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  • Author or Editor: Robert P. Ellis x
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Objective—To determine signalment, history, and clinical, necropsy, and microbiologic findings in dairy cows with hemorrhagic bowel syndrome.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—22 adult dairy cows from a single farm in Colorado.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed for information on signalment, medical and reproductive history, the owner's chief complaints, results of physical examinations and ancillary diagnostic tests, treatment and response to treatment, results of microbiologic testing, and, if applicable, postmortem findings.

Results—Common clinical signs were acute signs of profound depression, decreased milk production, tachycardia, ruminal stasis, abdominal distention, and dark clotted blood in the feces. Rectal examination revealed distended loops of small intestine in 7 of 14 cows. Transabdominal ultrasonography revealed small intestinal ileus and distention in 12 of 12 cows and homogeneous echogenic intraluminal material compatible with intraluminal hemorrhage and clot formation in 4. Seven of 8 cows treated medically died; 9 of 13 cows that underwent surgery died or were euthanatized. Clostridium perfringens was isolated from fecal samples from 17 of 20 cows. The most common morphologic diagnosis at necropsy was severe necrohemorrhagic enteritis or jejunitis with intraluminal hemorrhage or blood clots. The most prominent histologic finding was severe, segmental submucosal hemorrhage and edema of the small intestine.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results confirm that in adult cattle, hemorrhagic bowel syndrome is a sporadic acute intestinal disorder characterized by intraluminal hemorrhage and obstruction of the small intestine. Clostridium perfringens was consistently isolated from the feces of affected cows. The prognosis for affected cows was grave. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:686–689)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To compare the frequency of isolation, genotypes, and in vivo production of major lethal toxins of Clostridium perfringens in adult dairy cows affected with hemorrhagic bowel syndrome (HBS) versus left-displaced abomasum (LDA).

Design—Case-control study.

Animals—10 adult dairy cattle with HBS (cases) and 10 adult dairy cattle with LDA matched with cases by herd of origin (controls).

Procedure—Samples of gastrointestinal contents were obtained from multiple sites during surgery or necropsy examination. Each sample underwent testing for anaerobic bacteria by use of 3 culture methods. The genotype of isolates of C perfringens was determined via multiplex polymerase chain reaction assay. Major lethal toxins were detected by use of an ELISA. Data were analyzed with multivariable logistic regression and X2 analysis.

ResultsC perfringens type A and type A with the beta2 gene (A + beta2) were the only genotypes isolated. Isolation of C perfringens type A and type A + beta2 was 6.56 and 3.3 times as likely, respectively, to occur in samples from cattle with HBS than in cattle with LDA. Alpha toxin was detected in 7 of 36 samples from cases and in 0 of 32 samples from controls. Beta2 toxin was detected in 9 of 36 samples from cases and 0 of 36 samples from controls.

Conclusions and Clinical RelevanceC perfringens type A and type A + beta2 can be isolated from the gastrointestinal tract with significantly greater odds in cattle with HBS than in herdmates with LDA. Alpha and beta2 toxins were detected in samples from cows with HBS but not from cows with LDA. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:132–138)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine the percentage of broodmares and foals that shed Clostridium perfringens in their feces and classify the genotypes of those isolates.

Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.

Animals—128 broodmares and their foals on 6 equine premises.

Procedures—Anaerobic and aerobic bacteriologic cultures were performed on feces collected 3 times from broodmares and foals. All isolates of C perfringens were genotyped.

ResultsClostridium perfringens was isolated from the feces of 90% of 3-day-old foals and 64% of foals at 8 to 12 hours of age. A lower percentage of broodmares and 1- to 2-month-old foals shed C perfringens in their feces, compared with neonatal foals. Among samples with positive results, C perfringens type A was the most common genotype identified (85%); C perfringens type A with the β2 toxin gene was identified in 12% of samples, C perfringens type A with the enterotoxin gene was identified in 2.1% of samples, and C perfringens type C was identified in < 1% of samples.

Conclusions and Clinical RelevanceClostridium perfringens was identified from the feces of all but 6 foals by 3 days of age and is likely part of the normal microflora of neonatal foals. Most isolates from broodmares and foals are C perfringens type A; thus, the clinical relevance of culture results alone is questionable. Clostridium perfringens type C, which has been associated with neonatal enterocolitis, is rarely found in the feces of horses. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:342–348)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association