The ef­fects of bot­u­lism on an­i­mals

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - News - with Dr An­nette Kelle­her, Vet­eri­nar­ian

THE clin­i­cal signs of bot­u­lism usu­ally start as hind limb weak­ness that then ex­tends up to the front limbs, head and neck, this can lead to com­plete paral­y­sis and some­times death.

Bot­u­lism can af­fect most species of an­i­mals and although not com­mon it is seen in cat­tle, horses, sheep, goats and some­times dogs.

Bot­u­lism is caused by in­gest­ing the toxin that is se­creted by the clostrid­ium bo­tulinum bac­te­ria.

This toxin is a neu­ro­toxin and it binds to nerves pre­vent­ing them func­tion­ing and caus­ing paral­y­sis.

This toxin is the same toxin that is used for bo­tox in­jec­tions in peo­ple.

Clostridial bac­te­ria such as the clostrid­ium bo­tulinum bac­te­ria can form spores and last in the en­vi­ron­ment for a long time, and when con­di­tions are right they mul­ti­ply and grow.

The bot­u­lism bac­te­ria likes to grow in rot­ten and spoiled food­stuffs, so when an an­i­mal eats the rot­ten food this is when they can con­tract bot­u­lism.

Bot­u­lism is quite dif­fi­cult to di­ag­nose as there are no real spe­cific tests for it and of­ten clin­i­cal signs may take hours to days to de­velop af­ter the toxin is con­sumed by the an­i­mal, thus mak­ing de­tec­tion of the toxin very dif­fi­cult.

If a dog de­vel­ops bot­u­lism the treat­ment in­volves sup­port­ive care and nurs­ing, re­cov­ery from paral­y­sis is very slow but pos­si­ble.

Treat­ment can be very ex­pen­sive de­pend­ing on the sever­ity of the symp­toms as swal­low­ing and res­pi­ra­tion can be af­fected in ad­di­tion to the paral­y­sis, so the dog may need weeks of in­ten­sive care.

In farm an­i­mals, un­less symp­toms are mild it is much harder to man­age bot­u­lism, of­ten the an­i­mals die or need to be eu­thanased.

Pre­ven­tion of bot­u­lism is not easy, but if there are ar­eas that have a high in­ci­dence then cat­tle and sheep can be vac­ci­nated against bot­u­lism.

For other an­i­mals such as dogs, the best thing to do is try and en­sure they don’t eat any rot­ting dead an­i­mals, or drink from any stag­nant dirty water sources when they are out for a walk.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.