This section is from the book "The Farmers Ready Reference Or Hand Book Of Diseases Of Horses And Cattle", by S. C. Orr. . Also available from Amazon: The Farmer's Ready Reference;.
Tetanus has heretofore been divided into two kinds; viz.: traumatic when the result of a wound, and idiopathic when occuring without a prior disease or injury; but science has proven beyond a doubt that the disease is of microbic origin, the disease germ entering the animal organism through a wound or an abraded surface. Taking this view of the disease it is the writer's opinion that there is but one form of the disease, the traumatic, and, although no wound or injury may be found, it is there nevertheless. A mere scratch in the skin or a small abrasion inside of the mouth is sufficient to afford entrance to the germ. Wounds of the feet are more apt to be followed by tetanus than any other, due to their being in direct contact with the earth, the home of the germ which produces the disease.
Symptoms. - At first the animal will appear stiff, both in limbs and body, and the head will be stretched forward. Jerk his head up suddenly and you will see the haw or membrane at the corner of the eye thrown out till it covers the sight. The jaws may not be much affected at first and the animal continues to eat; but as the disease progresses the jaws become more set until the animal cannot even drink water.
Treatment. - Treatment is not generally successful except in the hands of an expert. If attempted it must be prompt and energetic. If the jaws are thoroughly set there is little encouragement, and yet the writer saved one case in which the jaws were so tightly closed that liquid would not run back in the mouth w hen the animal was lying down and the nose turned up. First find the wound if possible; cleanse it with warm water, then saturate a piece of cotton with either fluid extract of belladonna or lobelia and bind it on the wound. Now give from one to two ounces of Barbadoes aloes. If the jaws are too close to give in a ball place it back on the teeth with a paddle Mix one ounce of turpentine in eight ounces of raw linseed oil and give as a drench or with a syringe. Give the following dose at once and continue three times a day thereafter: Chloral hydrate and bromide of potassium, of each four drachms; iodide of potassium, forty grains; water, three ounces; mix. When the first dose of each medicine has been given, remove the bandage from the wound and saturate a piece of cotton with turpentine and bind on instead of the other one. In about two hours remove this and then dress the wound twice a day with oil and turpentine mixed in equal parts until pus begins to form. If the turpentine irritates the patient, take the cotton off and saturate it with belladona or lobelia and bind it on again Keep the animal in a dark, cool place where there is no noise and allow no one but the attendant to go near. Keep a pail of water where it can drink at will. Give gruel or soft food of any kind that it will try to eat.