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#166 - 12/16/02 03:07 PM Ryan's Gliders: Botulism

As of today, my gliders have been ill for 21 days. Two vets, two deaths and two diets later I have determined the cause of illness. With the help of my friends, including a research scientist, I determined that my gliders have been infected with botulism and my vet agrees with my findings. After careful consideration, we both concluded that the source of the botulism was the honey from the BML.

Before anyone starts a thread of angry replies, please read this entire message and consider that facts that I have presented. I've tried to anticipate your questions and hope that I've answered most of them below. As always, if you need further explanation, please post here or e-mail me and I'll be happy to address your questions or comments.

Why do you think your gliders were infected with botulism?

The most common symptoms or botulism are as follows: dry mouth, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, and muscle weakness. For obvious reasons, I cannot apply all these symptoms to my gliders, but they are all drinking an excessive amount of water and their back legs are extremely weak.

But you said Flora died of heart failure, that's not the same as botulism.

Mammals can die specifically from botulism poisoning but they can also die from other causes affected by the botulism. The necropsy said Flora died from heart failure, but she could have also died from a stroke, which might explain the hemorrhaging in her brain.

Fauna's necropsy is nowhere near completion, but my vet has received some preliminary information. She has a darkened kidney, which suggested she died from organ failure.

Both of these deaths can be linked to botulism poisoning.

Have you gotten your gliders tested for botulism?

No. Today my gliders would probably test negative for botulism. Once antibiotics for botulism are administered, tests usually show no botulism infection.

Okay, so you're gliders have botulism. Why are you blaming the BML?

I'm blaming the BML because it contains honey and if not stored or prepared correctly, it can cause botulism. In my research, I have found that mixing honey with other food elements and storing it in airtight containers is the perfect place for the bacteria to propagate and generate the toxin. Also, botulism can grow in temperatures as low as 3 degrees Celsius, inside a refrigerator.

Like the BML diet called for, I mixed the honey with the other food elements, I stored the BML in the freezer and I stored the contents in airtight Tupperware containers. Like many of you, I scooped the BML out at night and set it in the cage to melt. The BML would melt over night, which is plenty of time to grow bacteria.

We have all read stories about people who let their BML melt a little before refreezing, and as a result, gliders get sick and die. But this is a totally new scenario. I never set my BML out and then refroze the container. My vet and I believe the toxins started to grow the moment I scooped out the BML and set it inside my cage.

But I thought your gliders tested positive for Group D Enterococcus? How does that correlate with botulism?

The botulism does not correlated with the Enterococcus. Enterococcus is a bacterium found in everyone's digestive system. If provoked, the Enterococcus can be released and make a mammal sick. I believe the Enterocouccus was released into my gliders as a result of their weakened immune systems.

You told us that you started your gliders on a new medication. What is it and is it helping?

In addition to Baytil and Metronidole, I'm giving my glider Clavamox. No, they have not gotten any better.

Okay, now I'm confused. You say your gliders have botulism and they are on medication to kill the bacteria, but they're not getting any better???

Yep. Clear as mud, right? Let me explain: Once I started the three remaining gliders on the Clavamox, I was told that they wouldn't get noticeably better because the botulism toxicity damages the nerve endings and damaged nerves take weeks or months to repair. Daphne is having a lot of trouble using her hind legs, but she's still getting out of her pouch to play and eat. This behavior tells me that she does feel better, her nerves just have repaired yet.

Are you sure you couldn't have picked this botulism up from Priscilla, your breeder?

Yes, I'm sure. Botuslims is not contagious; it can only infect mammals if they ingest something. Also, Priscilla's gliders have not been sick in the last three weeks, which strengthens my argument for botulism poisoning.

You mentioned that you thought it was odd that the two gliders that were on BML for a year died first. Do you still think it was a coincidence?

No, I don't think it was coincidence. As one of you suggested (I think it was GliderRoo), I asked my vet about the probitoics that Priscilla uses in her diet. He agreed that is was probably the probiotics that has kept my other three babies alive for three weeks.

