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Localised tetanus in a cat
  1. K. F. A. Langner, DVM,
  2. H. C. Schenk, PhD,
  3. C. Leithaeuser, DVM,
  4. H. Tholen, DVM and
  5. D. Simon, DVM, DiplECVIM-CA
  1. Small Animal Clinic, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Buenteweg 9, 30559 Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany
  1. E-mail for correspondence kathrin.langner{at}

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TETANUS is a neurological disorder caused by tetanospasmin, a neurotoxin of the anaerobic spore-forming bacillus Clostridium tetani (Caleo and Schiavo 2009). Tetanus spores are commonly introduced into tissues through wounds and they convert under anaerobic conditions to a vegetative toxin-producing form. The released tetanospasmin ascends to the CNS by retrograde axonal transport and blocks the release of inhibitory neuromediators. Clinical signs result from subsequent constant excitation of CNS motoneurons and present as localised or generalised muscle spasms. Cats are less affected by tetanus compared with other species, possibly due to an innate resistance of the feline nervous tissue to tetanospasmin (Godwin 1985, Greene 2006). This case report describes a case of localised tetanus in a cat, born and maintained in Lower Saxony, Germany.

A three-year-old, intact female, domestic shorthair cat with outdoor access was presented with a three-day history of lameness at the right forelimb. The owner noticed a progressive worsening of the lameness until the cat was unable to walk on the affected limb. In addition, the cat had shown reduced food and water intake for the past 24 hours. On clinical examination, the right forelimb was deflected caudally, with the shoulder and elbow in rigid extension and partial flexion of the carpal joint (Fig 1). The limb was almost completely resistant to passive movement, and manipulation appeared to be painful. …

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