Telford dog owner's warning for walkers after Dalmatian's tetanus struggle

A Telford woman whose dog was left unable to eat or see properly because of a brush with tetanus is warning other pet owners to take care.

Floyd before catching tetanus
Floyd before catching tetanus

Karen Phipps, who lives in Lightmoor, took her big Dalmatian Floyd for a long walk on muddy paths near the Iron Bridge three weeks ago. Unbeknown to her at the time, he had sustained a small cut on his paw, leading to a tetanus infection.

She said: "We don't know for definite [when he was infected] because he goes for long walks every day.

Since his injury Floyd has experienced stiffness around his head, bulging eyes and difficulty eating

"His paw had a tiny cut which I didn't see until his toe had swollen. The bacteria had got into that and attacked his nerves."

Floyd's eyes began bulging and stiffness around his head made it impossible for him to eat or drink properly. Karen noticed that his eyesight had been affected especially badly when he began bumping into walls and objects.

Neurological problems

She struggled to get an urgent vet appointment because of the festive period.

"My original vet said it was that rare, it probably wasn’t [tetanus]. I knew in my heart it was and tried everything to get him seen sooner but I couldn’t get a sooner appointment," said Karen.

This week she went to see specialists in Solihull who confirmed that Floyd was suffering with tetanus. The condition causes neurological problems and can even kill, although humans can be vaccinated against it.

Karen said: "Lucky for Floyd he is a big dog and it affected him mildly, but still he had his face quite frozen and it has affected his eyesight.

"He still isn’t out of the woods yet. I have to give him a lot of medication and hand feed him. He can’t drink himself either."

She said that it could be months before Floyd is back to his old self, and warned any dog owners to be wary when walking their pets in muddy or rural locations – tetanus is often found in soil and the manure of animals like horses and cows.

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