So does this mean your other three babies are going to make it?

Unfortunately, no, it doesn't. I'm confident that the medication is killing the bacteria, but you have to remember that everyone went misdiagnosed for almost two weeks. Hopefully, my glider's immune systems can begin to build back up, but it is possible that more, perhaps all, will die.

Okay, I think that's enough information for now—-I know it's a lot to take in all at once. Yes, I stopped using the BML about three weeks ago and, no, I have no plans of ever using the diet again. I do not believe in using a diet this temperamental, no matter how nutritious some researchers say it is. I'm not trying to start an uprising against BML but I hope that Bourbon and her "team" will address some of these questions.

In response, I am assembling my own team of glider lovers and researchers committed to exploring all aspects of glider heath. One of the first things in the works is testing the BML and measuring the botulism growth over time. This, of course, will take time but the research will be completed and the results will be publicly posted.

I hope no one takes my hypothesis at face value. I encourage you to research on your own. You have access to people and books that I've never heard of. Also, I hope that this information will help some of you as well as raise more questions regarding glider health. As parents, we have a responsibility to continue learning about babies.

Let the debate continue. Otherwise, we'll never learn.


Botulism Manual

Other links

#167 - 12/16/02 03:43 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

Hi Ryan, I think you did a wonderful job explaining your findings and any info. that you provide is helpful to those of us who want the best for our gliders. I believe that everything should be considered and not left out since these little guys are so new to the U.S. and not much research has been done. I'm also working with Priscilla and doing several studies of my own. I have been doing research with a post doc from Australia whose daughter works at the Healesville Zoo and am gaining as much info. from her as possible. My folks had a bad experience w/their first glider and it has made me want to do considerable research to try to understand their needs, especially since Australia's been a continent for 40,000+ years and it's wildlife and plantlife are like no other anywhere in the world. You've done an excellent job researching and I too will be doing my own study on the growth rate of botulism in honey (I work with scientist who have access to the proper equipment and will share with you what I find). I visit Priscilla weekly to pick her brain and play with her babies. She really has got a good thing going and has worked hard on her probotics/vitamins. Anyone who has seen her gliders knows that she's it for them, not herself. Good luck, you and your babies will be in my prayers.


#168 - 12/16/02 04:11 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

I don't believe it is the BML itself as much as how we handle it. I think your right on the dot about freezing it and opening the container up and scooping it out everynight. I was extreamly worried about that. My solution was to freeze the BML into individual containers with their own individual lids (mine hold 2 Tablespoon) That way I only take out the container I need for that night, in this case since I now have 4 gliders I use 2 containers a night. The other containers stay in the freezer until needed.
Chicken is bad for people if its missed handled, people can deal with that 2 ways they can not eat chicken or learn the proper way to handle it. I think the same goes to the BML and Leadbeter mixture. We need to be careful by the way we handle it.

#169 - 12/16/02 04:25 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]
SugarBaby22 Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 5697
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I agree.... It's not the BML itself, it's how we, as humans handle it. Does this mean that basically, (not trying to start a flame!) if you are freezing and unfreezing BML, then you are killing your gliders???

If I'm wrong tell me, I like to learn too! <img border="0" alt="thumb" title="" src="graemlins/thumb.gif" />

Ryan~ great job explaining yourself!!! You may have answered a lot of mystery glider deaths if this information is correct! <img border="0" alt="clap" title="" src="graemlins/yelclap.gif" />

This brings up a lot of questions...
Does this mean that we should throw BML out the window?
Is it the type of honey being used, or is it all honey?
I thought honey was pure sugar?
What is the best diet for gliders?
Can the honey be substitued for something else?
Will this disease show up in a neocropsy?

<img border="0" alt="dunno" title="" src="graemlins/nixweiss.gif" />

<small>[ 12-16-2002, 05:30 PM: Message edited by: SugarBaby22 ]</small>

#170 - 12/16/02 04:49 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

I guess I didn't make this clear enough in my first post. Sorry. It wasn't my freezing and refreezing of the BML that caused the botulism.

