Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Clostridial myositis

Synonym(s): Blackleg, Malignant edema, braxy

Contributor(s): Mike Reynolds , John Tulloch

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Introduction

  • Cause:
    • Clostridial myositis in cattle presents as blackleg or malignant edema.
    • Cl chauvoei is responsible for causing Blackleg in cattle.
    • Cl chauvoei, cl. novyi, cl. Septicum and/or cl. Sordelli are responsible for malignant edema.
  • Signs:
    • Blackleg:
      • Acute death is the most common clinical finding.
      • If seen early in the disease process sudden onset depression, pyrexia and initial stiffness progressing to lameness and recumbency.
      • Death follows shortly after the onset of the clinical syndrome.
    • Malignant edema:
      • Acute painful swelling and pronounced edema of muscle group or vagina/vulva.
      • Acute death.
  • Diagnosis: fluorescent antibody tests on slides from the primary lesion.
  • Treatment:
    • 25,000-40,000 IU Procaine Penicillin per kg body weight has been advocated.
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
    • Intra-venous fluid therapy.
  • Prognosis: poor.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Clostridia Clostridium spp are Gram positive, spore bearing anerobic bacteria.
  • They are ubiquitous in the environment and are widely dispersed in soil and vegetative matter, whilst also serving as a commensal within the intestines of many ruminant species.
  • Blackleg:
    • Ingestion of spores allows bacteremic spread to the viscera and muscle tissue where they may lie dormant for a prolonged period of time, before a trigger factor initiates the onset of clinical disease.
  • Malignant edema:
    • Mixed clostridial infection normally occurs in association with a deep penetrating wound which favours anerobic conditions for replication or infection of the vulva/vagina in association with dystocia.
    • Rapid multiplication of clostridial spores within the damaged tissues causes release of its associated toxin causes vast tissue damage, often necrotizing and hemorrhagic in nature.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Blackleg: ingestion of soil or vegetative matter containing Cl. Chauvoei spores by cattle at pasture, or through soil contamination or spoilage of conserved forages.
  • Malignant edema: a deep penetrating wound favouring anaerobic conditions for clostridial replication or dystocia associated injury, allowing bacterial infection.
  • Blackleg and Malignant edema: poor hygiene associate with injection site and technique.

Specific

  • Ingestion of Clostridiam chauvoei spores.
  • Trigger factors which reduce oxygen tension or trauma to tissues, which may include muscle bruising (such as the result of a kick), injection site reactions and dystocia.
  • Tooth eruption during time of spore ingestion, allowing systemic spread to peripheral sites. Tooth eruption
  • Deep penetrating wounds allowing bacterial entry and replication under anerobic conditions.

Timecourse

  • Hours.

Epidemiology

  • Normally sporadic in nature, with a small number of animals affected in any at risk population.
  • However, in the case of Blackleg, soil or vegetative contamination of conserved forages and their subsequent feeding may result in epizootic episodes.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

Other sources of information

  • Mueller K (2015) Clostridial diseases in cattle and sheep. Cattle Practice 23 (1), 127-131.
  • Otter A & Davies I (2015) Disease features and diagnostic sampling of cattle and sheep post mortem examinations. In Practice 37, 293-305.
  • Harwood D G (2007) Clostridial Disease in Cattle: Part 1. UK Vet 12 (1), 31-33.
     


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