Cellulitis has emerged as a major problem in the turkey industry over the last few years. Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium septicum are recognized as the causative agents for cellulitis in turkeys. The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate the use of a bivalent C. perfringens and C. septicum toxoid to control cellulitis in commercial turkeys. A bivalent C. perfringens and C. septicum toxoid was prepared and tested in 6-wk-old commercial turkeys under laboratory conditions for its safety and efficacy. It was then evaluated for its use in 2 commercial turkey farms with a consistent history of cellulitis. The flock consisted of 16,000 birds, of which 8,000 birds were vaccinated and an equal number were kept as unvaccinated controls. The 2 groups were separated by wire mesh. The commercial birds were vaccinated once at 6 wk of age. The mortality in both groups was recorded and compared. Blood samples from birds in both groups were examined to detect the antibody response to C. perfringens and C. septicum toxoid by ELISA. The bivalent toxoid developed was found to be safe and effective. It produced antibodies that appeared protective. With vaccinated commercial turkeys, antibiotic use to control cellulitis was significantly less compared with birds in the unvaccinated group. The use of bivalent C. perfringens and C. septicum toxoid appears to be a valuable tool to reduce losses attributable to cellulitis in the turkey industry.
- Clostridium perfringens
- Clostridium septicum