Sunday, December 10, 2017

Beating Botulism in Horses - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 16, 2017

Botulism, the bad boy of the equine toxin world, can kill horses and foals swiftly. As one of the most potent toxins known to affect horses (yes, even more toxic than snake and spider venom, arsenic, and mercury), botulism causes death almost undoubtedly unless affected animals receive the botulism endotoxin and aggressive supportive care. Want to do everything possible to prevent botulism and safeguard your steeds? Review this list to learn how, bearing in mind most of this particular article refers to forage poisoning rather than the less common shaker foal syndrome and wound contamination.

Feed and forage selection. Many cases of botulism occur after ingestion of the toxin from feed. The bacterium Clostridium botulinum (from decomposing small animal carcasses trapped in hay bales, for example) produces toxins, labeled A through H, which horses may ingest. Type B botulism occurs most frequently in adult horses, but horses and foals can also suffer from types A and C.

“Following ingestion, the toxin quickly blocks the junction between nerves and muscle. As a result, horses rapidly lose the ability to swallow, stand, and void their urinary bladder,” explained Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a Kentucky Equine Research (KER) nutritionist...

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