This condition is not common in dogs and cats as they are quite resistant to the tetanus toxin. As in people, animals get tetanus when a cut gets infected by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani that produces tetanus toxin. The causes the muscles of one or more limbs, and usually those of the entire body and the head, are caused to contract forcefully and continuously. The result is that the animal goes very stiff. Animals also develop a characteristic facial expression as all the muscles of the head contract as well.  The prognosis is guarded but many animals will recover with long-term, intensive care. Complications relate mainly to the risk of pneumonia or, in a few cases, that the animal becomes so stiff and rigid that it is unable to breathe on its own and requires ventilation.

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