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Tetanus is a highly fatal disease affecting horses but it can be easily prevented. It is caused by a bacteria which produces a spore which can enter the body through wounds. The bacteria is often found in manure and in the soil, especially in areas frequented by horses. Often the wound may be minor, eg. puncture wound or a nail prick in the hoof and may not be apparent at the time. Once in the wound the bacteria produces a toxin which travels along the nerves to the spinal cord.

The main symptoms are stiffness and rigidity of the muscles. This usually starts around the head and we see lockjaw, protruding third eyelids and the ears are stiff and erect. With time the horse goes into spasms  and dies of respiratory failure.

Vaccination is the only method of prevention. Horses should be given 2 doses of vaccine one month apart and then a booster every 12months. The immunizations for foals can start at 3-4 months. If an unvaccinated horse has a wound then tetanus antitoxin can be given to provide short term protection.


Call the friendly staff at Mudgee Veterinary Hospital for more information.

Lastest News


Here are some photos of a horse that had multiple sarcoids (5 in total).

This case was successfully treated, and the horse is sarcoid free