Protocol for Prevention of Clostridium Enterotoxemia

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  1. Vaccinate pregnant mare 6 weeks and 3 weeks prior to foaling using a vaccine approved for cattle against Clostridium type C and D (horses are affected by Clostridium types A and C, but there is no approved vaccine for horses).
  2. Body bath prior to foaling (especially the udder region). The goal is to remove Clostridium bacteria and spores that the foal may ingest when first attempting to nurse.
  3. Foal out mare in a clean environment. Strip and disinfect stalls between foalings.
  4. Allow foal to nurse from the mare. Evaluate colostrum quality. Monitor foal IgG levels 12 and/or 24 hours after birth. Provide additional IgG as needed.
  5. Administer a dose of Clostridium perfringens antitoxin (orally) after the foal nurses and prior to 4 hours of age. The commercial products contain antibodies against toxins made by Clostridium organisms; some also contain antibodies against E. coli.
  6. Administer GlycoGuard® microbial gel (10 mls, orally) at 4 hours of age and 12 hours of age.
  7. Administer the antibiotic Metronidazole (15 mg/kg, orally) twice daily beginning at 24 hours of age and continue for 5 to 7 days. This antibiotic will kill Clostridium perfringens organisms if any are actually ingested by the foal. It is recommended that this antibiotic not be given to foals younger than 24 hours of age.
  8. Provide other routine preventive medicine techniques as usual (i.e. dip navel, administer enema, check IgG level at 12 hours of age, etc.).
  9. Monitor foal closely for appetite, attitude, body temperature, and fecal output over first 5 to 7 days of life.
  10. Additional treatments including Biosponge® paste, FullBucket® Bioclay paste, or other commercial products for intestinal/digestive health may be indicated.
  11. Foals with clinical disease due to Clostridium enterotoxemia often warrant intensive medical therapy which may include intravenous fluids, systemic antibiotics, and other treatments.