The pathology of enterotoxemia by Clostridium perfringens type C in calves

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12 Scopus citations


The pathology of Clostridium perfringens type C infection has been described with detail only in foals and piglets. The current report describes the diagnostic workup and detailed pathology of 3 cases of C. perfringens type C infection in calves. A 2-day-old Jersey calf and fresh and fixed tissues from a 4-week-old Angus calf and from a 1-week-old Jersey calf were received at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System with a history of digestive disease and death. The gross changes in the gastrointestinal tract of 1 calf consisted of multifocal subserosal hemorrhages of the rumen, diffuse congestion and multifocal hemorrhages of the small intestinal mucosa, and dilated cecum with bloody liquid contents. In a second calf, a large segment of small intestine was hemorrhagic. The small intestine of the third calf was dilated and filled with abundant yellow fluid content. Microscopically, all 3 calves had diffuse coagulation necrosis of the intestinal mucosa. Clostridium perfringens type A was isolated from the intestinal content of 2 calves. In addition, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for Bovine rotavirus was positive on colonic content of 1 calf. Small numbers of cryptosporidia were seen in smears of colonic content of 2 calves, and Salmonella sp. group E was detected in the small intestinal content of another calf. Clostridium perfringens beta toxin was detected in the intestinal content of the 3 animals. A diagnosis of C. perfringens type C infection was confirmed based on pathological findings and detection of beta toxin in the intestinal content of the 3 animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-442
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Calves
  • Clostridium perfringens type C
  • enterotoxemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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