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Clostridial Disease

Clostridial diseases are major pathogens that can be fatal to cattle. Of these bacteria the most common is blackleg, and cattle are most susceptible when they are initially turned out to pasture or when soil has been overturned within the pasture.

Blackleg is a highly fatal disease of cattle caused by the bacterium Clostridium chauvoei. Infection begins when bacterial spores are eaten usually via soil. The bacteria damage the muscle and produce a poison that enters the bloodstream causing a septicaemia and resulting in an animal that rapidly dies.
The disease is most commonly seen in calves between six months and two years of age. Disease is most common in animals that are growing well.

Clinical Signs

Sudden death in an otherwise apparently normal animal
The carcass often bloats and has gas under the skin of affected hindlimbs
Bloody discharge from the nose, mouth and other body openings can also be seen


The above clinical signs
A post mortem is essential to diagnose blackleg.


As the bacteria are present in the soil, preventing access to soil by not grazing freshly sown pastures with youngstock can reduce the risk, but vaccination is really the only effective means of controlling blackleg.
We offer a straight blackleg only vaccine and also a combination vaccine which includes protection against 9 other clostridial diseases.


The vaccine protocol is 2 injections spaced 4-6 weeks apart, with the 2nd injection being 10-14 days prior to the risk period.
In high risk areas we would recommend booster vaccination every 6 – 12 months.

Please contact our vets if you require any more information.