Message Number: FHL11848 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2010-07-18 16:14:28 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Clostridium difficle and ferrets (???) (as opposed to Clostridium perfringens)
To: fhl <>, Ferret Mailing List <ferret-l@LISTSERV.FERRETMAILINGLIST.ORG>

This information is from Dr. Bruce Williams
who has discussed it with Dr. Matti Kiupel.
For those who do not know both are leading
ferret veterinary experts (worldwide).

I removed an attached private note, and
attached his full name and the letters of
one of his degrees. I have a standing permission
from Dr. Williams to use this sort of approach
when he replies to health questions on the lists.


Dear Sukie -

Personally, neither of us have seen Clostridium
difficile in ferrets, although it could happen.

Clostridium difficile is a commensal organism
in many animal species which lives very happily
as part of the bacterial flora in the intestine. If
there is a truly significant change in the bacterial
flora, there is a possibility that it could overgrow.
The normal "healthy" bacteria are lowered to an
extent that it allows C. difficile to overgrow. Such
changes usually happen only as a result of prolonged
antibiotic administration at high doses, or in species
in which the incorrect antibiotic is administered.
It can be seen in people on high doses of antibiotics as well.

In my experience the most common event is in rabbits,
hamsters and gerbils which are exquisitely sensitive to
penicillins and the "mycins" (gentamicin, streptomycin, etc).
In this case, only one dose of these anitibiotic can
result in a C. difficile overgrowth.

Recently, there has been a case in ferrets in which
C. difficile toxin has been isolated. It is not uncommon to
find this, but in the absence of the specific pathogenic lesions
associated with C. difficile, it does not establish a diagnosis.
For the diagnosis of C. difficile in any individual to be made,
BOTH the toxin must be isolated, and the lesions associated
with it need to be present.

Bruce Williams DVM


Sukie (not a vet)

Recommended ferret health links:
all ferret topics:

"All hail the procrastinators for they shall rule the world tomorrow."
(2010, Steve Crandall)


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