Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) ducklings (2 wk old) were given water from natural saline wetlands or fresh water as drinking water for 1 or 2 wk prior to, and after, receiving material containing Clostridium botulinum type C toxin. Water with conductivity ranging from 3,460 to 6,690 μmhos/cm had no detectable effect on the occurrence or severity of clinical signs of botulism. Ducks drinking water with conductivity of 7,130 μmhos/cm for 1 wk prior to receiving toxin had more severe clinical signs and greater mortality than did birds drinking fresh water. Ducks given the same water for 2 wk prior to receiving toxin did not differ from the controls in response to toxin. Fewer ducks in groups drinking the most saline water tested (conductivity = 13,500 μmhos/cm) had clinical signs of botulism than in groups drinking fresh water.
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Vol. 24 • No. 2