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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 19, 2006

    Default Botulism?

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2004
    Rolling hills of Virginny


    The problem with that type of botulism is that there's no vaccine for it, and it can come from hay or even while they're grazing, if a small animal died out in their pasture.

    My condolences to your friend. I knew someone years ago who lost her favorite horse to the same thing.
    Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2003
    Baldwin, MD


    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 02:20 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 19, 2006


    We are in Idaho.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2012
    Twin Cities


    You can vaccinate against the bacteria: this prevents bacteria from infecting horse, where they could secrete the toxin.

    However, it does nothing to prevent reaction to the toxin itself. So if preformed toxin is ingested, reaction still occurs.

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