A friend of mine just lost 2 horses due to Botulism toxicity. I guess there was a skunk tail in the hay? I've never heard of this before, I have found snakes, and bits of fur in the hay once in a while, but never thought anything of it.
There *IS* a vaccine for botulism for horses for C. botulinum type B, which is what horses typically get from ingesting forage contaminated by the C. botulinum B toxin, and causes Shaker Foal Syndrome. It's found in soil in certain regions of the country.
The botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin that prevents nerves from stimulating muscles and paralysis develops. Most horses have the inability to swallow and overall muscle weakness. There is an antitoxin available to treat these horses but it will not help with toxin that is already at the nerve terminal.
DogPonyShow - what area of the country are you in? Botulism is endemic in the northeast (VA, MD, PA etc), and is considered a core vaccine there. It's sporadic in other parts of the country, but outbreaks pop up pretty regularly.
Last edited by Lauren12; Dec. 1, 2012 at 03:20 AM.