Issue Description Clostridium is a large genus containing
gram-positive bacteria, some of them capable of causing diarrhoea in
dogs. The two most frequent are Clostridium difficile and Clostridium
perfrigens. All Clostridium bacteria are anaerobic (they thrive where
there is no oxygen) and capable of producing endospores.
Symptoms Clostridium Perfringens This is a common bacterium that can be found in
the stool of a large percentage of healthy animals and people. It is a
common cause of "food poisoning" in people, and is probably an
important cause of diarrhea in dogs and cats. Our understanding of the
role of this bacterium in disease in dogs and cats is limited by the
fact that it is found in so many healthy animals, so simply growing it
from the stool of a diarrheic dog or cat does not prove that it is
causing the animal's illness.
Clostridium Difficile This bacterium is a very important cause of
diarrhea (and more severe intestinal disease) in people, and is
possibly an important cause of diarrhea in dogs and cats. It is rarely
found in healthy adult pets, but is relatively common in puppies and
Clostridium Botulinum This bacterium produces the toxin that causes
botulism, a potentially devastating disease that is very rare in dogs
and cats. Botulism usually occurs following ingestion of food that has
been improperly stored, in which C. botulinum has grown and produced
its potent toxins.
Clostridium Tetani This bacterium produces the toxin that causes
tetanus, which can occur in dogs and cats, however these species are
relatively resistant to this disease. Tetanus usually occurs when a
wound becomes contaminated with C. tetani from the soil, followed by
growth of the bacterium and production of potent toxins.
Treatment If the animals chronic diarrhea is caused by C.
perfringens, it can be easily treated with antibiotics. Commonly used
antibiotics include ampicillin, amoxicillin, metronidazole,
erythromycin, and tylosin. Response to the antibiotics can usually be
seen within days of beginning the medication, while the full course of
treatment will typically last for a few weeks. A dog does not need
treatment for C. perfringens if it does not have persistent diarrhea
with no other apparent cause, since excessive administration of
antibiotics will cause the bacterium to develop resistance.