According to a report by the Miami Herald, veterinarians are treating several dogs for paralysis. This has occurred a few weeks after South Florida experienced very frigid temperatures.
Some vets think that they may be dealing with botulism in the dogs as a result of the animals chewing on dead iguana carcasses.
During the cold snap, thousands of iguanas perished, including dropping out of trees, as seen on national news reports. It appears that dogs are finding these corpses and treating them like chew toys. Some vets are looking at this as the source of the dog’s illnesses.
According to veterinarians, the paralysis starts in the back end, and then progresses to the front legs and occasionally disabling the diaphragms requiring the dog to be intubated so it can breathe. These symptoms appear a day or so after an iguana encounter.
The common denominator has been chewing on dead iguanas.
Several dogs had to be euthanized because the paralysis was so severe. The paralysis had stumped veterinarians since these botulism-like symptoms are very rarely encountered. Laboratory confirmation of botulism has not been performed to date.
Clostridium botulinum is an anaerobic bacterium that produces a potent neurotoxin that can cause paralysis. There is an antitoxin that is effective in people and animals.