Acta Vet. Brno 2016, 85: 71-76

Botulism (type A) in a horse - case report

Sevim Kasap1, Hasan Batmaz1, Meriç Kocatürk1, Frank Gessler2, Serkan Catık1, Onur Topal1

1Uludag University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Bursa, Turkey
2Miprolab GmbH, Göttingen, Germany

Received August 3, 2015
Accepted February 10, 2016

This paper presents the case of a six year-old, male, thoroughbred horse with clinical signs of inappetence, weakness, and incoordination when walking. Clinical examination showed that the horse staggered and leaned to the left side. Feedstuff was present inside and around its mouth. Salivation was increased and there was no reflex at the palpebrae and tongue. The horse had difficulty swallowing and the tone of its tail was reduced. Botulism was diagnosed based on the clinical signs. Antibiotic (ceftiofur) and fluid-electrolyte treatment was commenced. Next day, neostigmin was added to the horse’s treatment, and it became recumbent. The horse’s palpebral, tongue and tail reflexes returned partially after neostigmine methylsulphate treatment on the same day and it stood up on day four. However, it could not swallow anything during the whole week, so after getting permission from the owner, the horse was euthanized on day 10. Samples of the colonic content and blood serum were sent by courier to the laboratory for toxin neutralization, however, botulinum neurotoxins could not be detected. After that, serum samples from days 6 and 10 were sent to another laboratory for testing for botulinum neurotoxin antibodies by ELISA. Specific antibodies against botulinum neurotoxin type A were measured, indicating a previous, immuno-relevant contact with the toxin. This seroconversion for type A supports the clinical botulism diagnosis. Type A botulism is rarely seen in Europe and has been detected in a horse in Turkey for the first time.


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