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Tetanus (lockjaw)

Tetanus (lockjaw)

Tetanus is a deadly disease sometimes referred to as lock jaw, due to the way that it causes the animal’s joints and muscles to ‘lock’ shut.


Causes: Poisons produced by the bacterium clostridium tetani, which is common in soil and manure, especially where horses are present.Enters into the body through a deep, open wound, into an anaerobic environment (ie. no oxygen) and grows to produce a fatal toxin.


Treatment: Doses of antitoxin (100,000 to 200,000 Int’l units) must be given along with large doses of penicillin. It’s worth a try, but not always successful. Symptoms appear 7-14 days after infected. Stiffness and spasms spread to entire body and death ensues.


Prevention: Two injections of the toxoid vaccine given 3-4 weeks apart with a booster once a year provides protection. Vaccinate kids no earlier than two (2) months.


Supplies For Treatment and Prevention:



Onion Creek Ranch: Tetanus

Vet Surgeon: Successful treatment of tetanus in a ND goat – a case report

Merck Veterinary Manual: Tetanus