Dis of Food Anim
Dis of Food Anim PATB 4110
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Date Created: 10/27/15
I ExEx11022 EX ii l7 il south DakOta Vetergrfacfy Cooperative E a I Extension Service x so39ence South Dakota State University College of Agriculture amp Biological Sciences USDA Clostridium perfringens Infections in Baby Calves Russ Day DVM Extension Veterinarian Lori Rotert Pre Veterinary Student Illnesses and death losses in baby calves are signi cant problems for producers raising calves in beef or dairy operations Several of these issues especially sudden deaths and certain enteric intestinal condi tions are potential effects of infections due to CIoslridiuIn perfringens CIoslridiuIn perfringens are Gram positive spore forming anaerobic bacteria that are very commonly found in many environments including soil water poorly preserved feeds contami nated or improperly thawed colostrum or milk calf housing environments and the normal bovine intestin al tract In small amounts these bacteria are generally harmless in the intestine but under the right conditions they may grow and proliferate resulting in enterotox ernial a condition in which specific toxins produced by the bacteria in the small intestine result in both local damage and systemic whole body effects Pathogenesis How C nngens causes disease Because of the widespread nature of the organism calves are readily exposed to C perfringens in their environment and commonly ingest the bacteria in vari ous quantities after which it enters the stomach and intestine Sometimes bacteria are ingested in suf cient quantities to cause disease but oftentimes small quan tities are ingested followed by rapid proliferation in the intestine Enterotoxemia due to C perfringens is more likely to affect baby calves within the first two months of age than mature cattle because the calves lack a fully lnc tioning rumen C perfringens feeds on starches and sugars in the small intestine In mature cattle these starches and sugars are predominantly digested in the rumen so they are not available to the C perfringens microbes for use However in baby calves nearly all feed bypasses the rumen and is digested in the aboma sum true stomach and the small intestine so the starches are available for the microbes to feed on This coupled with a normal intestinal ora that has not yet developed provides a suitable environment for the C perfringens to proliferate Several factors can con tribute to this rapid proliferation Primary among these are abrupt changes in feeding patterns see Prevention below physical or environmental stress nutritional deficiencies and conditions that impair movement of the intestine such as diarrhea due to other causes As C perfringens proliferates in the gut the bacteria secrete toxins that have profound effects not only on the local intestinal environment causing damage to the intestinal lining but throughout the body as well Death occurs when high levels of these bacterial toxins enter the bloodstream leading to in ammation shock and cardiac arrest C perfringens is not spread from calf to calf but it is not uncommon for several calves in a group to be affected at the same time due to similar exposure and management practices Types of C perfringene There are five types of C perfringens see Table 1 below designated A through E which are identified based on the toxins they produce It is the effect of these specific toxins that results in the clinical signs and syn drome attributable to each type Table 1 C perfringens types major toxins and associated syndromes TOXIN TYPE MAJOR TOXIN SYNDROMES 1 Abomastitis stomach inflammation in calves 2 Bloating in calves A Alpha 3 Mild diarrhea in calves 4 May be associated with hemorrhagic bowel syndrome H88 in dairy cattle B Beta Alpha Epsilon 1 Hemorrhagic enteritis in newborn calves NOT FOUND IN US C Beta Alpha 1 Sudden death in very young calves 2 Hemorrhagic enteritis bloody scours D Epsilon Alpha 1 Enterotoxemia resulting in sudden death usually in calves on feed finishing cattle E Iota Alpha 1 Fatal enterotoxemia in newborn calves Type C is one of the more commonly encountered types of C perfringens It is especially virulent in calves less than 10 days old and o en less than five days old Enterotoxemia due to C perfringens Type C may result in severe bloody diarrhea although o en times calves die before diarrhea develops CIoslridiuIn perfringens Type A has been increasing ly identified as a cause of abomasal in ammation which may result in abdominal distension bloating or abomasal ulcers in young calves Varying degrees of diarrhea and occasionally sudden onset of weakness and coma have also been associated with Type A which generally affects a slightly older 2 4 weeks old calf It is also occasionally associated with wound con tamination and gas gangrene Diagnosis of Type A enterotoxemia can be difficult due to the fact that it is a very common inhabitant of the normal intestinal tract therefore culture results need to be matched to clinical signs and lesions in the tissues see Diagnosis below Enterotoxemia due to C perfringens Type D is some times associated with sudden death in finishing cattle because it proliferates when there are high amounts of carbohydrates available in the diet which is o en the case in cattle being fed high amounts of grain in nish ing diets Type E enterotoxemia has been diagnosed although infrequently in South Dakota calves It causes a severe local intestinal necrosis and systemic toxemia similar to the syndrome described with Type C Type B is almost non existent and has not been found in North America Diagnosis of C perfringens Necropsy of the calf in cases of Types C and E will sometimes reveal severe necrosis tissue damage and hemorrhage in the small intestine Calves affected with Type A will o en show in ammation ulceration and hemorrhage of the lining of the rumen and abomasum Because C perfringens is o en found in the intestine of normal calves a simple culture of the organism from the calf is not sufficient by itself to confirm a diagnosis of disease due to C perfringens Culture results are matched with clinical signs lesions in the tissues and in some cases toxin identification to obtain a true diagnosis Tissue samples from calves suspected of having clostridial enterotoxemia should be collected soon a er death and kept well preserved a er the death of the calf normal populations of clostridial organisms can overgrow and confuse diagnosis TREATMENT The