Tetanus Vaccine for Dogs

A tetanus vaccine is recommended when the dog has a serious wound (bite, burn or caused by splinters). The vaccine will prevent tetanus, which is a serious disease affecting the nervous system and which can lead to death. The vaccine is not very common, but may be required to save the dog’s life.

Tetanus in Dogs

Tetanus is a rare illness in canine, affecting the nervous system and is caused by the infection with the Clostridium tetani bacteria.

The bacteria may be present at wound sites, especially wounds that have dead tissue.

The bacteria can thrive in insect wounds, bite wounds or wounds caused by nails or splinters. Burns or injection sites may also allow the Clostridium tetani bacteria to enter the dog’s system and lead to tetanus.

The incubation period for the Clostridium tetani bacteria can vary according to the type and depth of the wound. Consequently, the incubation period may be between 2 and 60 days from the moment the bacteria enter the dog’s system. Most commonly, the symptoms will start to show 2 weeks after the infection with the bacteria.

The bacteria will produce a toxin which will act on the central nervous system and cause damage and making the dog irritable and aggressive. The dog may even bite and attack family or other canines.

The toxin will affect the muscles as well and will lead to lack of coordination; the dog won’t be able to control his muscles. The dog may also have continuous muscle spasms. The lockjaw (locked jaw) is very common in tetanus and this may be a symptom that will give a clear diagnosis.

The tetanus disease can be fatal, as the muscles that control breathing may also be affected by the tetanus neurotoxin and this can stop the dog from breathing.

How Is Tetanus Transmitted

The bacteria can be transmitted from other canines, insects or other environments where the Clostridium tetani are present. The bacteria are mostly present in deeper wounds or wounds that have dead tissue.

In rare cases, the bacteria can be transmitted from the mother to the puppies through birth.

Tetanus Vaccine

The tetanus vaccine should be administered as soon as you suspect your dog may have been infected with the Clostridium tetani bacteria.

When your dog is severely injured, the vet may recommend the tetanus vaccine to prevent the infection with the disease.

The vaccine is effective to prevent the spreading of the Clostridium tetani bacteria in the system and will also prevent the formation of the neurotoxin that may be fatal.

However, if the vaccine is not administered in a timely manner, the bacteria can enter the dog’s system and the vaccine won’t be effective.

If your dog gets wounded, it’s best to clean the wound with an antibacterial soap and oxygen peroxide. This is typically done prior to administering the vaccine and it’s essential, as it can kill the bacteria that may cause tetanus.