Clostridium difficile


Causal agent

Clostridium difficile

Age group

Pre-weaning predominately before 10 days of age

Clinical signs


Yellow pasty diarrhoea, unresponsive to many antibiotics

May be mild abdominal distension, in the un-castrated male there might be scrotal oedema

Normal pig

No clinical signs



Normal contaminant of the environment

Post-mortem Lesions


Mesoclonic oedema and fluid intestinal contents

Microscopic examination demonstrates acute multifocal, diffuse erosive colitis with large gram positive rods on the mucosa

Farr scour4

Clostridial difficile 2

4 day old piglets with a pasty diarrhoea

Post-mortem with liquid intestinal contents and moderate oedema of the colonic loops.



Demonstration of organism

Demonstration of the toxins

Lack of other obvious causes



Review antimicrobial treatment programmes.  In many cases previous overuse of antimicrobials likely

Supportive therapy, Clostridium difficile resistant to penicillin


Initiate a feed-back programme of piglet faeces and intestines of affected piglets to sows 6 weeks pre-farrowing and gilts in acclimatisation

Common differentials


Causes of pre-weaning diarrhoea in piglets less than 10 days of age.  Check ventilation system for chilling and draughts etc.



Clostridium difficile may cause serious problems in children