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an infectious disease of animals caused by various types of toxin-forming bacteria of the genus Clostridium that reproduce intensively in the gastrointestinal tract.
Enterotoxemia occurs in many countries. In the USSR the disease has been found mainly in sheep, especially in Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, and the Caucasus; it occurs less commonly in calves and young hogs. The sources of the causative agent are animals suffering from the disease or those that have recovered from it. The reservoir of the causative agent is soil, in which Clostridium spores may be preserved for a long time. Most species of agricultural animals are susceptible to the causative agent of the disease.
Infection occurs through feed or water. Functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract promote the development of the infectious process. The disease may be ultra-acute, acute, or chronic. In ultra-acute cases the animal dies suddenly or a few hours after sudden disruption of motor coordination and convulsions. Acute cases are marked by loss of appetite and disturbances of the nervous system and digestion (excessive salivation, diarrhea). Chronic cases are also characterized by anemia and jaundice of the mucosa. The mortality rate for the ultra-acute variety of the disease is 95 percent or, sometimes, 100 percent.
Treatment includes the injection of hyperimmune serum and the use of antibiotics. To prevent the spread of the disease, all animals on an infected farm should be inoculated with polyvalent anticlostridium toxoid; the fetuses of pregnant females should be immunized one or two months before birth.
K. R. URGUEV