the occurrence and distribution of clostridium botulinum spores and toxins type c and d in 300 ponds, used by cattle for drinking on 130 farms located in 12 municipalities of the rio araguaia valley, state of goiás, brazil, was evaluated. the presence of spores was determined indirectly by cultivation in culture medium, followed by inoculation and neutralization in mice of samples of the sediment from the bottom of the raining ponds, from superficial soil and from cattle feces collected to its circuit. the toxin presence was evaluated directly by inoculation in mice of the filtered sediment of the ponds, followed by the neutralization in mice with antitoxins c and d. the presence of c. botulinum spores was significantly more frequent (p<0,05) in the cattle feces (31%), when compared with the results of the superficial soil samples (19%) and the sediments (10%). botulinum toxins of type c and d or classified as belonging to the cd compound were detected in 6 samples (2%) of the 300 ponds. of the 130 worked farms, in 122 (93,85%) ponds clostridium botulinum spores or toxins were found in at least one of the researched variables, whilst ponds on only 8 (6,15%) farms did not present any contamination. age and depth of the ponds were associated with the frequency of detection of botulinum spores and toxins. the older and shallower the ponds were, the larger was the frequency of isolation of the spores and toxins. the contamination of the ponds in the araguaia valley with clostridium botulinum spores and toxins type c and d demonstrates the permanent and growing potential risk for the occurrence of botulism in cattle through drinking water.