|First Posted: July 21, 2008|
Aug 19, 2012
Botulism in Horses
by Debora Johnson
Diagnosing and Managing Tetanus and Botulism in Horses (An excellent article)
A bacteria, Clostridium botulonum causes botulism in horses. Tetanus is caused by a bacteria that is closely related. It is called Clostridium tetani. The botulism bacterium is found in the soil. The toxins produced by C. Botulinum is one of the most potent poisons known to man. Horses are particularly sensitive to botulinum toxin; untreated foals can suffer up to 90 percent mortality. Mortality is also high in untreated adults.
SymptomsYou may notice some of the following:
These symptoms mimic other horse diseases such as rabies, equine protozoal mylitis (EPM) tetanus, and tying-up (Azorturia), however, the horse's decline is rapid. The more the toxin the faster the decline. Botulism is considered one of the most deadly poisons known to man.
Shaker foal syndrome is a term used to describe botulism in foals.
Bad hay and silage that has been stored improperly can become contaminated. Decomposition of rodents, birds, and other carcasses in baled hay are often blamed. Large round bales of hay put a horse at greater risk for botulism.
An antitoxin can be given but it is very expensive.
Botulism may be prevented through vaccination with BotVax B.
For More Information:Beat Botulism
Botulism in Horses/University of KY Extension Service
Botulism in Horses and Haylage
Type A botulism in horses in the United States: a review of the past ten years (1998-2008)