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Horse With Botulism?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Redcatcher, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. Redcatcher

    Redcatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2010
    At My Desk!
    I have a 14 year old Appaloosa stallion and I am pretty sure he has a mild case of botulism. It has been raining non-stop, mild for November and he would rather drink from puddles than from his water bucket which is dumped and rinsed twice a day. He has NOT been seen or diagnosed by a vet. He eats but very slowly, lolls his tongue and spends more then the usual time laying down. His gait is slow shuffle but he gets around. He is into his 3rd day with this and has not gotten any worse. From what I read there is not much that can be done except supportive therapy (aside from anti-toxin serum that costs thousands). He has no problem drinking. I am not sure a vet is needed at this point as I think he would have gone downhill pretty fast if he was going to.
     
  2. resthavenfarms

    resthavenfarms Out Of The Brooder

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    Er, I work in a large animal clinic, horses full-time. It's possible that he WILL continue to go downhill.....IF he has botulism. I'd definately make him some slurries of food that he can eat more easily.

    I'd be suspicious of any other neurologic disease as well. Any of the encephalomyelitis', WNV, EHV, rabies, hepatic encephalopathy. They can all mimic each other with neuro deficits and if you look them up, you'll see specific signs listed but I assure you that 98% of horses haven't read the books.

    Good luck...
     
  3. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Get the vet out asap.

    Botulism isn't usually gotten from water, though it's possible. It's often traced back to dead animals or mold in the hay, commoner in round bales.

    There isn't really any such thing as a 'mild case of botulism'. It is an extremely potent toxin. You don't mention the fasciculations or other symptoms that may accompany botulism. Other possible symptoms are inability to swallow and difficulty closing the eyelids. Also it can show up up to a week or even a little more after the animal ingests the food.

    That said, this case needs a vet asap, whether it 'goes downhill' or not. The horse could have something lodged in its throat or back of the mouth, but the slow shuffling gait doesn't fit with that. The two things together, difficulty eating and slow shuffling gait, this needs to be seen by a vet.

    What comes to mind is some form of poisoning, but it could be so many things.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  4. joeyg4583

    joeyg4583 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Brighton
    I have a mare who was experiencing similar symptoms: lethargic, not terribly interested in food, more time laying down than usual, and she would pick hay up in her mouth and then just let it drop. It turns out she has gastric ulcers. I would have a vet come because those symptoms could have a lot of causes even teeth. Hope your horse gets better [​IMG]
     
  5. resthavenfarms

    resthavenfarms Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 8, 2010
    SW Virginia
    Quote:[​IMG]
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    There are enough different diseases that can present like that, that I would NOT personally be comfortable with a DIY diagnosis of "botulism, just leave it alone cuz it will probably get better and there's nothing can be done".

    Rabies should be a thought when a horse first presents like that -- quarantine him from other horses *and from people*, and handle him with care w/r/t bodily fluids and any broken skin on the handler -- but if he is in his third day with no change I would not think rabies likely, by now.

    Personally I would for sure, definitely, have a vet look at him.

    Best of luck,

    Pat
     
  7. Orchid

    Orchid Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    I also don't think there's such a things as "mild" case of botulism. [​IMG]

    Call your vet.
     
  8. poltroon

    poltroon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    California (North Coast)
    Call the vet, because not only is there the possibility of doing some good for this horse, but you need to know what is going on for any other horses going on. It could be a poisonous plant, for example, in his hay or his field that needs to be removed.

    Botulism is generally associated with dead things in feed, and it's pretty rare to have only a single horse die or to have a horse linger.
     
  9. Redcatcher

    Redcatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2010
    At My Desk!
    Thanks everyone for your input and advice. He has improved today. If he was the same or worse, I would have called in a vet. In the past, I used to call a vet for every little pimple my horses got and most of it turned out to be a waste of time and money. If the horse is comfortable, eating and drinking I use the "wait and see" approach. Without bloodwork, a vet would not know for certain, either. He had a hearty appetite all along but had little control over his lips and tongue. It just took him a long time to eat as he would drop hay out of his mouth and drool. It still takes him an hour longer than usual to eat. I ruled out colic because of his appetite, normal gut sounds and manure. He was weak especially in the hind end and shuffled along with his head held low (still, to a minor degree). NO tremors or rigidness. I have not seen a mosquito since in months so I doubt it is EE or WN. The weather may be mild but not that mild for even a stray mosquito.
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I am glad he's better!

    Just an observation, one thing a vet can pretty cheaply do that you yourself cannot is to put a speculum in there and examine for signs of a foreign body, which is a not-infrequent cause of all the symptoms you describe (including hanging head and apparent weakness)

    GOod luck to the both of you, hopefully he will be all better soon,

    Pat
     

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