Enterotoxemia

Enterotoxemia – There are two types of enterotoxemia: the common overeating disease and FSE, or Focal Symmetrical Encephalomalacia. The first type is caused by Clostridium perfringes Types C & D. It is an acute, usually fatal disease. Death is caused by the accumulation of toxins produced by C. perfringes, another common gut flora, that tie up the nervous system receptors. It can occur in all ages of goats and sheep. Some predisposing factors are overfeeding of milk, a sudden introduction to higher quality pasturage or feed than the animal is used to, any sudden change in feed such as an accidental over-ingestion of cereal feed grains, and any digestive system upset such as stasis (lack of stomach peristalsis or movement).

Clinical signs are sudden, unexplained death with perhaps some ataxia, convulsions, coma, paralysis or diarrhea apparent to the careful observer. Treatment is again very difficult. C & D Antitoxin can be administered intravenously at the rate of 40cc every 20 minutes for an hour accompanied by IV fluids, Vitamin B complex, and dextrose in an intensive care unit. Again, this is very expensive and may not be effective unless administered immediately upon onset of clinical signs. Enterotoxemia is easy to prevent when proper annual vaccinations programs are followed.

FSE develops in a small percentage of lambs and kids following an outbreak of enterotoxemia caused by C. perfringes. The cause is poorly understood and diagnosis is usually made upon necropsy. Obvious clinical signs are death, neurological and brain abnormalities. Treatment is aggressive administration of antitoxin, but the disease is usually fatal. Again, prevention is in the proper and timely administration of vaccines for C & D.

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