Enterotoxaemia is an important cause of sudden death in veal calves. This study aimed to evaluate intestinal Clostridium perfringens counts as a diagnostic tool for enterotoxaemia. Field necropsies were conducted on 48 sudden death cases in Belgian Blue veal farms. In 31/48 suddenly deceased calves, the diagnosis of enterotoxaemia was made based on haemorrhagic lesions in the small intestines, while in seven of these cases, no clear-cut diagnosis could be made based on macroscopic appearance of the gut. In the 10 remaining calves, a definitive cause of death other than enterotoxaemia could be identified. Samples of the intestinal content were taken for quantification of C perfringens. After matching cases and controls for diet, and the interval between death and sampling, no significant differences could be detected between the mean C perfringens counts of the small intestines in enterotoxaemia cases and counts in the matching segments in the control group. These results indicate that intestinal C perfringens counts cannot be advised as a discriminative postmortem diagnostic tool for enterotoxaemia in veal calves, not even when sampled within three hours after death.
- Enteric disease
- Bacterial diseases
- Accepted January 4, 2013.
- British Veterinary Association