Original Research

Tetanus in a free-living Hippopotamus Hippopotamus Amphibius Capensis from the Kruger National Park

V de Vos, B. D de Klerk
Koedoe | Vol 23, No 1 | a644 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v23i1.644 | © 1980 V de Vos, B. D de Klerk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 December 1980 | Published: 02 December 1980

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V de Vos, National Parks Board of Trustees, South Africa
B. D de Klerk, National Parks Board of Trustees, South Africa

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Abstract

Tetanus in a free-living hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) from the Kruger National Park is described. The animal exhibited the classical tetanus symptomatology, the most salient clinical features being trauma (skin wounds) associated with exaggerated response of voluntary muscles to trivial stimuli, muscular spasms, general muscular rigidity, trismus, prolapsed third eye-lid and the preservation of consciousness. It is conjectured that the hippo's semi-aquatic way of life with its close proximity to dung-polluted water and an innate intraspecific aggression amongst males which often leads to fighting and trauma, should provide ample opportunity for infection with Clostridium tetani.

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