Botulism is generally contracted by livestock through ingestion of contaminated feed such as rotting animal or vegetable matter.
The bacteria are consumed and then begin rapidly growing in the rumen, producing a toxin. This toxin affects the nervous system of the animal and generally results in flaccid paralysis and death through paralysis of the respiratory muscles.
The bacteria that cause botulism can survive for long periods in the environment, in soil and bones, even in hot dry weather.
For more information on how the disease operates and how it can be managed, view the Leading Sheep webinar below presented by LBN’s northern regional manager Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson.