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Dog with Botulism

by Gina F.
(Guaynabo, Puerto Rico)

A couple of weeks ago we noticed that our dog was struggling to walk with his back legs and we went to the ER. They took an x-ray of his stomach and it appeared to be indigestion. They prescribed laxatone to release the indigestion.


However, the back legs kept losing grip and force and was struggling even more to walk and he didn't have strength to jump as usual. We decided to took him to his Dr and he diagnosed the dog with botulism.

He continued to lose strength in front legs and even the neck. At day 3 he was 90% paralytic of all his body. He was swallowing food with difficulty but always eager to eat.

The vet took blood samples and results per day are below:

Day 1:
• White blood cell was 21.30 (6-17 range)
• Red blood cell was 7.56 (5.5-8.5 range)
• Hemoglobin was 16.9 (12-18 range)

Day 3:
• White blood cell was 29.50 (6-17 range)
• Red blood cell was 6.50 (5.5-8.5 range)
• Hemoglobin was 14.4 (12-18 range)

Day 5:
• White blood cell was 42.23 (6-17 range)
• Red blood cell was 3.16 (5.5-8.5 range)
• Hemoglobin was 6.6 (12-18 range)
Day 6:
• White blood cell was 48.50 (6-17 range)
• Red blood cell was 3.93 (5.5-8.5 range)
• Hemoglobin was 8.7 (12-18 range)
Day 7:
• White blood cell was 57.89 (6-17 range)
• Red blood cell was 3.34 (5.5-8.5 range)
• Hemoglobin was 7.7 (12-18 range)
Day 8:
• White blood cell was 49.38 (6-17 range)
• Red blood cell was 3.54 (5.5-8.5 range)
• Hemoglobin was 7.9 (12-18 range)
Day 10:
• White blood cell was 42.42 (6-17 range)
• Red blood cell was 3.76 (5.5-8.5 range)
• Hemoglobin was 8.7 (12-18 range)
Day 12:
• White blood cell was 12.50 (6-17 range)
• Red blood cell was 3.78 (5.5-8.5 range)
• Hemoglobin was 8.6 (12-18 range)

The treatment during the hospitalization was a combination of Famotidine (10mg tabs), Prednisone (5 mg tabs), Calcium gluconate, Cefazolin Sod (Keflim), Dexamethasone (4mg/ml), Flo-cillin (300,000 mL), Rimadyl (50mg/mL), Vitamin B (12.5 mg/mL), Metacam Oral Susp (1.5 mg/mL), Metroninidazole Susp (50 mg/mL) and honey.

He was released last week when the white blood cell was normalized. It has been 3 weeks since the symptoms appeared and he still without strength to move by himself.

He has front leg and neck movement but still the rear legs are weak without significant movement. I want to know if there is a special treatment to gain the movement again or if this condition is time based and will need to wait until it releases all the toxin and gain movement on a day by day basis?

He has shown progress but I don't know if this will be a permanent situation or if he will regain full movement again. I read about acupuncture but don't know if will really help.

He is a male Jack Russell Terrier that is 1 year and 9 months old.

What do you recommend?

Thanks, Gina

Comments for Dog with Botulism

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Oct 08, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog with Botulism
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

October 7, 2013

Hi Gina,

To be perfectly honest, I have never treated a dog with Botulism poisoning! The bacteria (Clostridium botulinum) that causes the disease, is related to the bacteria, Clostridium tetani, which causes tetanus. I have seen two dogs with tetanus, (neither survived), but none with botulism.

Considering that Botulism causes an 'intoxication' or poisoning, and is NOT an infection, it is odd that the white blood cell count was so elevated. Of course, the *common* route for acquiring Botulism is by eating rancid or rotten meat where the bacterial spores are found. This may have been the initial symptom of the 'indigestion', when you first took him to the ER.

The homeopathic remedy Arsenicum album is the BEST remedy for intoxication from eating rotten meat. This remedy is also useful for paralysis.

I suggest you give Arsenicum album 12C or 6C by mouth THREE times daily for one week. It may be easier to administer it, if you dissolve one pellet into a glass eye dropper bottle filled with Spring Water. And then fill the eye dropper and squirt the liquid into his mouth. You must 'shake' the bottle by hitting it against the palm of your hand 20 times before each dose.

If he is improving, then decrease to two times daily for the next week, and with ongoing improvement, give only one time daily. From all of my veterinary sources regarding Botulism in dogs, if they did not die from respiratory paralysis in the first week, then after 2-3 weeks they will start to regain function in all limbs. Perhaps with the help of the homeopathic remedy he will start to recover a little faster.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman


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DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

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