Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Botulism

Synonym(s): Clostridium botulinum

Contributor(s): Mike Reynolds , Alan Murphy

Introduction

  • Cause: ingestion of preformed toxin of Clostridia botulinum.
  • Signs: see below.
  • Diagnosis:
    • Clinical signs consistent with disease. 
    • Mouse inoculation is the traditional definitive diagnostic test, although it should be remembered that false negatives can occur with this test. This may be attributed to the fact that the toxin is usually present at a concentration too low to be detected in circulating blood even in clinically affected animals.
  • Treatment: euthanasia, on humane grounds, in the majority of cases.
  • Prognosis: poor.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Ingestion of a very small quantity of preformed toxin of primarily Clostridium botulinum Clostridium botulinum and occasionally Clostridum butyricum and Clostridum baratti Clostridium spp.
  • A number of strains of Clostridium botulinum have been identified though in ruminants strains B, C and D, are mostly commonly implicated in disease.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Spoiled or decomposing vegetation.
  • The failure of ensiled forages to reach a terminal Ph <5.3 allows for growth of Clostridium botulinum.
  • The presence of decomposing animal or bird carcasses in ensiled feed.
  • Pica in cattle from phosphorus deficiency Calcium and phosphorus: overview resulting in ingestion of infected carcasses.

Pathophysiology

  • Most cases of botulism in ruminants occurs via ingestion, although a visceral form of the disease has been reported in Germany.
  • Botulinum toxin is ingested as a pro-toxin which requires activation by endogenous proteases.
  • Toxin is absorbed in to the bloodstream and distributed around the body. From here it binds to specific receptors, and upon entering the nerve cells causing inhibition of acetylcholine and the associated clinical syndrome.

Timecourse

  • 24 to 48 hours from ingestion to onset of clinical signs.

Epidemiology

  • Normally sporadic in nature although large scale outbreaks can occur if ensiled feed becomes contaminated.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Driehuis F, Wilknson J M, Jiang Y, Ogunade I & Adesogan A T (2018) Silage review: Animal and human health risks from silage. J Dairy Sci 101 (5), 4093-4110 PubMed.
  • Souillarda R, Le Maréchalb C, Ballanb V, Mahéc F, Chemalyb M, Le Bouquina S (2017) A bovine botulism outbreak associated with a suspected cross-contamination from a poultry farm. Vet Microbiol 208, 212-216 PubMed.
  • Kummel J, Krametter-Froetscher R, Six G, Brunthaler R, Baumgartner W, Altenbrunner-Martinek B (2012) Descriptive study of botulism in an Austrian dairy herd: a case report. Veterinarni Medicina 57 (3), 143-149
  • Mawhinney I, Palmer D, Gessler F, Cranwell M, Foyle L, Otter A,  Payne J,  Strugnell B (2012) Investigation of serology for diagnosis of outbreaks of botulism in cattle. Vet J 192 , 382-338 PubMed.
  • Kennedy S & Ball H (2011) Botulism in cattle associated with poulty litter. Vet Rec 168 (24), 638-639 PubMed.  
  • Rings D M (2004) Clostridial disease associated with neurological signs: tetanus, botulism and enterotoxaemia. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 20 (2), 379-391 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Mueller K (2015) Clostridial diseases in cattle and sheep. Cattle Practice 23 (1), 127-131.
  • Harwood D G (2007) Clostridial Disease in Cattle: Part 2. UK Vet 12 (2),  21-24.
  • Harwood D G & Watson E N (2004) Clostridial Infection In Young Cattle - An Update. Cattle Practice 12 (3), 219-227.


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