Objective—To determine signalment, history, and
clinical, necropsy, and microbiologic findings in dairy
cows with hemorrhagic bowel syndrome.
Animals—22 adult dairy cows from a single farm in
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
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
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).
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.
Results—C 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 Relevance—C 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)
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
Procedures—Anaerobic and aerobic bacteriologic
cultures were performed on feces collected 3 times
from broodmares and foals. All isolates of C perfringens
Results—Clostridium 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
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Clostridium
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