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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2004 Sep;16(5):403-11.

The pathology of peracute experimental Clostridium perfringens type D enterotoxemia in sheep.

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The National Institute of Agricultural Technology, 8400 Bariloche, Argentina.


The pathological findings in sheep with peracute experimental Clostridium perfringens type D enterotoxemia are described. Of 16 animals inoculated intraduodenally with a whole culture of this microorganism and a starch solution in the abomasum, 12 developed clinical signs including increased respiratory efforts, recumbency, paddling, bleating, convulsions, blindness, and opisthotonus. Diarrhea was not observed in any of the animals. The time lapse between the beginning of intraduodenal infusion and onset of clinical signs varied between 30 minutes and 26 hours, and the clinical course varied between 1 and 9 hours. Gross postmortem changes were observed in these 12 animals and included pulmonary edema; excess pericardial, peritoneal, or pleural fluid with or without strands of fibrin; liquid small intestinal contents; leptomeningeal edema; cerebellar coning; and subcapsular petechiae on kidneys. Histological changes consisted of severe edema of pleura and interlobular septa and around blood vessels and airways and acidophilic, homogeneous, proteinaceous perivascular edema in the brain. Five of 12 animals (42%) with clinical signs consistent with enterotoxemia lacked specific histological lesions in the brain. None of the intoxicated or control animals developed nephrosis. Glucose was detected in the urine of 3 of 6 animals that were tested for this analyte. These results stress the importance of the use of histological examination of the brain, coupled with epsilon toxin detection, for a definitive diagnosis of C. perfringens type D enterotoxemia in sheep.

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