Tetanus is a rare condition in cats –this is the result of a bacterium known as Clostridium tetani. This particular bacterium is commonly present in soil and some other low oxygen environments and in the intestines of mammals too, as well as in the dead tissue of the wounds, which are created because of surgery, injury, burns, fractures, and frostbites. In this article, we are going to discuss further about lockjaw in cats –what causes it, its symptoms, as well as its prognosis and treatments. Read on to learn more!
Lockjaw in Cats: What is this feline condition?
Felines are more resilient to tetanus neurotoxin rather than with some other mammals. This is what gives them a much longer period of incubation than the typical. Due to this scenario, cats repeatedly develop restricted tetanus instead of a generalized ones. Furthermore, the lockjaw in cats is a grim medical illness, which needs an immediate treatment to protect the life of a cat.
Moreover, lockjaw in cats or tetanus toxemia –a feline condition, which is due to Clostridium tetani, which is a neurotoxin, which resides in the soil, necrotic tissue, as well as in some other environments with low oxygen. Further, the neurotoxin is actually marked by the capacity to live for a much longer time in regions with low levels of oxygen, by way of making spores. In the event that a cat comes in contact with the spores, they may enter the body of the cat, as well as bind into the nerve cells –thus triggering muscle spasms, as well as the stiffening of the muscles.
Types of lockjaw in cats:
- Generalized –Neurotoxins get into the area and spread in the nerve cells all over the body.
- Localized –Neurotoxins only distress the nerve cells on the region all over the entrance wound or site.
Causes of Cat Lockjaw
The tetanus spores goes into the body of the cat via a recently picked up wound –this is where they tend to germinate. Furthermore, the cats with deeper lesion wounds are at much higher possibility of contracting the spores. When these tetanus spores gets into the body, they may bind into the nerve cells, as well as obstruct the regular nerve signals transmission. This is what causes the muscle spasms and stiffness to happen. Due to the fact that the neurotoxin resides in the soil, as well as in the deceased tissue of mammals, the cats outside are at much higher risk.
Symptoms of Cat Lockjaw
Varying on the number of spores that get to enter the body of the cat, as well as the quantity of toxins yielded by the feline, the symptoms may range from being mild up to being severe. These certain symptoms may include:
- Whole-body paralysis
- Drawn back lips
- Whole-body spasms caused by a sudden movement or noise
- Difficulty in opening the mouth
- Painful sensitivity to touch
- Difficulty with eating
- Breathing issues
- Stiff ears, which may continually erect
- Stiff, hard tail
- Upright mouth in a grin
- Pain during urination
- Clumsy gait
- Stiff neck and jaw muscles
- Rigid muscles at the entrance site that is commonly a bite mark or a wound
Prognosis of Cat Lockjaw
The vet may need to discern the complete health history of the cat, any latest injuries or wounds, as well as a thorough list of the symptoms. Furthermore, the vet may also inspect the cat, lightly feeling for any muscle stiffness, searching at the gait of the cat, as well as listen to the lungs of the cat for whatever signs of difficulty in breathing.
Moreover, routine lab tests may also be performed –these include a CBC as well as a biochemical profile. Both tests might show some signs of infections with the existence of low or high white blood cells, together with the existence of the creatine phosphokinase. This is an enzyme, which increases as a response to bacterial infections. Additionally, a urinalysis might also be required, which may indicate the existence of myoglobin –a kind of muscle protein, which passes through the urine from the injured muscles. In order to sanction the prognosis of the tetanus, the vet may take a trifling taster of the tissue and fluid at the site of the wound. All of these samples may be directed to the laboratory for further analysis.
Treatments for Cat Lockjaw
In the advanced stages of lockjaw in cats, the cat may need to get hospitalized. Further, good support, as well as a constant nursing is commonly necessary for a period of 3 to 4 weeks. If the cat isn’t able to eat, the vet may place a feeding cylinder into the cat’s stomach directly –in order to preserve its metabolic needs and energy. Since this toxin bouts the nervous system and muscles, cats are so sensitive, thus making involuntary feedings an unwanted method of treatment. These kinds of manipulations may, actually, aggravate the symptoms. In addition, intravenous fluids might also be started in order to prevent dehydration. This may be one of the main concerns with lockjaw in cats.
Moreover, the cat may be kept asleep, in order to prevent more symptoms aggravation. Medications may also be used in minimizing the convulsions and muscle spasm. In amalgamation, these kinds of drugs may encourage the cat to stay in a lying position for extended periods. Further, you must also provide the cat with soft bedding, and you‘ll need to schedule systematic times through the day if you are able to turn the cat over to the other side, in order to prevent bed ulcers or sores from instigating.