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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 20635
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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can my daughters horse be given an injection to cure his botulism

Resolved Question:

can my daughters horse be given an injection to cure his botulism here in the uk please thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your situation, and wanted to help.

First, I must note that there is not injectable "cure" for Botulism. Instead, based on your question, I suspect you are referring to the anti-toxin for Botulism (More Info). This is a product that binds the toxin secreted by the bacteria to reduce its effects. If your vets are not able to obtain this from UK distributors, then it is not going ot be an option for Owen. Even if they were to apply for permission for this to be imported, this injection is only beneficial in the early stages of botulism. If he has been showing signs for longer then a few hours or it takes days to obtain, then the antitoxin will not be of much benefit because by that time the toxin from the bacteria will already have binded to his neurons to cause the clinical signs of this condition.

So, I am vey sorry say that there isn't a injectable cure for this disease just a preparation that can bind what toxin they are not able to flush out with IV fluids. So, if your vets cannot obtain this urgently, then it will not be a viable treatment option for Owen. That said, I would just advise to give all your local vet schools a ring to see if they perhaps may have special dispensation to obtain the antitoxin or may have some on hand (its a longshot but worth a try as they will be the main sites in the UK for advanced treatment of equine disease). Overall, I know this is not the answer you were hoping for but unfortunately this is an issue beyond the control of vets in the UK (they are at the mercy of the drug companies/legislation on availability of treatments for patients). Therefore, the key to treatment is supportive care, IV fluids to flush out the toxin in the blood stream and appropriate antibiotic therapy to kill the toxin secreting bacteria.

Please take care,
Dr. B.
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