Botulism. With the massive pet food recall still fresh in our minds, new reports of dog foods being recalled due to botulism may have some pet owners very worried. The Castleberry Company that has produced many of the human products also co-packed canned dog food for Natural Balance brand.
Four types of Natural Balance Canned Dog Food were affected by the recall:
- Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Irish Stew With Beef, Potatoes & Carrots 15oz 23633 59860
- Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Chinese Take Out With Sauce With Vegetables and Chicken 15oz 23633 59861 Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs
- HOBO Chili with Chicken & Pasta 15oz 23633 59863
- Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Southern Style Dumplings With Chicken & Vegetables 15oz 23634 59862
Botulism is caused by the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum. The bacteria produce a very potent nerve toxin which can then cause a rapidly fatal motor paralysis. Many believe that this toxin is the most potent lethal substance known.
Human medical professionals describe food-borne botulism, wound botulism, and infant botulism. The recent recall of Castleberry products is an example of food-borne botulism.
Scientists classify at least 7 different strains of C. botulinum, each producing a slightly
different toxin. Humans seem to be affected by strains A, B, and E, while animals are susceptible to types C and D. Strains F and G are very rare and not often reported with any disease outbreaks.
Luckily, for most pet owners, dogs and cats are relatively resistant to botulism. One report from 2004 in Israel did show that cats can be naturally infected with and die from botulism and sporadic reports have identified rare cases of dogs becoming infected as well.
Horse owners should be concerned about botulism as a common condition known as “shaker foal syndrome” is connected with this disease. Young (<4 weeks) foals are often found dead without any warning signs. Older foals and adult horses are also susceptible to botulism similar to wound botulism in humans.
Similarly, cattle owners should be aware that cattle can succumb to this disease as well. Epidemics in dairy herds have caused losses of more than 65% of the adult cows.
Pet owners should not become overly alarmed. First, dogs and cats seem to be somewhat resistant to botulism, and second, a very small percentage of products have been affected.
Ferrets, though, can be seriously affected by botulism.
Pet owners should take care when handling the pet food, insuring that none of the food comes into contact with the mouth or any open wounds. Safely and securelydispose of the affected product.
IF your pet does happen to show signs of incoordination, progressive muscle weakness or progressive paralysis, please contact your veterinarian or closest animal emergency clinic immediately. If you exhibit any of these same signs,get to an emergency room or hospital.