What is Lockjaw in Cats?
Lockjaw, also known as tetanus toxemia, is a condition that is caused by Clostridium tetani, a neurotoxin that resides in necrotic tissue, soil and other low oxygen environments. The neurotoxin is marked by its ability to live for long periods of time in areas with low oxygen by producing spores. When a cat comes into contact with these spores, they enter the cat 's body and bind to the nerve cells, causing muscle spasms and muscle stiffening.
Cats are more resistant to the tetanus neurotoxin, giving them a longer incubation period than other mammals. Because of this, cats often develop localized tetanus rather than generalized. Lockjaw is a serious medical condition that requires immediate treatment in order to save the cat 's life.
Symptoms of Lockjaw in Cats
Depending on how many spores were able to enter the cat 's body and the quantity of toxins produced by the cat, symptoms may range from mild to severe. These symptoms include:
Rigid muscles at entrance site, which is typically a wound or bite mark
Stiff jaw and neck muscles
Pain during urination
Mouth upright in a "grin"
Hard, stiff tail
Stiff ears that are continually erect
Difficulty with eating
Painful sensitivity to touch
Difficulty in opening mouth
Whole-body spasms triggered by a sudden noise or movement
There are two types of lockjaw:
Localized, where the neurotoxins