As a result of Pistol Pete's death due to botulism, all the vets in the practice we use will begin vaccinating every pregnant mare they care for, for botulism. Although our precious colt could not be saved, if this saves just one foal, we will feel that Pistol Pete will not have died in vain.
That is a wonderful legacy for you and Pistol Pete. I was wondering how common botulism is. You don't hear about botulism in my area(Florida). Where are you located? What type of soil do you have, we have very sandy soil? I was wondering if the botulism organism filters down through the sand where our pony don't have as easy access to it as ponies/horses in areas with clay soils?? I need to google botulism and do some reading. Are there any side affect or risk to giving the vaccine to a pregnant mare. Thanks for sharing.
We and our vet had never heard of a case here. That is why we drove so far to get the antitoxin - our vet didn't keep in stock because they had never seen a case of it. We live in NW Tennessee and the soil is mostly clay. I know of no risks to giving the vaccine to a pregnant mare, but there certainly might be a risk to not giving it to her. This is such a devastating loss to us. I am still having a very hard time with it.
Botulism is most commonly seen in situations where round bales of hay or silage is fed - particularly silage. The issue is when a rodent of some sort is baled along with the hay/silage, and the rodent is carrying botulism. In the vast majority of cases, horses will not eat the rodent, but occasionally one does get into contact with the botulism. This is more likely in the silage, as silage is moist, and the botulism may not remain isolated within the carcass, but may be found in the surrounding silage (which is more likely to be consumed by the horse).
The above is not going to be the only situation in which a horse encounters botulism, but it is the most likely. There was an incident in Ontario (Canada) about 10 years ago where multiple Standardbreds died as a result of the above situation.
The moral of the story is that in particular if feeding silage, vaccinate against botulism.
That's good advice, Jos. Our case was slightly different. We do not feed silage, but there was a round bale for the mare, and the foal would occasionally nibble from it.
Please note that opinions, product information, advice or suggestions posted on this bulletin board are not necessarily those of the management at Equine-Reproduction.com nor does the maintenance of the post position indicate an implicit or any endorsement of that information, opinion or product.
Further, although we have the greatest respect for the posters offering assistance here, you are advised to seek a consultation with your veterinarian prior to using information obtained from this board if it is of a veterinary nature.Proud to be sponsored and supported by: