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Tetanus in Dogs / Tetanus in Cats / Tetanus in Pets

Tetanus / Bacillus Infection

Herbal remedies for dogs and cats to relieve occurence of bacterial infections.

Nutrition plays a major role in bone, teeth, skin and coat health and is directly related to a healthy, balanced immune system and related tissues and organs.

Plant botanicals may help support the process of free radical scavenging, the skin’s ability to withstand and repair the effects of environmental exposure to toxins, antigens, pathogens, microorganisms and skin wounds by maintaining proper liver, adrenal, immune, and intestinal function and may help build resistance to diseases such as tetanus. 

Tetanus is a disease caused by a toxin secreted by a bacterium known as Clostridium tetani. Clostridia are soil bacteria, living in dirt, and pets with open wounds or punctures generally pick up the bacteria spores when their wound is exposed to contaminated soil. Tetanus is a fairly rare disease in dogs and even rarer in cats.

An unattended wound leading to bacterial contamination is the leading cause of tetanus, also known as lockjaw. Wounds of this nature are common for animals that live outdoors, on farms, or interact with industrial sites where nails, equipment or sharp objects on the ground may pierce a foot or another part of the body.  

A bite wound or puncture as a result of a fight or rolling around in infected dirt can also lead to a tetanus infection. The intestines of mammals and the dead tissue of wounds that are created due to injury, surgery, burns, frostbite, and fractures can also infect an animal with a wound. 

The tetanus toxin is called tetanospasmin. It is produced by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. The toxin binds to local nerves in a wound or puncture area and moves up into the central nervous system where it interferes with the release of glycine, an amino acid that also acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter.

Once the toxins bind to nerve cells, they generate symptoms such as muscle spasm, stiffening of the limbs and rigidity. In severe cases, the animal can’t breathe due to rigid paralysis of the respiratory muscles and a mechanical ventilator is required.

The severity of the symptoms will often depend on the number of toxin organisms that enter, as well as breed, genetics, age, diet, environment, etc.  

Symptoms of tetanus include:

Muscles around wound site become rigid

Stiffness

Lameness

Weakness

Lack of coordination

Affected gait

Local or generalized infection (generalized if Central Nervous System is infected by toxins)

In classic tetanus, your pet may be unable to blink and must flash the third eyelid to moisten the eye. Light sensitivity can become intense and the sound of clapping or a door slamming may create spasms or seizures. Dogs with ears that hang down may develop ears that stand up straight, and its facial muscles pull back in such a way as to create what is called risus sardonicus, or the sardonic smile.

In more advanced stages, the patient can no longer walk and stands stiffly in what is called a sawhorse stance.

Symptoms related to generalized infection include:

Fever

Constipation

Pain during urination

Excessive drooling

Wrinkled forehead

Grinning appearance

Stiff and hard tail

Continuously erect and stiff ears

Progressive stiffness of the body muscles, giving the animal a sawhorse appearance

Difficulty eating

Breathing difficulty (due to stiffness of the chest muscles)

Difficulty opening the mouth (due to stiffness of the jaw muscles)

Whole body muscle spasms with sudden external movement, sound, or touch

Paralysis

Death due to inability to breathe

Herbal Nutrition - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets - human grade meets/exceeds highest safety criteria for pets)

Herbal and marine treatments are used to help treat bacterial infections, to help promote balanced immunity and resistance to infection; as natural steroids, antibiotics, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory; to help soothe inflamed and irritated skin, to help cleanse the blood and remove toxins, to cleanse and heal cuts, scrapes and irritations of all kinds, to help reduce the risk of infection and to help address symptoms related to skin eruptions and bacterial infections.

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Seal ‘Em & Heal ‘Em – (learn more) promotes healing for all types of wounds, including hot spots, abscess, abrasions, bites, cuts, scrapes, skin irritations, infections, viruses, bacteria, fungi and germs; for bleeding & hemorrhaging conditions, ulcers, GERD, esophaghitis & other degenerative conditions of the larynx & throat; for DNA and RNA viruses; used holistically to address respiratory viruses A and B (RSV) and influenza virus A (FLU-A) and para-influenza (PIV); inhibits bacterial and microbial skin fungus infections related to Staphylococcus aurous, S. epidermis and other gram negative bacteria such as enterobacteria, citrobacteria, salmonella; helps provide cellular support of tissue, skin & coat; for gastrointestinal distress; as a neurasthenic that blocks the activation of nerve fibers & tissue response to inflammation, supporting the body's tissue repair mechanism to stop mutations (important in the treatment of all types of Lyme disease, including Lyme borealis, burgdorferi, borreliosis & Chronic Lyme disease (CLD); and may help remove plague and tartar upon application to help support healthy teeth and gums.; Strongly anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic, antibiotic, anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerous, anti-Candidal and reduces nerve pain associated with wounds and injury.

