Effects of Dexamethasone Immunosuppression on Turkey Clostridial Dermatitis

Anil J. Thachil, Daniel P. Shaw, Kakambi V. Nagaraja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Clostridia represents a group of anaerobic spore-forming bacteria ubiquitous in the poultry environment. They are widely distributed in soil and survive for many years as highly resistant, inactive spores. They enter the body through wounds and contaminated feed as active bacteria or spores. Multiplication of clostridial bacteria occurs only in the absence of oxygen or in environments with very low concentrations of oxygen. During active multiplication, the clostridial organisms produce several toxins that are responsible for most of the clinical signs seen in clostridial diseases. Immunosuppression is a problem for the poultry industry. In modern, intensive poultry-rearing conditions, stress due to high population densities pose a considerable challenge for the immune system, and infectious agents can exploit this situation to cause disease. Immunosuppression may predispose Turkeys to clostridial infection, resulting in clostridial dermatitis and mortality. The purpose of this study was to determine whether immunosuppression predisposes Turkeys to clostridial infection and causes clostridial dermatitis. We immunosuppressed 10-wk-old Turkey poults with dexamethasone. The birds immunosuppressed and not immunosuppressed were then challenged with Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium septicum, or both and examined for the development of clostridial dermatitis. The dexamethasone-treated birds were found to be more susceptible to C. perfringens/C. septicum challenge and developed clostridial dermatitis than the no-dexamethasone-treated birds through the subcutaneous route. However, oral inoculation of the same agents did not cause any dermatitis lesions in either of the groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-436
Number of pages4
JournalAvian diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Clostridium septicum
  • Dexamethasone immunosuppression
  • Turkey
  • cellulitis

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