Tetanus in Dogs

My dog Ranger is currently in the animal hospital suffering from Tetanus. I looked around online Saturday night to find some information on it and it was very limited as a result I took him into the emergency vet where he has been since then. For those wanting some info here is his story so far. Also for the record I have no idea where he got it from and the vets said that very few people do know where their dog got it.

Friday morning I noticed Ranges eye’s looked a little funny, funny as in his third eyelids were showing. This was his first symptom. I mentioned it to my husband as I was running out the door to just monitor it and I would see him when I got home. Husband did some research online and whenever third eyelids were showing there wasn’t any good news and his mouth, ears and eyebrows had started to become very stiff and taut.  So that night we took him to our local vet. This is a big deal for Ranger considering his anxiety but he coped very well. The vet had never seen it before and called for a second opinion, who suggested tetanus but sent us home to monitor him.

The next night I got home and he was still the same with no improvement, so late Saturday night we took him to the emergency vet in Sydney. After three opinions the vets all concluded that it must be tetanus (because it couldn’t be anything else) however gave me the option of taking him home to monitor him… or I could leave him there to be administered an anti tetanus drug, penicillin and eye lubricant as he couldn’t close them. I chose to leave him there and I’m glad I did. His case was very early on in its progression and the vets are usually only confronted with cases when the whole body is stiff. He has been there for two nights (tonight his third) and hasn’t made much improvement. I will update this blog when his story continues however wanted to post in case anyone else wanted the information.

Tetanus is easy to prevent but difficult to treat. If signs are detected early and the disease is not too severe, treatment can be successful using antitoxin and antibiotics. – NT Govt


Ranger came home today and is on a heap of medication included eye lubricant. He is doing well however no exercise for the next two weeks and we go back in 10 days to evaluate with the vets. This is how he looks today which is a little better however his face is still very tight from the tetanus. His eyes look a little better though.

Ranger, face muscles tight from the tetanus.

Ranger, face muscles tight from the tetanus.


The black dog in this link is not Ranger but his face looked like this on the first night of symptoms: http://conseilsveterinaire.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Tetanus-face-dog.jpg

Useful blog post: http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/tetanus.html

Info: http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Content/File/p/Anim_Dis/561.pdf


The rain stopped! Training Days 10/11/12

Training has been a little slow the last few days. We have done some handling training but the rain has kept the doggies inside and a bit bored. When the rain stopped the doggies had a great run around outside chasing the birds. Ranger will still prefer to chase a tennis ball than the birds but everyone is now happy 🙂

Training days 8/9 more counter conditioning and desensitisation to touch

Giving me his paw!

Giving me his paw!

It has been so cold and rainy outside but no excuses! Tonight we did some training on our couch bed watching a movie. Ranger is getting really comfortable with me handling his paw and I’m feeling confident to move on to the other one. Syrah didn’t want to be left out so we did some training with her too, handling around her lower back and tail which she is a little hesitant about. I was surprised to see that she is more sensitive about that than Ranger is about his paws… Always something to work on.







Sleepy boy


Training Day 2 and 3

Ranger was faced with some massive challenges over the last two days. I decided on a spontaneous visit to the Hunter Valley and of course the dogs had to come too. Ranger is afraid of the car and the two hour drive was his first big challenge. I fitted two crates in the back, one for each dog so he at least had a safe space to be in when we went into wineries.

Day 2

I had to lift him in to his crate initially to get us moving and on the road. He was terrified and was shaking for a long while, with his head in the corner, this is something we really need to work on. I do realise this is not a great position to put him in but I think it was much more important for him to be with us than left at home.

One really positive thing about Ranger is he has a very speedy recovery time, on arrival at our cabin he was happy as could be and excited to explore. Its great to see him so comfortable and in the bush and with lots of space for him to be off lead he is so happy, his whole facial expressions and body language is instantly joyful. I really love seeing him like that and it makes the scary car ride worth it. When we are not interacting with him he was content to be tethered to a tree with my other dog Syrah (chocolate).

Lots of good smells on the pee tree :)

Lots of good smells on the pee tree 🙂

Its interesting to note that he has little problem getting in the car when we are away and whenever we stopped for a little explore or toilet break he was very keen to get back to his safe crate. The dogs behaved so well over the weekend and its almost like Ranger is a different dog when we are away.


Day 3

This morning we had a good walk and explore around the property we were staying at, including a dam which he walked right into for a dip. Ranger is very good off lead so was allowed to roam freely while Syrah did all her exploring on a long lead. Doggies had a lovely time and we quite happy to chill in their crates while we stopped at a cute cafe for breakfast and coffee. The trip home was once again challenging for him but he is home safe and sound and ready to get back into training tomorrow.

Do I spy a roo?

Do I spy a roo?

When to say goodbye?



Update “There is so way I could now part with Ranger and we have managed every situation in our path. my little sister and he have a mutual understanding that involved tennis balls and treats and this makes her the best in his eyes. When she comes over now he doesnt drop his tennis ball at our feet he goes right to her. It will be a long journey with him but one we are prepared to take”


This is my fear reactive little guy ‘Ranger’. I love this 13 month old border collie like he was my child. He has come a long way however I can never trust him around children. I read a book once on fear reactive dogs from a well respected trainer who said that at some point she had to re home a dog even though she worked really hard with him…. he was better off somewhere else. My 5 year old sister is coming to stay with us for a few months and I’m faced with the heartbreaking decision of trying to manage the situation or sending Ranger back to his breeder who is happy to take him. I cannot say enough great things about good breeders, and she is one of them. I’m trying to resist making a decision however time is ticking by. . . . to part with my soul mate or risk it. Welcome any advice…..

Border Collies Playing

Border Collies Playing

Here is a link to a video of my dogs playing. Im interested in any informed feedback as to if this is positive play or not. The red dog (Ranger) has dog/dog aggression and anxiety with other dogs. With Syrah (the chocolate) he copes with life and although might be a little stressed he is relatively happy.

Syrah and Ranger

naughty syrah and ranger (2)Snapshot 4 (2-02-2013 12-53 PM) (3) Snapshot 1 (2-02-2013 12-52 PM) (3) Snapshot 3 (2-02-2013 12-53 PM) (2)Snapshot 2 (2-02-2013 12-53 PM) (3) Looks like I will have to invest in a rain jacket and a puppy poncho because naughty puppies are really naughty when they don’t get a walk in the morning!