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Botulism

Botulism can affect cattle, sheep, pigs, horses goats and poultry but it is a major problem of cattle in the extensive grazing areas of northern Australia.

Botulism is a disease caused by the toxin produced by the bacterium, Clostridium botulinum. Few cattle survive botulism and there is no effective treatment.

Animals become infected when toxin is present in material eaten by the animal, or possibly formed in the animal's gut following the ingestion of bacterial spores.

Conditions favourable for the bacteria include decaying dead animals, decaying vegetation, mouldy grain and wet hay.

Cattle infected with botulism may present with progressive, ascending, motor paralysis which often progresses to death or they may be found dead.

There is no effective treatment for botulism. Vaccination is the key to preventing the disease.

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