treatment of syndromes caused by C perfringens is frequently unsuccessful Because clinical signs are usually a result of the toxin not the bacteria itself treat ment with antibiotics which act solely on the bacteria and not the toxins is o en less than rewarding In addi tion with many of these syndromes death or severe ill ness occurs before treatment can even be attempted therefore early detection becomes essential if treatment is to be successful Typical treatments for calves with milder clinical signs consist largely of antibiotics especially penicillin and the use of C perfringens antitoxin products Several injectable antitoxin preparations that contain specific antibodies directed against toxins produced by C per fringens are currently available While these antitoxin products are developed expressly for use against toxins produced by Types C and D beta and epsilon toxins there may be some effect against alpha toxin Type A as well Supportive care with oral or IV uids and anti in ammatories may also be indicated Any treatment plan needs to be developed in close consultation with the herd veterinarian PREVENTION Prevention of enterotoxemia due to C perfringens infection focuses on three areas 1 minimizing expo sure 2 enhancing immunity in the young calf and 3 managing feeding practices to discourage the prolifera tion of C perfringens in the gut l Minimizing exposure Despite the fact that clostridi al organisms are ubiquitous in the calf s environment the more organisms a newbom calf is exposed to the more likely it is to succumb to disease For that reason careful attention must be paid to sanitation of the calv ing area whether it be a maternity pen in a dairy or a calving pen in a beef operation Buildup of all enteric pathogens occurs when the same calving area is used throughout the calving season as these organisms are generally very hardy in the environment 2 Enhancing innnnunity Colostial passive immunity is of utmost importance in the resistance of calves to C perfringens enterotoxemia since these calves are gen erally too young and clinical signs occur too early to respond to active vaccination Antibodies against C perfringens and its toxins are passed from dam to calf through colostrum Calves should consume an ade quate amount 4 quarts of high quality colostrum within the first 18 24 hours of life to gain maximum protection A strategy for maximizing colostral antibody levels is vaccinating the dam before she calves Vaccines against clost1idial diseases are typically bacterin toxoids meaning that the vaccine is meant to stimulate a response against both the bacteria and the toxin pro duced by the bacteria Several pre calving vaccines scour shots contain C perfringens Type C and occasionally D bacteIin toxoids A separate vaccine against Type A antigens has been conditionally licensed and is available Since vaccines for Type C against the beta toxin do not cross protect against other types other toxins and while not expressly labeled for this use this vaccine has been used in cows pre calving to try to maximize colostral protection against Type A enterotoxemia alpha toxin Along with colostral antibodies antitoxin prepara tions as mentioned above are available In certain sit uations of excessive exposure these products may be administered to calves at birth in an attempt to prevent clinical disease Active vaccination of young calves with C perfun gens vaccines such as 7 ways or 2 ways containing Types C and D or the Type A vaccine is frequently attempted but little is known about how these vaccines perfonn in very young lt1 month calves Again these vaccines do not offer protection against the other types other toxins not included in the vaccine 3 Mannging feeding practices While cow calf pro ducers have very little control over their calves feeding practices those raising calves eg dairy calves in hutches have complete control over their calves dietary intake In those operations it is extremely important to follow strict calf feeding guidelines C perfringens overgrowth in the intestine is aided by any of the following Milk replacer is improperly mixed too much or too little water added Milk replacer is incompletely mixed clumps of pow der still present at feeding Additives such as electrolytes are added to the milk replacer creating excessive osmolarity or sodium concentrations The temperature of milk replacer is too high or low when the calf is fed Milk replacer temperature should be close to the calf s body temperature 101 F Feeding schedules are erratic Regular consistent schedules and delivery methods bucket vs bottle are important in avoiding clost1idial overgrowth Changes in diets are made suddenly Calves drink too quickly eg nipple opening is too large Equipment buckets bottles nipples etc becomes contaminated due to lack of hygiene Clostridial infections have been and will continue to and feeding practices With these aspects in mind and be significant challenges to beef and dairy producers with close consultation with a veterinarian it is possi Attention must be paid to all aspects of the disease ble to manage and minimize the effect of these syn including the newborn calf s environment immunity dromes in our operations today REFERENCES McGuirk S M Solving Calf Morbidity and Mortality Problems Preconvention Seminar 7 Dairy Herd Problem Investigation Strategies American Association of Bovine Practitioners 36th Annual Conference September 1517 2003 Columbus OH Mortimer RG et al 2001 An Update on Clostridial DiseasesAbomasal Ulcers Range Beef Cow Symposium XVII Proceedings 32 35 Songer J Glenn 1999 Clostridial Enterotoxemia Current Veterinary Therapy Food Animal Practice 4th ed 388 390 Songer J Glenn and Dale Miskimins 2005 Clostridial Abomasitis in Calves Case Report and Review of the Literature Anaerobe 11290 294 Songer J Glenn and Dale Miskimins 2004 Clostridium perfringens Type E Enteritis in Calves Two Cases and a Brief Review of the Literature Anaerobe 10239 242 South Dakota State University South Dakota counties and US Department of Agriculture cooperating South Dakota State University is an Af rmative ActionEqual Opportunity Employer and offers all bene ts services education and employment opportunities without regard for race color creed religion national origin ancestry citizenship age gender sexual orientation disability or etnam Era veteran status EXEX11022 Access at httpagbiopubssdstateeduarticlesEXEX I1022pdf
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