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Clostridium tetani

7501

12/30/01

Etiology

Cl. Tetani is a normal occupant of the soil in many areas. It can seriously affect most animals, including man. (Horses are particularly susceptible.) The bacteria release a potent toxin which when absorbed by motor nerves causes violent muscle contractions.
Symptoms
Following an injury or procedure such as castration. Easily excited, stiffness ("lockjaw") followed by spasms, rapid breathing, fall to the ground, may be extremely high fever.
Treatment
Immediate antitoxin, tranquilizers, TLC. A terrible death to watch.
Prevention
Yearly vaccinations. If protection is questionable upon serious injury, tetanus antitoxin should be given as a prophylactic measure. We recommend that fresh antitoxin should be kept on hand for serious emergencies. Dispose of outdated or partially used bottles. Can easily cause anaphylactic reaction. All humans who are in agricultural situations should receive tetanus vaccination as recommended by their local health authority and boosters whenever there is an injury involving soil, fencing, building materials, animal wastes, etc.
Comments
This is a terrible disease to witness either in your animals or human family members. Make sure that everyone is protected. The vaccine is very inexpensive.
Protecting babies

Maternal [passive] antibodies for Cl. perfringens C and D, from pre-natal CD/T, will provide protection to the babies for a few weeks. Of major concern to little ones, however, is the prevention of tetanus. Because of the wonderful things which we do to the kids, such as castrating and dehorning (and docking in the case of lambs), we need to make sure that they have lots of antibodies coursing through their system. CD/T vaccine is a "toxoid" which stimulates the animal itself to create antibodies against the disease antigens which you have injected with the shot. Although the toxoid offers long term immunity, little actual resistance is created by the first shot. Then you have to wait about three weeks until you give the second shot which will take a few more days to raise the resistance to the optimum level. If you wait to castrate or dehorn until the second shot has had a chance to do its job, the testicles will be so large that banding will be unnecessarily painful and the horns will be so long that dehorning can become a major undertaking.

The solution to this dilemma is the use of Tetanus Antitoxin. This provides almost immediate immunity to the disease. It can be given shortly before or at the time of the procedure and at the same time as regular C and D vaccine. Some people simply insert the contents of a 1500 unit vial of Tetanus Antitoxin into a 50 ml vial of C and D Toxoid at the time of use. You will still need to give a second C and D Toxoid three weeks later and to give tetanus toxoid for long term protection. The latter can be handled by giving CD/T or tetanus toxoid at time of weaning.

WWW Resources

Univ of Minnesota

CONSULTANT ©   Cornell's Diagnostic program



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