Clostridial Enteritis


Causal agent

Bacterial.  Clostridial perfringens  Type C occasionally A or other types

Age group

Piglets less than 1 week (often within 3 days of birth) sudden death

Piglets 2-3 weeks of age a chronic enteritis

Clinical signs

Neonatal piglets

Sudden death.  Anus often bright red.  Other piglets very weak and pale

Older piglets

Diarrhoea, which may be intermittent.  Piglets emaciated but can be active and alert.  Eventually piglets die.  Often seen in outside farming.

Post-mortem findings

Neonatal piglets

Intestines full of blood

Older piglets

Chronic thickened enteritis, which make absorption of food very difficult for the piglet

Acute haemorrhagic enteritis in a 3 day old piglet

Chronic enteritis with a thickened bowel.

Note the intestines have gas bubbles visible on their surface



Clostridial organisms are very common in the normal environment

The clostridial spores are very resistant



Post-mortem examination of affected piglets

Identification of clostridial organisms in the intestinal tract

Identification of clostridial toxins, which cause many of the clinical signs


Affected piglets

Oral or Injectable antibiotics with demonstrated efficacy against the clostridium to affected piglets and litter mates


Vaccinate sows and gilts against clostridial organisms.  Note commercial vaccines do not contain Cl. perfingens A, however, autogenous vaccines can be made

All-in/all-out hygiene

Effective farrowing house cleaning programmes

Oral antibiotics to sows pre and post farrowing to reduce spread from the sow.  Bacitracin may prove useful

Common differentials




Thrombocytopaenia and other neonatal blood disorders

Trauma from the sow