When you scoop out the BML and put it in your gliders' bowl, it melts. If you leave it out in the cage long enough (8-12) hours it can become infected with botulism. It has nothing to do with how we as human handle the BML--it's how to honey reacts to the air tight container and the other foods it's mixed with.


#171 - 12/16/02 04:52 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

To my knowledge, there is no nutritional value in honey. Why not leave it out of the BML?? I am guessing it is used merely to sweeten the mixture.

Just my .02 <img border="0" title="" alt="[Smile]" src="images/icons/smile.gif" />

#172 - 12/16/02 05:35 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

Glider Greetings: <img border="0" alt="wave" title="" src="graemlins/wave.gif" />

Thousands of gliders, if not ten of thousands, have been fed BML and to the best of my knowledge botulism poisoning has not been a problem. I strongly suspect that more gliders die while driving back and forth to work each day.

I'm not giving up on BML because of one extremely isolated and, as of yet, not fully verified incident; however, I will keep an open mind and if future developments justify it, I will make whatever changes are necessary to the diet of my gliders.

I fully respect Ryan's opinions and his right to feed his gliders whatever he feels is best for them.

Ryan: My sincere hope is that your three surviving furbuts will regain their health and live long and happy lives. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Smile]" src="images/icons/smile.gif" />

P.S. I hope Bourbon will have something to say about honey.....should be interesting!

<small>[ 12-16-2002, 06:41 PM: Message edited by: RANDY ]</small>

#173 - 12/16/02 05:47 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

i have a question or two:

1 How long have you had each glider before they got sick ?

2 What particular brand of honey did you use in the BML ?

3 Can we see a copy of the necropsy reports ?

Thanks, Tanja

#174 - 12/16/02 05:49 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]
mary h Offline
Glider Lover

Registered: 08/06/02
Posts: 385
Loc: Wallis, Texas
Honey, no matter how you handle it, no matter where
it comes from, whether it is pasteurized or not, it
contains the botulism spores. The only known way to
kill the spores is to boil for 6 to 10 minutes or
heat under pressure to 240 degrees f. So, if you
add honey to your BML or alternative diet, you are
running the risk of botulism contamination, PERIOD
Research done by Charlie
mary h
mary h

#175 - 12/16/02 05:54 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]
Carrie T Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 06/10/01
Posts: 4049
Loc: Doniphan Mo
I believe this needs to be looked at closley. I do and always have fed BML, but I understand about honey. That's why we don't feed it to babies. It seems to me that symtoms of Botulism and HLP are very similar and could be mistaken for each other. Like SugarBaby22 said, this could explain alot of unexplained deaths.

I plan to keep feeding BML for now, I also still feed crickets. Hopefully if indeed this is a true problem we can find a solution so all of us who feed BML can still enjoy the bennifits of it.

Ryan, I am truley sorry for your loss and hope your other Gliders recover from this devestating illness. <img border="0" alt="heart" title="" src="graemlins/heartpump.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="glider" title="" src="graemlins/littleglider.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="glider" title="" src="graemlins/littleglider.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="glider" title="" src="graemlins/littleglider.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="glider" title="" src="graemlins/littleglider.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="heart" title="" src="graemlins/heartpump.gif" />

#176 - 12/16/02 06:11 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]
Judie Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 10/25/01
Posts: 9173
Loc: Edwardsville, Kansas 66113
I think there are many types of Botulism bacteria. Off hand one comes to mind...Listeria. I know of a large breeder who had lost over one hundred gliders due to Listeria. By time the bacteria was identified it was too late for most of the gliders who became ill from it.

Most cases of botulism can be treated. But if not treated immediately.... often a few die immediately and for the unfortunate ones....the illness lingers and the animals die from damage to their organs.

Only thing I can suggest is for those who feed the BML diet carefull how you store it. Make sure the eggs are fully cooked and without the shells. Feed mid evening and get the dishes out early morning.

