Botulism

Clostridium botulinum

 

Botulism is most often caused by Type C toxin from Clostridium botulinum.

Cl. botulinum is ubiquitarius in soil and faeces and plays a role in the putrefaction of carcasses, where an invasion from the intestine can take place. The transmission usually occurs by non heated feed.

The incubation period is 12 hours to app. 4 days depending on the amount of toxin absorbed.

Symptoms

The pharmacologic effect of the botulinum toxin is the same for all species – a general neuromuscular block.
The symptoms occur fast and normally many mink are found dead within 24 hours of exposure to the toxin, while others show varying degrees of paralysis and dyspnea with abdominal respiration.

Diagnosis

Postmortem findings are non-specific and are related to death from respiratory paralysis.

Normally the diagnosis can be set from the lack of pathological findings combined with the great number of animals suddenly getting sick and die.

The final diagnosis can only be confirmed trough finding the toxin in feed, serum or tissue/faeces from affected mink in a antitoxin-neutralisation test in mice.


Treatment

The best prophylactic is to use heat treated feed.

Annual vaccination of kits and breeders.