Clostridium difficile in neonatal piglets in three Dutch farms.
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Clostridium difficile is a known cause of diarrhea in neonatal piglets. The objective of this study was twofold. The first objective was to determine the sensitivity of the diagnostic procedures used. At three sow herds fecal samples of neonatal piglets suspected from Clostridium difficile- associated diarrhea, and their dams, were tested for both A and B toxins produced by Clostridium difficile. In addition, samples were cultured to isolate Clostridium difficile. Our diagnostic procedures and/or sample handling resulted in probable false negative results. This suspicion arose because in many piglets which showed the typical clinical signs, the bacteria could not be found. Further research is needed to increase sensitivity and of tests used, both isolation of Clostridium difficile and ELISA, for diagnosis of Clostridium difficile in neonatal piglets and to evaluate toxin stability in piglets’ feces. The second objective was to translate hospital protocols to the actual farm situation. How should farmers act when confronted with a Clostridium difficile in their pigs. Under present farm conditions it is difficult to eradicate or minimize Clostridium difficile related disease and further research is needed to design farm procedures.