Veterinary advice should be sought from your local veterinarian before applying any treatment or vaccine. Not sure who to use? Look up veterinarians who specialize in poultry using our directory listing. Find me a Vet
Limberneck, Western Duck Sickness, Bulbar Paralysis, Alkali Disease.
Botulism is a life-threatening disease caused by ingestion of a potent neurotoxin produced during growth of the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. C. botulinum are a rod-shaped, anaerobic (meaning they live and grow in low oxygen conditions), spore-forming (meaning they are able to survive for years in the environment) bacteria. This neurotoxin is one of the most toxic substances known; even very small amounts can cause illness or death.
What are the symptoms of botulism?
Botulism causes chickens to develop paralysis by affecting the nerves which allow the brain to stimulate muscles and part of the central nervous system. It initially affects the nerves in the skull and may cause blurred vision, difficulty swallowing, drooping eyelids, and weakness of the tongue. Weakness in the legs, neck and wings follows. Chickens may appear lame and/or stand up and walk a few steps before falling; eventually progressing to reluctance to move. Once their neck is affected, the bird won't be able to hold their head upright any longer. When the wings are affected, they'll present with dropped wings. The speed of progression varies, depending on the amount of the toxin ingested and the form of the disease. Usually botulism signs develop within 24 hours to 17 days after exposure to the toxin.
How do chickens get botulism?
Botulism spores are widespread in the environment and can be found in dust, soil, untreated water, decaying matter, spoiled feed, and the digestive tracts of animals and fish. Maggots can also harbor C. botulinum. Foods that have led to botulism outbreaks include vegetables preserved by canning or stored in oil, baked potatoes, and honey. Wound botulism usually happens from inoculating botulinum spores which then grow in the inoculation wound and produce toxins.
Relocate your bird to a quiet, isolated area such as a dog kennel or cat carrier. Provide fresh water in a small container, however making sure it's not too large as birds can easily drown. Limit stress.
Call your veterinarian
Obtain and administer an antitoxin, toxoid vaccine for botulism
Carbo veg (30C for 1 dose) / Nux vomica (30C for 1 dose)
K. Glos 2015
Administered orally at 1 g/kg of body weight, twice a day for the first 24 to 48 hours.
Desta, S., Melaku, M., & Abdela, N. (2016), Buckley, Nicholas A., et al (2016)