A live 19-day-old male ostrich chick was euthanized and necropsied. It was one of 12 chicks in a group in which 8 had died with history of anorexia, diarrhoea and weight loss. The birds had been treated with amikacin, piperacillin and enrofloxacin. Necropsy of the ostrich revealed dehydration, mild ascites and serous atrophy of fat around the heart. The liver had numerous yellow tan foci on the capsular surface as well as on the cut surface. Caecal contents were watery. Microscopic examination of the liver revealed multifocal necrosis of hepatocytes with infiltration of heterophils mixed with fibrin, few lymphocytes, and multinucleated giant cells. A Gram stain of the liver revealed a few gram-positive bacilli scattered within the necrotic foci. Clostridium difficile was isolated from the liver, and toxin A was detected by ELISA. A retrospective examination of approximately 1000 ostriches submitted during a seven year period to the laboratory system revealed seven cases of hepatitis due to Clostridium perfringens, two additional cases due to C. difficile and two cases due to C. sordelli.
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