Case Studies


Simba the dog with Tetanus

Here is the story of Simba.  He is a 10 year old cross breed.  He presented to our surgery on 11th March after being lame on his left hind leg for a number of days, the owner also felt he had become lethargic and had a blurred look to his eyes.  He was admitted to our hospital for blood tests and monitoring.

By the next morning Simba’s ears had become erect and his eyes had become sunken.  Based on these clinical signs our vets made the presumptive diagnosis that he was in the early stages of Tetanus.

Tetanus is an infection caused by the bacterium clostridium tetani and is very rare in dogs.

These cases can very quickly deteriorate and develop further signs such as respiratory problems and difficulty eating, this is due to the fact that tetanus causes the muscles to contract, specifically the muscles on top of the head pulling the muscles together.  Ongoing care & treatment costs & prognosis was discussed with the owners and a decision was made to proceed with intensive treatment and nursing within our hospital for Simba.

Specific treatment was initiated for Simba and he received intensive nursing.  Over the next few days Simba developed further signs including tense body, increased stiffness, hard feel to face and neck, trembling & pain when swallowing.  A decision was made on the 17th March to refer Simba to the Royal veterinary College for specialist treatment.

The Royal Veterinary College placed a feeding tube as it became increasingly difficult for him to eat.  They also operated to remove the toe which was the source of the tetanus infection.

On the 24th March, 1 week after being admitted to the RVC, Simba went home, with his feeding tube in place.  He was discharged on a variety of medications & still required a lot of care & nursing support by his owners at home.  Simba came in for regular check ups here at the Hospital.  He has still suffered with occasional y twitches and convulsions since being home but these are improving week by week.  We are now 6 weeks since Simba was initially presented to us and he is still recovering but improving week by week.

We will be sure to keep you updated on his progress, he really is an amazing success story and we are extremely proud of the hard work and care provided by our staff in aiding the correct diagnosis and treatment for Simba.  Huge credit is also owed to Simba’s owners for the dedication and care they have provided at home.


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