Pathology of Clostridium perfringens Type C Enterotoxemia in Horses

Santiago S Diab, Hailu Kinde, J. Moore, M. F. Shahriar, J. Odani, L. Anthenill, G. Songer, Francisco A Uzal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Clostridium perfringens type C is an important cause of enteritis and enterocolitis in foals and occasionally in adult horses. The disease is a classic enterotoxemia, and the enteric lesions and systemic effects are caused primarily by beta toxin, 1 of 2 major toxins produced by C. perfringens type C. Until now, only sporadic cases of C. perfringens type C equine enterotoxemia have been reported. We present a comprehensive description of the lesions in 8 confirmed cases of type C enterotoxemia in foals and adult horses. Grossly, multifocal to segmental hemorrhage and thickening of the intestinal wall were most common in the small intestine, although the colon and cecum were also frequently affected. All horses had variable amounts of fluid, often hemorrhagic intestinal contents. The most characteristic microscopic lesion was necrotizing or necrohemorrhagic enteritis, with mucosal and/or submucosal thrombosis. Numerous gram-positive rods were occasionally seen in affected mucosa. A definitive diagnosis of C. perfringens type C enterotoxemia in all 8 cases was based on the clinical history, gross and histologic lesions, and detection of the beta toxin in intestinal contents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-263
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • beta toxin
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • colitis
  • diarrhea
  • enteritis
  • enterotoxemia
  • horses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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