Fecal PCR testing for detection of Clostridium perfringens and Clostridioides difficile toxin genes and other pathogens in foals with diarrhea: 28 cases

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Clostridium perfringens and Clostridioides difficile cause significant morbidity and mortality in foals. Antemortem diagnosis of C. perfringens infection has been complicated by a paucity of tests available for toxin detection. Fecal PCR panels have assays for a variety of C. perfringens toxin gene sequences as well as for several other foal gastrointestinal pathogens. We evaluated results of a comprehensive fecal diarrhea PCR panel in 28 foals that had been presented to a referral hospital because of diarrhea. Sixteen (57%) foals were positive for C. perfringens and/or C. difficile toxin gene sequences on fecal PCR, including 3 foals positive for NetF toxin. These foals were younger (p = 0.0029) and had higher hematocrits (p = 0.0087), hemoglobin (p = 0.0067), and red blood cell concentrations (p = 0.028) than foals with diarrhea that tested negative for clostridial toxins. The foals had lower total protein concentrations (p = 0.045) and were more likely to have band neutrophils on a CBC (p = 0.013; OR: 16.2). All 3 foals with NetF toxin gene sequences detected in feces survived to discharge, indicating that diarrhea caused by NetF toxigenic C. perfringens isolates is not uniformly fatal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Clostridioides difficile
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • clostridia
  • enteritis
  • equine
  • neonatal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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