Last weekend I helped my parents put up an old fence. Per the usual, I brought my Golden Retriever with me to help. He often goes with me wherever I go, and he especially likes going to my parents to play with their dog.

The dogs were playing in the yard, and I happened to be kneeled down next to a 4×4 post getting ready to lift it. I looked over just in time to see my dog run passed me and step on and old rusty screw. I immediately checked his paw and didn’t find any evidence that it punctured his skin. There was no blood and I couldn’t find a wound. The screw was old and dull, so I figured he was okay. I cursed myself for not noticing the board with the screw with it before the incident, but thanked my lucky stars that it didn’t do any harm – so I thought.

Fast forward three days later. I came home from work to find my dog throwing up and stiff. I rushed him into the animal hospital where they ran tests. His ATL liver levels were four times too high indicating a toxic reaction. He kept biting his paw – the one that I watched step on the screw. His back legs and tail would seize stick-straight, and then he would return to normal. It was a painful cycle for him – losing control of his back end then gaining it again. While there is no test to confirm tetanus, that is our best conclusion. He had a form called “localized tetanus” which affects the extremities closest to the wound. If the toxins would’ve reached his bloodstream he would’ve exhibited signs of “generalized tetanus” where his entire body would seize causing lockjaw.

Because he could still eat, we immediately put him on antibiotics – among an array of other drugs to combat the bacteria. Unfortunately the toxics already had affected his nerves so an antitoxin was moot at this point. The best we could do was treat the bacterial infection causing the toxins and let the toxins work their way out of his system.

I brought him back for a follow-up 36 hours later. His liver levels had come down and he was much less symptomatic. We are still in the course of the treatment, but he appears to be on the upper edge of his recovery.

Long story short, your dog is not vaccinated for tetanus. Your neighbor’s dog isn’t. Mine isn’t.

My horse is. My goat is. And somehow my dog isn’t. The reason it isn’t recommended is because tetanus is so rare in dogs. My veterinarian said that it was “a unicorn of a disease” because it is almost impossible for a dog to contract it.

When all said and done, I will be nearly $1000 in vet bills because my dog stepped on a screw. If I could go back in time I would’ve done two things: picked up that board and gotten pet insurance on my dog.

These are the types of things that we don’t plan on happening. What seems to be impossible can happen, and it is best to be prepared as best we can be. When it comes to our furry family, we do not sacrifice their health or care because of cost. We do whatever it takes to get them healthy and back to normal as quickly as possible.

Pet insurance allows security to not be concerned with financial cost when it comes to care in emergency situations as these. I highly recommend that you chat with your Miller-Schuring Agent today about pet insurance!