Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Youtube Play

What are Clostridium perfringens?

Clostridium perfringens

enterotoxicosis in cats is a complex syndrome that causes spontaneous diarrhea in felines. Experts estimate that nearly 15-20 percent of all feline diarrhea cases are Clostridium perfringens related.Clostridium perfringens is a bacterial infection of the intestines with which most cats develop long-term clinical symptoms of diarrhea and clinical signs associated with gastrointestinal disease. Any cat can be affected the bacteria, but Clostridium perfringens is poorly understood, leaving veterinarians unaware of the exact cause for the bacterial overgrowth. Cat owners will notice spontaneous diarrhea lasting from a couple days to a few weeks, which leads to life-threatening dehydration that must be addressed by a veterinary professional. 

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
advertisement image

Clostridium perfringens Average Cost

From 588 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Clostridium perfringens in Cats

Clinical cases ofClostridium perfringens in cats is associated with acute diarrhea lasting for about five to seven days. Chronic cases of Clostridium perfringens in cats, however, is characterized by intermittent episodes of diarrhea recurring about every four to six weeks. A chronic case of this intestinal disease could persist over a month’s time or several years. Common symptoms of a cat affected by Clostridium perfringens includes: 

  • Acute hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (intestinal inflammation paired with blood in the stomach) 
  • Mucus-covered stools 
  • Bright red blood covered stools 
  • Watery stools 
  • Tenesmus (straining to defecate) 
  • Hematochezia (blood upon the passage of a bowel movement) 
  • Flatulence (passing gas) 
  • Vomiting 
  • Abdominal discomfort  
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Clostridium perfringens in Cats

It is unclear whetherClostridium perfringens is a healthy bacterium normally found within the intestine of the feline, which simply overgrows due to certain conditions, or Clostridium perfringens is an infectious bacteria. Researchers have found the Clostridium perfringens widely distributed within the soil, but it is unknown whether the bacteria thrives in the environment or was shed through mammalian feces. Veterinarians have been able to link the bacterial infection to certain conditions, such as stress, which brings experts to believe  Clostridium perfringens is an opportunistic pathogen. A pathogen that is characterized as an opportunistic pathogen does not cause harm to a healthy feline, but can inflict harm if the feline’s immune system becomes unbalanced. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Clostridium perfringens in Cats

Your veterinarian will begin the diagnostic process with a review of your cat’ medical history and a physical examination. In the case of Clostridium perfringens, your feline may appear to have abdominal discomfort upon palpation of the abdomen during the physical examination. The symptoms associated with Clostridium perfringens are rather vague as, intestinal complications can be the clinical sign for a variety of underlying causes. Therefore, your veterinarian will likely discuss any changes in your cat’s diet as well as run a fecal examination to detect the presence of internal parasites. A fecal examination proves ineffective for detecting Clostridium perfringens as only the enterotoxins produced by Clostridium are a true diagnosis of this bacterial infection. Your veterinarian will likely conduct a cell cytology assay and ELISA test on the feline’s blood samples, combined with an anaerobic culture. A PCR test which is used to distinguish strains of non-toxigenic agents from toxigenic strains may also be completed. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Clostridium perfringens in Cats

The majority of feline patients diagnosed withClostridium perfringens are treated as outpatients, but if the feline’s diarrhea has caused severe dehydration, a short hospitalization period may be required to supplement with fluid therapy. All activities will be restricted during your cat’s recovery time and a diet high in fiber will likely be advised. High fiber diets reduce the number of Clostridial bacteria, while acidifying the inner intestine, which will reduce the growth of intestinal bacteria. An antibiotic medication may not be necessary, but chronic cases of Clostridium perfringens in cats may be prescribed antibiotic therapy. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Clostridium perfringens in Cats

The majority of felines respond very well to therapy against Clostridium perfringens, but chronic cases may require long-term control of bacterial growth. Your cat will likely remain on a high fiber diet unless the feline remains stable without dietary changes. A clean and stress-free environment can help to prevent Clostridium perfringens from recurring or overgrowing to a point of causing intestinal disease. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Clostridium perfringens Average Cost

From 588 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

arrow-up-icon

Top

Clostridium perfringens Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Gus

dog-breed-icon

Ragdoll

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Loose Stools
Flatulence
Diarrhea

My 6 month old Ragdoll has had stomach issues ever since we brought her home. Initial tests showed coccidia. This was treated with sulfatrim. Her symptoms improved slightly, but she was put on stomorgyl for 10 days as her stools were still loose. We have been giving her a probiotic throughout this period. A second round of tests were positive for cryptosporidium and clostridium. Vets have now put her on a hydrolyzed diet and metronidazole, which has given her explosive diarrhea! Their recommendation was to just keep giving her the full 10 day course of metronidazole. I'm really not happy with this as it has made her stomach much much worse. What other options are there?

Sept. 14, 2018

Gus' Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

A

dog-breed-icon

Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

4 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Flatulence
Diarrhea

I have two 5 y/o cats (litter mates) who started having loose stools in May. They were first prescribed Metronidazol for a week and it seemed to help a bit, but then loose stools came back. They were put back on metro but it was discontinued after 3 days as it didn't seem to help. One of the kitties improved, but the other didn't so he had fecal PCR panel and came back positive for CPA and CPE (all else was negative). He was then put on Tylan for two weeks and PCR came back negative for CPA/CPE (and all else). The other kitty was also put on Tylan a week after bc her stool got softer as well. Her PCR was slightly positive for CPE (but not medically significant). However, their stools remained soft. Because it wasn't forming their stools, the vet took them off of Tylan, but I just redid their PCR and both are now significantly increased for CPA/CPE. We are now on BOTH metronidazol and tylan! The vet is saying that loose stools are due to the IBD. What are your thoughts? Is that definitely the case or could it be that they have loose stools bc their food intake (calories AND type of food) were drastically changed over a super short period of time in May and changes continued to be made every couple of weeks. What are the chances that loose stools will resolve once food is fully stabilized?

July 7, 2018

A's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

4 Recommendations

It is possible that the food changes are making recovery from the bacterial overgrowth much worse. If you are able to feed them both a gastrointestinal diet for a month or two (there are prescription diets available from your veterinarian), and continue treatment, you may be able to allow the intestines to heal sufficiently to overcome the infection. Continuing the probiotics should help as well.

July 7, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

Clostridium perfringens Average Cost

From 588 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

advertisement image
ask a vet placeholder
Need pet insurance?