Clostridium perfringens is a bacterium that is widely distributed in the soil and the gastrointestinal tract of animals. It has the ability to produce poisonous substances (toxins) outside of the bacterial cell. Inflammation of the intestines (enteritis) and absorption of toxins (known as enterotoxemia) occur when these poisonous substances are released. Five types of Clostridium perfringens have been identified, but only one, Type A, causes enterotoxemia in dogs. Type A is also associated with a rarely occurring bloody diarrhea in dogs. These organisms are also associated with chronic intermittent diarrhea in dogs but have not been confirmed as the cause.
Clostridium perfringens of an undetermined type have also been shown to multiply in the intestines of dogs with inflammation of the intestines caused by a parvovirus, but its contribution to the disease is not clear.
Last full review/revision July 2011 by Otto M. Radostits, CM, DVM, MSc, DACVIM (Deceased); David A. Ashford, DVM, MPH, DS; Craig E. Greene, DVM, MS; Eugene D. Janzen, DVM, MVS; Bert E. Stromberg, PhD; Max J. Appel, DMV, PhD; Stephen C. Barr, BVSc, MVS, PhD, DACVIM; J. P. Dubey, MVSc, PhD; Paul Ettestad, DVM, MS; Kenneth R. Harkin, DVM, DACVIM; Delores E. Hill, PhD; Johnny D. Hoskins, DVM, PhD; Jodie Low Choy, BVMS; Barton W. Rohrbach, VMD, MPH, DACVPM; J. Glenn Songer, PhD; Joseph Taboada, DVM, DACVIM; Charles O. Thoen, DVM, PhD; John F. Timoney, MVB, PhD, Dsc, MRCVS; Ian Tizard, BVMS, PhD, DACVM