We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Tetanus Antitoxin?

By Lindsey Rivas
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Tetanus antitoxin is a serum that provides immediate, but temporary, passive immunity to the bacteria that cause tetanus. The antitoxin is usually given intravenously or by injection when one gets a deep wound that might be contaminated with the bacteria. It can be made with antibodies from the blood plasma of either humans or animals. If the serum is from an animal source, there is a greater risk of allergic reaction and side effects than if it is derived from humans. In some cases, the serum can also be given to animals that might be at risk for tetanus.

In most countries, humans are immunized against tetanus from birth. For those who have not received the vaccine, or if 10 years have passed since getting immunized, the tetanus antitoxin might be given to help prevent or treat tetanus. The serum provides immediate passive immunity that only lasts until the antibodies are broken down by the body, which can be anywhere from one to two weeks. It is usually administered soon after a person gets a deep wound that is vulnerable to contamination and might allow tetanus bacteria to enter the body. The antitoxin neutralizes the toxin that is released by tetanus bacteria and should be given as soon as possible after getting wounded to prevent the fatal disease from spreading throughout the body.

There are generally two processes by which a tetanus antitoxin serum could be made. One way uses pooled blood plasma from multiple humans who have been immunized. The other process involves actively immunizing an animal, typically a horse or sheep, with the tetanus toxoid so that the animal produces tetanus antibodies. The blood plasma from either the immunized human or animal sources is then separated into the globulin proteins that contain the tetanus antibodies and is made into the antitoxin serum. The serum also includes preservatives to keep the solution fresh for up to two years.

The tetanus antitoxin that is animal-derived is more likely to cause allergic reaction and side effects than one made from human blood plasma because the horse or sheep proteins are foreign to human bodies. Most times, it is preferred to use the human source antitoxin over the animal source if possible to avoid reactions. The possible reactions include anaphylaxis, serum sickness, difficulty breathing, and skin rash. The tetanus antitoxin serum from animal origins should not be used if one has asthma, infantile eczema, or has had an allergic reaction to prior serums.

In some cases, it is necessary to give animals a tetanus antitoxin. It might be given after an animal gets a deep would contaminated with soil if the animal has not been previously vaccinated against tetanus. It is also sometimes given after various operations if the animal is in a location where tetanus is a frequent problem. Like humans, animals given the tetanus antitoxin only receive temporary immunity. If the serum is being used to treat an animal that has tetanus, a higher dose is generally necessary, although it may not be successful in curing the disease.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.