Tetanus

Clostridium tetani produces toxins that affect the central nervous system causing hypersensitivity, stiffness in legs and muscles, and opisthotonos.

Alternative names: Clostridium tetani

Information

It is caused by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani, which produces toxins that affect the central nervous system. The organism, capable of forming spores lives in large intestine, is present in feces of many mammals and in some soils. This disease can be a problem for pigs living outdoors. The incubation period is 1 to 10 weeks. In nursing piglets of less than 2 weeks old the disease is uncommon. 

 

Symptoms

All ages

  • Hypersensitivity.
  • Stiffness of legs and muscles.
  • Stiff tail.
  • Muscle spasms in ears and face.
  • High mortality.
  • Opisthotonos.

 

Causes / Contributing Factors

  • The bacteria must enter through a dirty wound or cut.
  • In lactating piglets the most common source is castration - not hygienic methods.

 

Diagnosis

  • It is based on clinical signs.

 

Control/Prevention

  • There is no effective treatment once clinical signs are present.
  • Vaccination of the sow is very effective.
  • Using antitoxins during  castration.
  • Using prophylactic antibiotics, especially penicillin.