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(ii) Instructions for Veterinary Practitioners When Dealing With Suspect cases of Botulism on Farm

  • Notify your nearest Regional Veterinary Laboratory and the SVI in your local District Veterinary Office
  • Consult with your nearest Regional Veterinary Laboratory regarding the submission of samples for analysis.  They will advise you as to the number, type, matrix, and means of transportation and destination of samples.
  • Remove animals from the location where toxicity is believed to have occurred to a clean area. If there are horses on the farm remove to another farm where disease is not occurring until the source is identified.
  • Try to identify possible sources of toxin; high risk material such as;
    • Poultry litter
    • Rotting carcasses or pieces of carcasses
    • Wash from poultry housesMaggots (toxic maggots will float in water)
    • Dead wildlife
    • Examine all pastures/ hoppers/ troughs/ waterway for possible contamination
  • Identify water supply to animals and humans that may be affected by pollution
  • Attempt to prevent a further outbreak by
    • Removing suspect material and dispose of appropriately (contact your nearest Regional Veterinary Laboratory for advice.
    • Identify Factors that may lead to a future outbreak in the farm such as
      • A source of litter within 500m of animals
      • Capture of wash from poultry houses
      • Leaking offal bins
      • Location of silage pit
      • Wild bird access to feed hoppers or water troughs
      • Unhygienic farm practices resulting in maggot production
      • Poorly fermented silage or silage made from lands where litter was spread
      • Vermin control
      • Land spreading of poultry litter
  • Examine any remaining litter for carcasses, if free of carcasses redirect to cereal grounds or plough into land.

Laboratory Contact Numbers for advice on the disease and information regarding submission of samples:

 Regional Veterinary Laboratories
 Athlone  (0906) 475514
 Cork  (021) 4543931
 Kilkenny  (056) 7721688
 Limerick  (061) 452911
 Sligo (071) 9142191 


Central Veterinary Control Laboratory, Dublin   (01) 6157100

Animal Health Division
September 2009