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Enterotoxaemia (Pulpy Kidney)

  • Helen Simmonds, "Rowan Park", NSW.

Enterotoxaemia, caused by Clostridium perfringens Type D, is a common, frequently fatal disease of goats. This bacteria is a common inhabitant of the gut, and therefore of pasture. Under abnormal circumstances it may get out of control, producing a toxin (epsilon), which by increasing vascular permeability of the gut, allows it into the bloodstream. From there it can attack small blood vessels in the lungs, heart and brain and then cause generalised toxaemia and shock. Some animals develop diarrhoea, and pain, others may have convulsions just before death, and yet others may just be found dead.

Overfeeding, or a sudden intake of carbohydrate or energy rich, easily fermentable food, allows a suitable type of starch to pass through the rumen to the abomasum and intestine, where it serves as a medium for the rapid proliferation of this bacteria. Abrupt changes in the weather, or other conditions, have not been proven to cause an onset of enterotoxaemia.

There are no specific diagnostic signs to give a definite diagnosis of this disease, nor any conclusive post mortem changes. Even the evidence of epsilon in the gut, is not evidence of how much was available in the bloodstream to cause symptoms, and death, which may have been due to other causes.

Vaccination, twice a year, is probably sufficient to give immunity to this disease, but the initial sensitising and follow up dose must be given at no less than six weeks apart.

There may be two forms affecting goats in this country.

  • Acute form: Greenish diarrhoea progressing to dysentery and sloughed intestinal lining. Excruciating abdominal pain and cries. Severe temperature drop, shivering, abortion and death. Affects all ages.
  • Chronic form: Intermittent diarrhoea, loss of condition and general unthriftiness over a period, despite treatment for worms and other possible causes. Affects only adults.

Treatment for the acute form is complex, and must be undertaken early after the onset of signs, and best carried out by a veterinarian. For the chronic form, the outlook is better. The animals making a quick recovery after being inoculated with the enterotoxaemia vaccine.

This vaccine is usually given in conjunction with tetanus and cheesy gland (CLA) vaccine as a 3 in 1 dose. It can be as a 2 in 1 dose only, with tetanus, or as a 5 in 1, or 6 in 1, with CLA and the “black” diseases, although these multi mix doses can cause massive allergic or shock reactions.

See also Tetanus (Goat notes D4) and Cheesy Gland (Goat Note D6).

© 2000 A.C.G.A.