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What is Clostridiosis?

Clostridia are small anaerobic bacteria commonly found in the environment and various animal species. Some notable species include Clostridium t ...

Consequences for Ruminants

Clostridium perfringens type A can cause a superacute and deadly disease known as enterotoxaemia.

The bacteria lives in the gut of healthy cattle from an early age, and risk factors (poor immunity, inappropriate feeding, environmental stress and bad health status) can trigger its uncontrolled multiplication in the small intestine leading to over production of lethal toxins.

The alpha toxin produced by this bacterium produces necrohemorrhagic lesions in the small intestine, leading to rapid disease progression. Affected animals may exhibit premonitory signs like colic, lethargy, or nervous disorders, often culminating in sudden death. Fast-growing, high-value animals are particularly vulnerable, with fatality rates reaching 100%¹.

Consequences for the Farm

Clostridium perfringens type A related diseases such as Enterotoxaemia or Hemorrhagic Bowel Syndrome pose significant economic burdens on farms. They can lead to up to 20% of total herd mortality², striking the most valuable and productive animals. The acute nature of the disease means farmers may find animals dead without prior symptoms, exacerbating financial losses.

 

How to Control Clostridia

Effective control of clostridial diseases involves a multifaceted approach focusing on 4 key pillars: environmental management, feed practices, sanitation, and vaccination.

· Environment: Maintaining a hygienic environment and managing stressors like overcrowding or poor hygiene can reduce the risk of disease outbreak.

· Feed Management: Strict control over dietary factors, particularly limiting starch intake, helps mitigate the proliferation of clostridia. Excess carbohydrates in the diet can promote bacterial growth.

· Sanitary Status: Ensuring good overall herd health, including addressing immunosuppressive conditions like infectious diseases or parasitism, is crucial for disease prevention.

· Vaccination: Vaccines containing a high concentration of alpha toxoid can stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies capable of neutralizing the alpha toxin³. Proper vaccination protocols significantly enhance resistance to clostridial diseases.

References:

1. Lebrun, M., Mainil, J.G., & Linden, A. (2010). Cattle enterotoxaemia and Clostridium perfringens: description, diagnosis and prophylaxis. Veterinary Record, 167, 13 – 22.

2. Pardon B, De Bleecker K, Hostens M, Callens J, Dewulf J, Deprez P: Longitudinal study on morbidity and mortality in white veal calves in Belgium. BMC Vet Res 2012, 8:26.

3. Internal data Ceva – BioX. Not published.

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