Tetanus in Cats: causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

Tetanus in cats, a condition that rarely occurs but needs attention. Let’s see what the causes, symptoms and treatment are.

Although tetanus in cats is a condition that occurs very rarely, and mostly in stray cats, the cause, symptoms and treatment must be known in any case.

It is generally considered a serious condition that requires immediate treatment but let’s find out more about it.

However, knowing how to identify the signals, knowing how and when to intervene but above all knowing how to prevent is really important for the health of your pet.

Causes of tetanus in cats

The cause of tetanus in cats is attributable to a bacterium called Clostridium tetani .

It is a bacterium generally found in soil and other oxygen-poor environments , but also in the intestines of mammals and in the dead tissue of wounds created by injuries, surgery, burns, frostbite and fractures.

Symptoms of tetanus in cats

Symptoms that can occur when the tetanus bacillus is present in cats are:

  • stiff and hard tail
  • difficulty eating
  • difficulty opening the mouth
  • breathing difficulties in cats
  • pain when urinating
  • deburring
  • fever in cats
  • wrinkled forehead
  • ears continuously erect and rigid
  • paralysis
  • progressive stiffness of the muscles of the body
  • muscle spasms throughout the body
  • constipation in cats
  • death

The symptoms just mentioned show themselves only after the spores have entered the wound and reproduced.

Furthermore, if the infection remains local in the area where it entered the body, in some subjects it can also regress.

While if the toxins are able to enter the nervous system , some people can also degenerate.

Diagnosis and treatment of tetanus in cats

In order to establish a diagnosis, the vet will want to know the complete health history of the cat and in particular the onset of symptoms, information about previous injuries or trauma.

The vet will then perform a complete physical examination of the cat, along with the following tests:

  • complete blood count (may show abnormally low or high white blood cell counts (WBCs), both indicating an infection)
  • biochemical profile (can show high concentrations of an enzyme called creatine phosphokinase)
  • analysis of cat urine
  • tissue and fluid samples taken from the wound to the laboratory for culture (to confirm the growth of an organism in the wound)

Once the diagnosis has been established, the veterinarian will order the animal to be hospitalized for a period of 3-4 weeks .

Good support, continuous care and feeding directly into the pet’s stomach to avoid cat wasting and dehydration.

The animal will also be kept sedated, in an environment with little light and little noise. The medications administered will help the cat to remain calm and in a lying position even all the time.

For this reason, there will need to be certain times when it will need to be filmed, to prevent pressure sores / ulcers from developing. In some cases it will need to be intubated to facilitate normal breathing.

Finally, as therapy to treat the cat, drugs to bind the toxin, antibiotics, orally or by injection, will be given to control the further spread of the infection.

Topical (external) antibiotics around the periphery of the wound will also be used to control infection.

Prognosis largely depends on the severity of the disease; the more severe the disease, the less chance of a complete recovery. It often takes a long time for a full recovery.

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