What is it?
Enterotoxaemia or pulpy kidney is a common and fatal disease of sheep and cattle. It is caused by the toxin of the bacterium Clostridium perfringens (Type-D) when it is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
The bacteria that cause enterotoxaemia normally exist in small numbers in the gut of healthy animals. The disease develops when the environment in the intestine favours bacterial growth and bacterial numbers increase dramatically with a large increase in toxin production. This can be caused by increased feed intake, new or better pasture, dramatic change in diet, or the introduction of grain based diets.
It is difficult to diagnose pulpy kidney as death is often the only clinical sign and it is often confused with bloat.
How do we prevent it?
Prevention can be achieved through careful management of the animal’s diet, together with a comprehensive vaccination program (Ultravac® 7in1). Immunity to pulpy kidney after vaccination lasts around 3-4 months, so boosters may be required when a sudden change in diet is anticipated.
Stabler and Howlett would like to thank our partners at Zoetis for their assistance in compiling this post. We recommend and sell the Zoetis range of cattle vaccines.