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Tetanus is one of the earliest attested diseases in human history. And it is also one of the most painful and deadly. Fortunately, like Rabies, tetanus rates in the Western world have fallen dramatically over the last century. However, tetanus is still not uncommon among hot or developing societies. Furthermore, it is still found in the United States every year. This is especially true due to puncture wounds, including those caused by animal bites. Tetanus can be avoided and even treated after showing symptoms. However, tetanus often leads to death and should be treated with grave concern.
Tetanus is relatively rare in dogs, yet the bacteria can be carried by saliva. While we tend to identify the disease with rusty nails, it can be taken by saliva, rust, or soil. It is most commonly spread due to deep puncture wounds. Doctors recommend receiving a tetanus shot at least once every ten years. Originally called lockjaw, the disease causes severe muscle spasms. As the name suggests, this usually occurs in the jaw and spreads to other body parts.
In some cases, the muscle strain is so severe it can cause a person not to be able to move on their own or even break their bones. In other cases, tetanus can cause severe issues leading to respiratory failure. Furthermore, even with treatment, tetanus can lead to death. After showing symptoms, 10% of patients with the disease die, even with treatment. Dog bites are a vector for the spread of tetanus.
The disease incubation period is commonly around ten days, although in some cases, it could be up to several months. The first symptom will often include muscle spasms or stiffness and can also include sweating and fever. If you are not sure, contact a doctor ASAP. Tetanus is nothing to trifle with. Seek medical treatment. There may still be time for vaccination. For more expert discussions by our lawyer, check out our blog.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.