As for the honey suggestion is to have the remaining jar tested for botulism if this is where you suppect the problem. If the honey is tainted then bacteria will be present in the jar also.

Without proof where the botulism came from...and as to what type of bacteria, then there is the possibility that the BML was tainted from another possible source of bacteria of which could be in other things such as way it is prepared or stored.
Web site:

#177 - 12/16/02 06:24 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

I think I asked this before but it was a huge thread so I didn't get any reply. The question is Can we boil the honey and make bml, freeze it , serve it with out having the botulism problem. Would this be a way to make the honey safe or can botulism some how infect the melted product anyway??
Barb <img border="0" title="" alt="[Confused]" src="images/icons/confused.gif" />

#178 - 12/16/02 06:29 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

While this has to do with glider deaths, this thread's discourse has mor eto do with diet than health. So I'll move it to that forum -- after a friendly reminder to keep this friendly as it goes forward.

Almost nothing gets our attention like diets. That's true in our own lives, and true for our gliders. Conversations can become tense because so much rides on the diet you choose to give.

There are a lot of concerns right now about changing around diets, altering diets,. There is a lot of input from those of us who have limited knowledge (that's almost all of us!) and we get a lot of our information from other sources. So let's remember:

* We don't know very much. One way to get more information out there is to discuss things openly, to consider other people's points of view.

* There's no one best diet. There are a number of nutritionally balanced options. Allow others to differ with you regarding their reasoned choices.

There have been a number of tense threads lately in this forum. If I were in Ryan's shoes, I'd be questioning my diet, too. But remember that whether or not there is merit to a person's responses, please make SURE you keep your responses civil.

As long as this is a discussion with relevant content, we'll keep this open. If it becomes a debate, becomes personal and gets too heated, we will have to close it.

#179 - 12/16/02 06:40 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: Anonymous]

Your gliders didn't test positive for botulism, therefore it's just your hypothesis once again that your trying to push on us. If honey was indeed such a danger then the truth is that all my gliders would be dead. There has been more than one incidence where we have accidentally defrosted the bml and put it back in the freezer. No sickness or deaths to report. I also let the food melt in their cage and don't remove it till I come home from work. It's been a year and there has been no sickness or deaths do to leaving bml inside the cage with gliders.

I feel for you and your gliders and hope that you will be able to generate the information to back up your beliefs.

#180 - 12/16/02 06:46 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]
SugarBaby22 Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 5697
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Another ? popped into my head, couldit be the wheat germ? I had no clue that it had to be refrigerated, until Lucy brought it up about a week ago! Ryan, did you refrigerate your wheat germ?

~I have always been told to take the gliders food out first thing in the morning, I don't feed my gliders until they are ready to eat. I feed them when they come out (they always do!) and take it out when the food is gone, then we have playtime and I put a dry food in there... So basically, it is the human's responsibility. Don't leave the BML in the cage over-night! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="images/icons/wink.gif" />

#181 - 12/16/02 07:46 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

Inst1gater, no one is pushing anything on you; I'm presenting the research that I've gathered. Do with it what you want.

If you don't believe that refrozen BML can cause glider death than just scroll back through the archives where Bourbon details a story with similar circumstances. I encourage you to do your own research and prove me wrong. That's fine if you don't buy my theory, but then show me your evidence that proves me wrong. Honey doesn't always equal botulism, if that were true everyone would be dead. But under the right circumstances or coincidences it can happen.

And my gliders were NEVER tested for botulism. My vet said it would be a waste of money because they were already on meds. I don't mind debating issues with you, but please read my posts before responding.

Randy, only a few people a year die from botulism--I think 19 died last year. It's not a common illness among people, but maybe among gliders.

Sugarbaby, what time are your gliders ready to eat? When they come out do you sit with them all night and watch them eat or do you go to bed? On average how long do you think the BML is in your cage?

And, yes, I knew that wheat germ had to be refrigerated. I buy mine fresh and then dispose of the extra when I complete my BML batch.


