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The original item was published from 5/2/2012 8:59:36 AM to 5/5/2012 12:05:00 AM.

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Agriculture News and Livestock Inspections

Posted on: May 2, 2012

[ARCHIVED] Botulism in Maine Horses

April 29, Portland Press Herald – (Maine) Investigator: Sickened Maine horses difficult to treat. Maine’s State veterinarian was working to find the source of a rare botulism outbreak that was believed to have killed 23 horses at the Whistlin’ Willows Farm in Gorham in April, the Portland Press Herald reported April 29. The state veterinarian said there are no signs the animals were cared for improperly. Part of the problem during an outbreak, said the veterinarian, is once a horse exhibits signs of botulism poisoning, there is little veterinarians can do to treat the animal. State inspectors believe the powerful and fast-acting neurotoxin responsible for the outbreak developed in bales of silage, which is packaged in white plastic while the grass is still moist, unlike hay, which is dried. A horse can die from botulism within hours of ingestion. The veterinarian said that because botulism is so rare, Maine horse owners do not commonly vaccinate their animals against it.


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