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Botulism

Background and history

Bacteria called clostridia produce toxins (poisons). Clostridium botulinum, which produces this disease grows in decaying vegetable matter producing the toxin which is then eaten. However botulism is rare in pigs. It should be considered as a food poisoning. See also clostridial diseases for additional information.

Clinical signs

These are seen 4-48 hours or so after the toxin has been eaten.

  • Muscle paralysis.
  • Weakness of limbs leading to complete paralysis.
  • Blindness.
  • Excessive salivation.
  • Loss of bladder function.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Unusual in piglets.

Diagnosis

This is based on the symptoms, evidence of decomposing food and demonstration of the presence of toxin by a laboratory .

Causes

  • Decaying feed.
  • Contaminated water or feed.

Prevention

Remove any access to rotting carcasses.

Treatment

There is no treatment.