This study was designed to experimentally reproduce enterotoxemia by Clostridium perfringens type D in cattle and to characterize the clinicopathologic findings of this disease. Fourteen 9-month-old calves were inoculated intraduodenally according to the following schedule: group 1 (n = 4), C. perfringens type D whole culture; group 2 (n = 3), C. perfringens type D washed cells; group 3 (n = 5), C. perfringens type D filtered and concentrated supernatant; group 4 (n = 2), sterile, nontoxic culture medium. In addition, all animals received a 20% starch solution in the abomasum. Ten animals from groups 1 (4/4), 2 (3/3), and 3 (3/5) showed severe respiratory and neurologic signs. Gross findings were observed in these 10 animals and consisted of acute pulmonary edema, excessive protein-rich pericardial fluid, watery contents in the small intestine, and multifocal petechial hemorrhages on the jejunal mucosa. The brain of one animal of group 2 that survived for 8 days showed multifocal, bilateral, and symmetric encephalomalacia in the corpus striatum. The most striking histologic changes consisted of perivascular high protein edema in the brain, and alveolar and interstitial proteinaceous pulmonary edema. The animal that survived for 8 days and that had gross lesions in the corpus striatum showed histologically severe, focal necrosis of this area, cerebellar peduncles, and thalamus. Koch's postulates have been met and these results show that experimental enterotoxemia by C. perfringens type D in cattle has similar clinical and pathologic characteristics to the natural and experimental disease in sheep.
- Clostridium perfringens type D
- Epsilon toxin
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