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I saw a sign near a lake here in Brussels , Belgium warning against botulism , I asked and someone said it was a very severe desease , I am aware of that , but the person also said that dogs drinking out of lakes , ponds or puddles could die of this . I live quite a ways from Brussels in the country , but I am worried as my dog drinks any water she finds wherever we roam , we have ponds and a river where she swims daily , and I can't begin to imagine how I could forbid this ...

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Generally, this would not be a problem. However, when conditions result in a lack of oxygen in the water along with organic material (this can be due to abnormally low water levels where organic materials are present), anaerobic conditions can occur that allow the botulinum bacterium to flourish (it requires an anaerobic - without oxygen - condition) and produce the deadly toxin that causes botulism.


My assumption would be that anaerobic conditions at that particular lake (which may be the result of drought and lowered water levels) are resulting in active botulinum bacteria that are producing the toxin, which is extremely hazardous even in small quantities.


It may be an isolated event due to certain circumstances or may be something that could occur in other bodies of water if, for instance, drought conditions exist along with the other conditions necessary to allow the botulinum organisms to flourish.


Generally, if I am correct, botulism is not a worry in flowing waters (rivers and streams) as they tend to be well-oxygenated but rather in stagnant waters or bodies of water with abnormally low levels.


The organization that posted the warning sign should be able to give you more information on which locations are involved or at risk, and what conditions are causing the problem. I would tend to think that flowing waters would not be an issue but would check to be sure.


If you are concerned, you may have to avoid her swimming and drinking until you can get better information about the bodies of water about which you need to be concerned.


Perhaps someone more knowledgeable about this could comment...

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Well thanks Sue , that was helpful . I do feel though that with all the rains we get here , (I can assure you drought is NOT a issue in Belgium;) and the fact that around my place it's all streams and ponds that sort of flow one into the other , it can't happen , but I'll do a bit more research to be one the safe side .


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