Risk factors associated with outcome in dogs with tetanus: 38 Cases (1987-2005)

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27 Scopus citations


Objective - To assess the clinical course of disease and risk factors associated with outcome in dogs with tetanus. Design - Retrospective case series. Animals - 38 dogs with tetanus. Procedures - Data were collected from medical records of dogs with tetanus, including signalment; wound characteristics; initial clinical signs; severity of worst clinical signs; time to wound management, antimicrobial treatment, and antitoxin administration; and 28-day survival rate. Statistical analyses were performed to evaluate relationships between the potentially predictive variables and disease progression and outcome. Results - The 28-day survival rate was 77% (among 35 uncensored dogs). The most common initial clinical signs in affected dogs were ocular (n = 18) and facial (11) abnormalities. Nineteen dogs progressed to recumbency with severe muscle spasms, and 14 dogs had high or low heart rate or blood pressure values. Eight dogs died or were euthanized because of complications of tetanus. There was a significant association between younger age and development of more severe clinical signs. Furthermore, a significant inverse relationship between development of severe clinical signs and survival was identified. There was no association between earlier initiation of wound management, antimicrobial administration, or antitoxin administration and either progression of signs or 28-day survival rate. Wound type was not associated with 28-day survival rate. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Results suggest that younger dogs with tetanus may be more likely to develop severe clinical signs. The prognosis for survival in dogs with tetanus is good if abnormalities in heart rate or blood pressure values do not develop.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-83
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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