Document Type


Publication Date



baby calves, clostridium perfringens, intestinal conditions, bacteria

Extension Number

ExEx 11022


Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences


Illnesses and death losses in baby calves are significant problems for producers raising calves in beef or dairy operations. Several of these issues, especially sudden deaths and certain enteric (intestinal) conditions, are potential effects of infections due to Clostridium perfringens. Clostridium perfringens are Gram-positive, spore-forming, anaerobic bacteria that are very commonly found in many environments, including soil, water, poorly preserved feeds, contaminated or improperly thawed colostrum or milk, calf-housing environments, and the normal bovine intestinal tract. In small amounts, these bacteria are generally harmless in the intestine, but under the right conditions they may grow and proliferate, resulting in enterotoxemia, a condition in which specific toxins produced by the bacteria in the small intestine result in both local damage and systemic (whole body) effects.