<small>[ 12-16-2002, 08:48 PM: Message edited by: RyanB ]</small>

#182 - 12/16/02 08:19 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]
SugarBaby22 Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 5697
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial"> Sugarbaby, what time are your gliders ready to eat? When they come out do you sit with them all night and watch them eat or do you go to bed? On average how long do you think the BML is in your cage? </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">My gliders come out every night between 9:00 and 9:30, the BML is all gone within an hour. My gliders know their schedule which is good for me because if they don't come out I know something must be wrong. I do not go to bed, play time is after eating time. At 10:15 we have play time/tent time, this is when the food dishes are taken out and put into the sink. I will play with them for an hour and then my mom will watch them in the tent for another hour. On average, the BML is in the cage for an hour or less. If I think they wouls like the BML mashed up I will put it in the microwave for 5 seconds. Nobody is perfect, and sure not everybody takes their food dishes out, but can deaths caused from this be prevented?

#183 - 12/16/02 10:34 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]
BeetleJuice Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 12/12/01
Posts: 2724
Loc: Summerville, SC
Food for thought…

The majority of honey contains some quantity of botulism spores (if not all).

In humans these spores are digested before they can create any toxins (with the notable exception of children under one). Do gliders digestive systems have the ability to digest these spores before they create toxins? The absence of confirmed cases of botulism in gliders would lead me to the conclusion (strictly a personal opinion, I have no medical background) that their systems process these spores (when healthy) by some means that reduce or eliminate the risk of these toxins being produced.

Could the botulism (if botulism was even present) have been allowed to create toxins as a result of some other health related issue? Often times what we think is the cause of the problem is actually a result of another problem as is the case with most HLP diagnoses. The HLP is usually a secondary result of some bacteria or illness that is preventing proper calcium absorption.

Good portions of gliders in the US/Canada are fed some modification of the original lead beaters mix (it is difficult to ascertain a percentage, but many vets recommend a lead beaters based diet to their patients). Many zoos in Australia (and some purported in the US) use some version of the lead beaters diet.

These diets have been in existence/use since before gliders were introduced into America, which spans many years (I could not find any definitive dates but 10 years is a good estimate).

If botulism derived from honey were prevalent enough to be cause for concern, I would think that it would have presented itself by now.

If anyone has better estimates for numbers of gliders on the lead beater's diet or number of years it has been in use, please post them.

<small>[ 12-16-2002, 11:36 PM: Message edited by: BeetleJuice ]</small>

#184 - 12/16/02 11:27 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

"Besides honey, the soil in Penn, the soil and cistern water in Australia, and the soil in California were also identified as a source of spores."

The botulism spores are present in measureable amts in Australia, which would lead one to believe that healthy gliders have some sort of mechanism to deal with them. That isn't to say that they won't get an already ill glider.

<small>[ 12-17-2002, 12:28 AM: Message edited by: Nohvinha ]</small>

#185 - 12/17/02 12:38 AM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

Glider Greetings <img border="0" alt="wave" title="" src="graemlins/wave.gif" />

Ryan listed this site on an earlier post; but, some might have overlooked it. So here it is again: BOTULISM

I'm out of my league when discussion start about little bitty bugs; but, it would seem that listeria is not a cause of botulism???
Anybody care to comment??

<small>[ 12-17-2002, 02:02 AM: Message edited by: RANDY ]</small>

#186 - 12/17/02 11:30 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

Just to clarify what honey pasteurization is, it is a heating process which extends the shelf life of honey by destroying the natural "seed" crystals that cause granulation and fermentation. Natural sugar tolerant yeasts are present in honey which will grow if the moisture level is too high (over 18%) and storage temperature too warm. Honey is more likely to ferment after it has granulated, so to prevent both granulation and fermentation a pasteurization process is used to kill the sugar tolerant yeasts. The commercial equipment at packing establishments is made to heat honey quickly to 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) for four minutes and then cool it quickly through a heat exchanger. Without this equipment to heat and cool honey rapidly, the quality of the
heated honey would be lower.

Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The spores of C. botulinum are not harmful themselves, but in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic conditions), they germinate and the resultant bacteria produce a powerful poison.
There are three main kinds of botulism:
1. Foodborne botulism is caused by eating foods that contain the botulism toxin.
2. Wound botulism is caused by toxin produced from a wound infected with Clostridium
3. Infant botulism is caused by consuming the spores of the Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which then grow in the infant's intestine and release toxin.

In the USA, soil and honey contamination are two recognized sources of infant botulism. The USA has a higher incidence of infant botulism than Canada and the UK with the CDC reporting 174 cases of botulism in 1999- of these, 26 were foodborne, 107 were infant botulism, and 41 were
cases of wound botulism. More than 90% of reported cases in the USA come from California, Utah, and southeast Pennsylvania; this is likely a consequence of high concentrations of C. botulinum spores in the soil of these regions.

Botulism spores are hardy organisms that are found throughout the environment particularly in soil. Scientists have found botulism spores in dust, raw vegetables, potato skin, corn syrup, and honey (whether it is pasteurized or not). In humans the spores are digested before they can form a toxin because we have bacteria in our intestines and healthy immune systems that eliminate the spores. Infants do not yet have
these defenses. So when a baby eats honey, the spores find themselves in the oxygen-free
intestine where they activate & produce the toxin in the baby's immature intestinal tract.

The above information is important as it points out a couple of important facts:

1)the bacterium Clostridium botulinum can be found not only in honey but in soil, dust, raw vegetables, potato skin & corn syrup. So even if Ryan's gliders were definitely diagnosed with the Clostridium botulinum bacteria, there is no concrete proof that honey was the HOST source unless Ryan has saved the jar of honey, has it tested & it is found to contain the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. It is just as possible that the Host source could have been a raw vegetable if Ryan did as many do & fed fresh raw vegetables while using the BML diet.

2) Adults & children over the age of one generally have adequately developed intestinal tracts with protective flora/bacteria which allow ingestion of the Clostridium botulinum spores without difficulty and healthy immune systems that can eliminate these spores. However, if the protective flora/bacteria in the intestinal tract and/or the immune system are compromised, the Clostridium botulinum spores can then wreak havoc. In the case of Ryan's gliders, at least one tested positive for enterococcus & the others may have also had enteroccocus rendering them more susceptible to possible botulism from some HOST source whether it be honey or possibly raw vegetables, soil or even dust. However, as Ryan points out, the others might not test positive for enterococcus due to their having been put on an antibiotic. Thus it is impossible to know whether botulism could be a primary diagnosis or a secondary complication of some other underlying illness.

From ENTREZ-PUBMED come the following studies that also seem to substantiate the above:

1) Am J Dis Child 1990 Jan;144(1):60

Risk factors for infant botulism in the United States.

Spika JS, Shaffer N, Hargrett-Bean N, Collin S, MacDonald KL, Blake PA.

Division of Bacterial Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga 30333.

To define risk factors for infant botulism, we performed a 2-year prospective case-control
study of 68 laboratory-confirmed cases in infants living in the United States, outside of
California. For each case patient, two control subjects were matched by date and hospital
of birth or county birth records. By univariate analysis, breast-feeding (odds ratio = 2.9)
and consumption of honey (odds ratio = 9.8) were associated with disease, but only 11
case patients (16%) had eaten honey. Decreased frequency of bowel movement (less than
one per day for at least 2 months) was also associated with disease in infants 2 months of
age and older (odds ratio = 5.2). Risk factors changed with the age of the patient at
disease onset when analyzed by multivariate logistic regression methods. For infants less
than 2 months old, living in a rural area or on a farm was the only significant risk factor
(odds ratio = 6.4). For infants 2 months of age and older, breast-feeding (odds ratio =
3.8), less than one bowel movement per day for at least 2 months (odds ratio = 2.9), and
ingestion of corn syrup (odds ratio = 5.2) were associated with disease. The severity of
the disease was similar for breast- and bottle-fed infants. Clearly defined food exposures
account for a minority of infant botulism cases. Preexisting host factors, such as
intestinal flora and frequency of bowel movements, may be the most important risk
factors for development of disease.

