Clostridial Enteritis

What is Clostridial Enteritis? 

Clostridial infection is caused by the gram-positive, anaerobic, spore-forming bacteria Clostridium spp. Clostridial bacteria are present in environment and in feces. In adult horses clostridial diarrhea has been associated with factors that may alter the balance of the intestinal flora such as the administration of antibiotics, feed changes and transportation but can occur in the absence of any identifiable risk factors. 

Clinical Signs: Clinical signs of clostridial enteritis include the following

  • Diarrhea onset may be preacute (with rapid progression to death), acute or gradual
  • Diarrhea is often hemorrhagic or dark and foul smelling 
  • Colic 
  • Fever 
  • Reduced appetite or inappetence 
  • Septic shock 
  • Sudden death 

Diagnosis: PCR or ELISA are used to identify the Clostridium toxin in the feces.

Treatment: The predominate treatment is supportive care. 

Prevention: The disease is spread by fecal contamination from an infected horse.