Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Clostridium perfringens

Synonym(s): C. perfringens, Clostridium welchii

Contributor(s): Richard Walker

Introduction

Classification

Taxonomy

  • Family: Clostridiacea.
  • Genus: Clostridium.
  • Species: perfringens.

Etymology

  • Clostridium: Gk: kloster - spindle.
  • Latin: Perfringens - breaking through.

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Clinical Effects

Epidemiology

Habitat

  • C. perfringens type A occurs in the intestinal tract of animals and human beings and in most soils.
  • Types B-E are found mostly in the intestines of animals.

Lifecycle

  • Germinate in the intestine and soil in anaerobic conditions.
  • Relatively aerotolerant, therefore spores are rarely seen.

Transmission

  • Ingestion.
  • Wound infection.

Pathological effects

  • Immunity is antibody-mediated; correlates with antitoxin levels.
  • Gas gangrene: type A, histotoxins produced are not as potent as the neurotoxins but the organisms are invasive.
  • Disease caused varies from cellulitis to fatal gas gangrene.
  • Enterotoxemias Clostridial enterotoxicosis : caused by the major enterotoxins of types B, C and D, occasionally type A. Usually in young animals. Caused by beta toxin (types B and C) or epsilon toxin (type D; 'pulpy kidney' in lambs). Older animals may get chronic form.
  • Must differentiate from commensal clostridia.

Other Host Effects

  • May be carried in intestine of healthy animals.

Control

Control via chemotherapies

  • Penicillin G Benzylpenicillin active against most strains of C. perfringens.

Vaccination

  • Toxoid vaccines are available for cattle and sheep.
  • Antitoxin of appropriate type may be given to sick animals, although cases of enterotoxemia generally too acute.
  • Commercial products for use mainly in sheep generally cover C. perfringens types C and D.

Diagnosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Weese J S, Staempfli H R, Prescott J F et al (2001) The roles of Clostridium difficile and enterotoxigenic Clostridium perfringens in diarrhea in dogs. J Vet Intern Med 15 (4), 374-378 PubMed.
  • Daube G, Simon P, Limbourg B et al (1996) Hybridization of 2,659 Clostridium perfringens isolates with gene probes for seven toxins (alpha, beta, epsilon, iota, theta, mu, and enterotoxin) and for sialidase. Am J Vet Res 57 (4), 496-501 PubMed.
  • Turk J, Fales W, Miller M et al (1992) Enteric Clostridium perfringens infection associated with parvoviral enteritis in dogs: 74 cases (1987-1990).JAVMA 200 (7), 991-994 PubMed.
  • Kruth S A, Prescott J F, Welch M K et al (1989) Nosocomial diarrhea associated with enterotoxigenic Clostridium perfringens infection in dogs. JAVMA 195 (3), 331-334 PubMed.

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