Omphalitis and the resulting septicemia contribute to perinatal mortality in several animal species. In foals, the most important causes of omphalitis are Escherichia coli and Streptococcus zooepidemicus. However to date, no information has been published about the role of Clostridium sordellii in these infections. In this paper, we describe 8 cases of perinatal mortality in foals associated with internal umbilical remnant infection by C. sordellii. The foals studied were between 12 and 21 days old at the time of death, and various breeds were represented in the group. Five of the foals were male and 3 were female. The diagnosis was established on the basis of the detection of C. sordellii by 3 methods (culture, fluorescent antibody test, and immunohistochemistry) and on gross and histopathologic findings. All foals had acute peritonitis, and the internal umbilical remnant was thickened by edema, hemorrhage, and fibrosis. A moderate amount of serosanguinous fluid with fibrin strands was present in the pericardial sac and pleural cavity. Histopathologically, the urachus and umbilical arterial walls were thickened by edema and exhibited hemorrhage, fibrin, and leukocytic infiltration. Gram-positive bacterial rods were observed in subepithelial areas of the urachus, the adventicia of umbilical arteries, and interstitium of the internal umbilical remnant. On the basis of these findings, we suggest that C. sordellii should be considered in the differential diagnosis for infections of the internal umbilical remnant in foals.
- Clostridium sordellii
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