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Forage Poisoning in Horses

Treatment

 

Botulinum antitoxin is available at certain equine clinics, although it has been used with varying degrees of success. Usually, treatment centers primarily on supportive care. IV fluid therapy is required since the horse is unable to eat or drink. If the horse is unable to stand, physical therapy and other methods of maintaining circulation and preventing bedsores must be employed. Antibiotics are usually given as well, since the horse is at increased risk of aspiration pneumonia due to the inability to properly swallow. The same treatment plans are also used in foals. Treatment can be extremely prolonged and difficult both for the horse and the caretakers. Prognosis is extremely guarded.

 

Living and Management

 

Very few cases survive botulism, and this is because their respiratory muscles become paralyzed or due to secondary health problems attributed to generalized paralysis.

 

Prevention

 

There is a botulism vaccine that can be sought by horse owners if they live in an endemic area. Pregnant mares in high-risk areas should be vaccinated to protect their foals.

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