Louisiana: Suspected botulism outbreak affects 15 horses in Vermillion Parish


news desk Laugh

There have been 15 horses that have become severely ill at Quarter Horse Farm since Dec. 3, according to the disease alert it posted. Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) today.

Public domain image / Dusan Bicanski

2 horses died within 48 hours of onset of clinical symptoms, 10 horses were euthanized due to rapid clinical deterioration in the same time frame, and 2 are still alive at LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Preliminary investigations indicated that contamination of a common feed source was responsible for the disease suspected to be botulism. One potential source includes cubed alfalfa produced in Colorado. Owners of horses showing similar signs should contact their vet immediately. Veterinarians should report any suspected positive horses to Dr. Rose Baker at Louisiana State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital (225) 578-9500.

Botulism is a progressive flaccid paralysis caused by the ingestion of bacterial toxins (from Clostridium botulinum) which can be rapidly fatal if not treated aggressively from the first clinical signs.

Clinical signs of food poisoning include: severe muscle weakness, flaccid paralysis with normal orientation, inability to swallow, tail, tongue and eyelid weakness, hypoventilation, respiratory arrest, paresis/inability to stand for long periods, paralysis of the limbs, It progressed to myofascial weakness and supination, salivation, muscle twitching, unexplained mydriasis with slow pupillary reflexes, tachycardia, colic and decreased gastrointestinal motility, sudden unexplained death and inability to rise after lying down.

Antiserum therapy can be used if taken early in the disease.

The vaccination is effective and can be used in environments known to have the disease.

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Florida: Two cases of eastern equine encephalitis have been reported in Hillsborough County horses

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