It is a toxicity in chickens, turkeys, ducks and other aquatic birds caused by a bacterial toxin produced by anaerobic bacteria Clostridium botulinum mainly types A and C. The toxin produced in decaying carcass and plant waste is consumed by the birds or the birds infected with Cl. botulinum may produce it in the cecum. Morbidity is usually low but mortality is high.
Symptoms and lesions: The birds show nervous signs, progressive flaccid paralysis of legs and wings before death or in peracute cases, sudden death. When neck muscles are affected, the head hangs limp, thus causing a condition referred to as limberneck. Affected birds may have a peculiar trembling, loose feathers that are pulled out easily and dull partly closed eyes. In most of the cases, there are no PM lesions. In others, severe enteritis may be seen.
Diagnosis: Clinical history and signs may be adequate to diagnose the condition. For confirmation, biological test is done in mice. The supernatant of the centrifuged intestinal contents (particularly from cecae) of the dead bird, membrane filtered and inoculated into mice will kill them quickly.
Prevention and control: Biosecurity is the best way of prevention. Preventing access to toxin, suspect food and stagnant ponds, especially in hot weather is an adequate method.