The bacteria Clostridium tetanii causes Tetanus. It can be carried in soil and feces. Because it can be found essentially everywhere horses live, they are particularly susceptible to Tetanus.
There is a vaccination ("Tetanus Toxoid") to protect horses from Tetanus, and it is extremely important to keep your equine's Tetanus vaccinations up to date, as Tetanus is most often fatal in horses.
Signs of tetanus include:
- muscle stiffness/ spasm
- the "third eyelid" will protrude across the eye
- the horse may collapse
IF Tetanus is caught VERY early, it can be possible to treat, although treatment is still rarely successful.
It is extremely important to discuss Tetanus, the Tetanus Toxoid vaccine, and important early signs of Tetanus with your veterinarian. If you suspect your horse may have Tetanus, you need to contact an equine veterinarian immediately.