PMID: 2741856 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

2) Rev Infect Dis 1979 Jul-Aug;1(4):693-7

Food and environmental aspects of infant botulism in California.

Chin J, Arnon SS, Midura TF.

In an effort to identify vehicles by which Clostridium botulinum spores might have
reached the intestine of patients with infant botulism, 555 samples of foods, drugs, and environmental specimens were examined. Of the food items, C. botulinum was only found in nine of 90 (10%) honey specimens. Five patients had been exposed to honey that contained C. botulinum, and ingestion of honey was found to be a significant risk factor for type B infant botulism (P = 0.005). In addition, C. botulinum was isolated from five samples of soil (three from case homes, two from control homes) and from vacuum cleaner dust from one case home. In every instance in which C. botulinum was isolated
from a specimen of honey, soil, or duct associated with a case of infant botulism, the type of toxin (A or B) in the honey, soil, or dust isolate matched the type of toxin of the
organism recovered from the infant. Isolation of C. botulinum from the soil of homes of control infants emphasizes the ubiquitous distribution of and exposure to this organism
and suggests that host factors are important in the development of illness. Prevention of
infant botulism will depend on the identification of these host factors, as well as on the
identification of other vehicles that, like honey, may convey C. botulinum spores to
susceptible infants.

PMID: 399377 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

In summary, there can be other reasons for botulism occurring. However, unless testing on Ryan's 3 remaining gliders and/or necropsy results on Flora and Fauna can definitively determine that botulism is involved and whether it might be the Primary diagnosis or a secondary complication from something else, we have only a hypothesis of what might have made the involved gliders sick. We need to keep this in mind before becoming panicky and possibly changing to unproven/untested diets without all the facts being known or we may face yet another unexpected set of health issues for our gliders. Please keep this in mind as you read/research on the issues at hand. <img border="0" alt="read" title="" src="graemlins/read.gif" />

#187 - 12/17/02 12:36 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

GliderRoo--no raw veggies here.

I do have the same jar of honey that I used. I'm already speaking with several people about having that tested as well as the BML.


#188 - 12/17/02 01:54 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

sounds good Ryan. I was afraid you might have thrown the honey out. Let us know about test results on the honey & BML you had been using. I know it's a long shot but since soil and dust have also been known to carry Clostridium botulinum spores, might you consider having these environmental things also checked? Maybe the EVF (Emergency vet Fund) would consider helping to defray the costs of such testing if it might shed light on a potential botulism issue in this instance and whether that botulism stemmed from the use of honey in the BML recipe and/or other possible environmental factors. Also, from research I've done, it seems that honey coming from small family-run businesses (rather than from large companies) has a higher incident rate of Clostridium botulinum spores being noted so I'm curious as to where you bought your honey and what brand it was.

<small>[ 12-17-2002, 02:59 PM: Message edited by: Glideroo ]</small>

#189 - 12/17/02 02:21 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]


maybe the CDC would be glad to test the honey, or even the BML since botulism is a concern for a oot of people, and even though animals were involved, the foods are people food itmes, and therefore it's possible the CDC would jump in to investigate ?


#190 - 12/19/02 01:17 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

I've been reviewing all threads/posts on the issue of your gliders' becoming sick including the BML diet thread in an effort to better understand all aspects of the issues involved here & was wondering about the multiple vitamins used in the diet plan you posted about on 12/4/02. I'm not asking that any quantities of the vitamins/minerals be divulged but if we might at least know what vitamin and/or mineral supplements are a part of the diet you're currently using.

#191 - 12/20/02 12:18 PM Re: Ryan's Gliders: Botulism [Re: ]

Bringing to top in hopes of a response from Ryan to my 12/19/02 inquiry.


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