Shake Ur Groove Thing  (learn more) promotes healthy bowel function, purification, gentle parasitic detoxification and body clarification; waste and toxin removal, including pesticides, environmental toxins found inside and outside the home, chemicals related to flea and tick products and drugs regimens such as NSAID’s and synthetic glucosteriods and corticosteroids; helps remove inorganic synthetic and derivative compounds from an animal’s cell walls to help reduce toxic load in the body; also used for cramping, pain, constipation, gas and bloating; helps support a correct balance of native intestinal flora and helps calms the digestive system; promotes immune balance and helps to limit inflammation, which is important in disease prevention; used holistically for anal fissures, fistulas, hemorrhoids, food allergies and hypersensitivities and as a general skin support. 

First Aid & Wound Meal Topper for Dogs and Cats* - (learn more) is used holistically to help provide relief against external and internal wounds, cuts, bites, hot spots, bites, infections, bruises, scrapes, abscess, cellulitis, allergic responses and more; as a hemostatic which may help stop bleeding on contact; may help promote collagen production, cellular repair and wound healing up to 30 times faster than without use; may help accelerate wound healing and combat infection; may be used internally or externally for bacterial, fungal and microbial infections as well as for its anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties; used holistically for its action on intestinal parasites, which are known to compromise immune health; may help as an adjunctive to help address acute and chronic diseases related to bacteria, germs, fungus and viruses, including retrovirus; cytomegalovirus; E. Coli; Staph; Bacillus subtilis and DNA and RNA viruses and as a holistic adjunctive for cases of rabies.

Bionic Body – (learn more) is used holistically for its adaptogenic (read, repair and restore functions) for its immune boosting and anti-inflammatory support; as an antioxidant and for its free radical scavenging (disease preventing) actions; for its nutritive content which may help to nourish the body and strengthen and revitalize bones, eye, teeth, skin and coat; works to stimulate collagen production, a primary building material of bones; may help prevent dental disease; for its plant actions to help strengthen bones, cartilage, joints, muscles, connective tissues & blood vessels & helps to reduce joint inflammation, while activating a cartilage-protective biochemical, potentially helping to preserve healthy cartilage in aging joint; for its anti-allergen natural plant chemicals which may help to fight off allergies and infections; for its prebiotic and probiotic content to help support native gut flora and healthy digestion.

Conventional Remedies:

The diagnosis is generally made based on the appearance of the animal and history of a wound. It is possible to measure antibody levels against the tetanus toxin but this has not been widely used in the clinical setting. Attempting to culture Clostridium tetani from the wound is generally not successful.

Routine laboratory tests will include a complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. The complete blood count may show an abnormally low or high number of white blood cells (WBCs), both indicating infection.

Biochemistry testing may reveal high concentrations of an enzyme called creatine phosphokinase (CPK). This enzyme is mainly found in the heart, brain, and skeletal muscles, but the level of this enzyme increases in the blood in response to the stiffness and damage the muscles are experiencing, which are in turn responding to the bacterial infection.

The results of the urinalysis are often normal except for an increase of myoglobin in the urine. Myoglobin is a protein that is normally found in the muscles, and with constant contractions and stiffness of muscles, it starts appearing in the urine due to its release from the damaged muscles. Your veterinarian will also send samples of tissue and fluid that has been taken from the wound to the laboratory for culture. Culture testing will allow for the controlled growing of the causative organism, thereby confirming its presence in the wound.

In advanced stages of this disease, your dog will need to be hospitalized. Support and constant nursing is usually required for a period of 3-4 weeks. If your dog is unable to eat on its own, your veterinarian will place a feeding tube directly into its stomach in order to maintain its energy and metabolic needs. Because this toxin attacks the muscles and nervous system, your dog is likely to be very sensitive, making forced feedings an undesirable treatment method. Such manipulations may, in fact, exacerbate the symptoms. Intravenous fluids may be started to prevent dehydration. That will be one of the primary concerns.

Your pet will need to be in an environment with little light and noise as animals are extremely sensitive to touch, sound, and light. You will need to set up a place in the house where your pet can rest comfortably and quietly, away from other pets, active children, and busy entryways.

Your pet will likely be kept sedated to prevent further aggravation of the symptoms. Drugs can be used to minimize muscle spasm and convulsions and encourage your dog to remain in a lying position for extended periods.

Due to necessary inactivity, your pet may be lying in one place for too long a time. Soft bedding is crucial and your dog or cat will need to be turned over several times a day to prevent ulcers (bed sores) from developing.

If your pet cannot breathe properly, a breathing tube will be placed into the trachea to facilitate normal breathing until the muscles have recovered from the infection. In some animals, a hole has to be made into the trachea to facilitate breathing and prevent asphyxia.

If your dog is not able to pass urine, a urinary catheter will be placed to allow for the passage of urine. If your dog is constipated, an enema can be given to relieve constipation. In many cases, these treatments may be applied in the home environment.

Your pet’s environment must remain STERILE. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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