It’s not easy to predict when things can turn for the worst – as Carly, the owner of 7-year-old Bull Terrier, Zen, found out. Just ten days earlier, Carly had taken her doggy to her regular vet clinic with an infected swollen left paw. However, even after being treated for the infection, Zen was exhibiting symptoms that left his owner questioning if he was getting better.

In a bid to be safe rather than sorry, Carly hurried to Animal Emergency Service at Tanawha to get some answers for her dogs odd behaviour. On arrival, and after a comprehensive consultation, the vets discovered abnormal behaviour such as stiff gait (stiff legs and movement from the hips causing an odd walk), and Zen was also knuckling on his forepaws (where the dog’s paws drag along the ground as they are walking). Coupled with difficulties eating, the inability to open his mouth, and a swollen toe, Zen was in a world of pain.

Our vets admitted Zen to hospital to start his treatment with immediacy, as all these symptoms were assessed as early signs of a tetanus infection. Our Veterinary team made sure Carly understood the risks of the treatment and kept her up-to-date on Zen’s progress.

As a Veterinarian it is not always easy to diagnose illnesses, and so a series of tests was done to confirm their early suspicions of tetanus. After analysis of a full set of blood results and urine tests, Zen started treatment for the tetanus infection – which included antibiotics, anti-toxin and muscle relaxants, in addition to life-saving intravenous fluids (IV fluids) to help deliver the medications around Zen’s body. Even though Zen was beginning to make a full recovery, it was likely he would exhibit the symptoms for up to three weeks. Thankfully, Zen has made a slow but complete recovery.

Thanks to Carly’s instincts that something wasn’t quite right with her usually playful and happy Bull Terrier, Zen is still alive and well today. Remember that you know your pet first and foremost, and if their behaviour is off, it’s important to seek Veterinary assistance.

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