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Evaluation of different fluids for detection ofClostridium perfringenstype D epsilon toxin in sheep with experimental enterotoxemia

Elsevier Ltd
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2006.05.001
  • Body Fluids
  • Clostridium Perfringens
  • Enterotoxemia
  • Epsilon Toxin
  • Intestinal Content
  • Sheep
  • Medicine


Abstract Enterotoxemia caused by Clostridium perfringens type D is a highly lethal disease of sheep, goats and other ruminants. The diagnosis of this condition is usually confirmed by detection of epsilon toxin, a major exotoxin produced by C. perfringens types B and D, in the intestinal content of affected animals. It has been suggested that other body fluids can also be used for detection of epsilon toxin. This study was performed to evaluate the usefulness of intestinal content versus other body fluids in detecting epsilon toxin in cases of sheep enterotoxemia. Samples of duodenal, ileal and colon contents, pericardial and abdominal fluids, aqueous humor and urine from 15 sheep with experimentally induced enterotoxemia, were analysed for epsilon toxin using a capture ELISA. Epsilon toxin was detected in 92% of the samples of ileal content, 64% of the samples of duodenal content, 57% of the samples of colon content and in 7% of the samples of pericardial fluid and aqueous humor. No epsilon toxin was found in samples of abdominal fluid or urine from the animals with enterotoxemia or in any samples from six clinically healthy sheep used as negative controls. The results of this study indicate that with the diagnostic capture ELISA used, intestinal content (preferably ileum) should be used for C. perfringens type D epsilon toxin detection in suspected cases of sheep enterotoxemia.

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