Botulism in cattle

Page last updated: Thursday, 1 February 2018 - 5:32pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Prevention and treatment

Most cases develop quickly and death nearly always follows, but cattle that are mildly affected may recover with good nursing and veterinary care. Most affected cattle die of respiratory failure, while complications of prolonged collapse often necessitate euthanasia.

Treatment should be under the direction of a veterinarian and may include supportive therapy.

Withdraw any feed suspected to be contaminated by botulism and save it for testing. Prevent access of stock to skeletons, carcasses, rubbish tips and burn piles.

Botulism is best controlled by vaccination. Both long and short-acting vaccines are available. Long-acting vaccines provide three years' protection and are ideal in extensive enterprises. Short-acting vaccines require annual boosters. Vaccinations protect from type C and D toxin only.

All feedlots, dairies and beef farms that feed rations including hay and silage should strongly consider vaccinating for botulism. All classes of cattle should be included in the program. As always, the vaccine manufacturer’s directions should be followed.

See your local veterinarian or stock agent for more advice on the use of botulism vaccines.

Contact information

For more information, contact your local veterinarian or DPIRD Field Veterinary Officer - see the webpage: Livestock Biosecurity program contacts.

Contact information

Shane Besier
+61 (0)8 9892 8493