late. This greatly complicates the diagnosis.
The farther, the worse the signs of tetanus in a dog become. The animal, at the slightest noise, literally twists, like a towel during an extraction, crunches of bones and joints are audible. The dog cannot eat and drink normally due to disturbances in the contractility of muscle tissue. She walks "march", limbs straightened and bent poorly. The dog may fall, at this time his head is thrown back sharply, and his legs, straightening up, as if "stretched out". This condition is recorded in the photo.
Pronounced sweating is common. General spasms disrupt blood circulation and breathing, which is accompanied by an increase in heart rate, rapid breathing and hyperemia of the mucous membranes. Typically, the temperature remains almost normal (or slightly above normal), but it can rise to 42-43 ° C. As a rule, this happens before the last attack, after which there is a fatal outcome. Pulse and temperature remain almost normal in case of attacks of low intensity. The average mortality rate is ~ 80% (~ 50% falls on the youngest dogs). Recovery time - at least two to six weeks. As a rule, immunity after this is not formed.
Diagnosis and treatment
The diagnosis can be made on the basis of clinical signs and an anamnesis of the disease, which refers to the recent trauma of the animal, his surgery, etc. In some cases, veterinarians detect serum tetanus toxin. In cases where the presence of a wound or other damage to the skin is obvious, you can try to identify the pathogen by staining the smears of pathological material according to Gram.
What is the treatment for tetanus in dogs? First, muscle relaxants and sedatives are prescribed for the animal, which reduce the sensitivity of the nervous system. Secondly, they use a special tetanus tetanus serum. In addition, they clean and drain wounds (if any), prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics that prevent the development of secondary microflora. Good care is invaluable during an acute period of cramping. It is advisable that during the treatment the dog was placed in a darkened room, isolated from strong noises, smells and other irritating factors that could be the cause of another attack.
It is very important to consider that antihistamines should be kept ready, since tetanus toxoid sometimes causes anaphylactic shock. If the condition of the dog is more or less stable, serum is administered only after allergic tests. A combination of penicillin and metronidazole antibiotics is indicated. The combination of chlorpromazine and phenobarbital (or diazepam) can be used to attenuate hypesthetic reactions and convulsions.
Active immunization can be achieved by the administration of a tetanus toxoid. If the animal has an inflamed and festering wound, it is prescribed without fail. This drug is administered simultaneously with serum, and after a month the course of treatment should be repeated. This recommendation is especially true when it comes to a service or hunting animal, which can injure its paws at any time. In case of recovery, the dog should subsequently and regularly be vaccinated against tetanus. The vaccine will save her from relapses. In addition, in the summer period, the appointment of toxoid is periodically indicated.