Is Clostridium Perfringens Contagious?

Clostridium perfringens is an issue that foals may experience when young. You may wonder, is clostridium perfringens contagious? It is a serious condition that needs treatment as soon as possible in foals.

If you plan on breeding a horse, it is generally a good idea to get an understanding of clostridium perfringens. This can help you better identify this illness so your horse can get the treatment they need. It can be an unpleasant illness for your horse to deal with.

What Is Clostridium Perfringens?
Horse Coughing Remedies, Problems a...
Horse Coughing Remedies, Problems and Treatment

Clostridium perfingens is a type of bacteria that can cause inflammation in the small and large intestine, resulting in leading to abdominal pain, colic, and diarrhea. It can even lead to failure to nurse within the first week of life for foals.

Clostridium perfringens is a serious condition that needs to be addressed immediately. It progresses rapidly and unfortunately has high mortality in foals. Intensive medical care must be given right away, but unfortunately, foals do not always survive even with immediate medical attention.

The bacteria from clostridium perfingens is found in the gut of both healthy and sick foals. Some strains produce toxins, whereas others don’t.

What Is Clostridium Perfringens

Types Of Clostridium Perfringens – Is Clostridium Perfringens Contagious?

Clostridium perfingens is identified in five different types: A, B, C, D, and E. This is based on the toxins produced alpha, beta, epsilon, iota, and Beta 2-toxin. Strains A and C are the most associated with disease in foals. Type A is most commonly found at horse farms and it produces alpha-toxin. Type C produces the alpha-toxin and beta toxin and though less common it is more deadly.

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Causes Of Clostridium Perfringens

Foals may be exposed to clostridium perfingens through infected feces. The feces can be from their mother or another horse. However, in many cases of clostridium perfingens the cause is unknown.

Stock horse breeds such as Quarter horses tend to be more prone to developing clostridium perfingens. Other factors of increased risk include the presence of other species of livestock at the facility, dirt, sand, or gravel that can harbor bacteria in the breeding area, and high milk production from the mare.

Is Clostridium Perfringens Contagious?

Clostridium perfringens is not contagious from foal to foal. However, though it may not be contagious, multiple foals may develop it on a farm due to contaminated areas on the farm.

Though foals will not be contagious, a foal with clostridium perfringens should be kept away from other foals in order to receive the care and treatment they need. The foal should be in a comfortable space like a stall.

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Signs Of Clostridium Perfringens – Is Clostridium Perfringens Contagious?

Signs of clostridium perfringens in foals include abdominal pain, colic, diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal
distention, and rapid death. In some cases, diarrhea may be bloody and foul-smelling. The foal may also show failure to nurse as well.

Clostridium perfringens generally appears within the first week of life in foals. In some cases, it may happen within just a few hours of birth and quickly progress.

Clostridium perfringens is diagnosed from fecal samples by the culture of the bacteria. It is necessary to identify the type of clostridium perfringens present to identify the toxin-producing strains from the ones that do not produce toxins, as they may be part of the normal gut bacteria. Tests to identify the toxins of clostridium perfringens include enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

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Treatment For Clostridium Perfringens

Treatment for clostridium perfringens must be taken quickly in order to increase a foal’s chances of survival. Intensive medical treatment such as intravenous fluids, supplemental electrolytes, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories are used. In addition, the foal may be given antitoxins, hyperimmune plasma, and other medications.

Early detection and treatment are necessary for a foal to be able to survive. However, even with medical attention, there is still a high mortality rate in foals from clostridium perfringens. In some cases, foals are able to pull through and make a full recovery from clostridium perfringens.

Treatment For Clostridium Perfringens

Ways To Help Prevent It – Is Clostridium Perfringens Contagious?

Mares can be vaccinated prior to foaling to help transfer antibodies to foals. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine available for foals. Foaling stalls should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between births. In some cases, it may be necessary to wash the udder of the mare before letting the foal nurse.

If you suspect your foal might be showing signs of clostridium perfringens, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Good hygiene practices are generally the best ways to prevent clostridium perfringens in foals. However, even with precautions, it can still occur in horses.

Clostridium Perfringens In Horses

Clostridium perfringens in foals is a serious condition that can progress quickly and unfortunately has a high mortality rate. It often occurs within the first week of birth,  with symptoms including abdominal pain, colic, diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal distention, and rapid death. It is not contagious from one foal to another, but breakouts can occur at foaling barns.

Do you have any questions regarding is clostridium perfringens contagious? If so, please ask any questions regarding clostridium perfringens and what can be done to help diagnose and treat foals.

FAQ’s

How Do You Get Clostridium Perfringens?

Foals can get clostridium perfringens from feces, whether it from their mother or not. However, in many cases the cause of clostridium perfringens is unknown.

How Do You Get Rid of Clostridium Perfringens?

Intensive medical treatment such as intravenous fluids, supplemental electrolytes, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories are needed to treat clostridium perfringens. In addition, the foal may be given antitoxins, hyperimmune plasma, and other medications.

How is Clostridium Perfringens Enterotoxin Transmitted to Humans?

Eating food that is contaminated with large numbers of clostridium perfringens bacteria with enough toxins can cause illness in the intestines. It commonly occurs in meat, poultry, gravies and other foods cooked in large batches that have been kept at unsafe temperatures.

Is Clostridium Perfringens an Infection?

Clostridium perfringens is an infection caused by bacteria that leads to enterocolitis, which is the inflammation of the small and large intestine. It progresses rapidly and can often be deadly for foals.