Vaccination of Turkeys with Clostridium septicum bacterin-toxoid: Evaluation of protection against clostridial dermatitis

Anil J. Thachil, Brian McComb, Michelle Kromm, Kakambi V Nagaraja

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9 Scopus citations


Clostridial dermatitis is an acute disease causing high mortality in turkeys. Both Clostridium septicum and Clostridium perfringens have been isolated from these cases; however, reports from several diagnostic laboratories indicate an increased isolation rate of C. septicum compared with C. perfringens from cases of clostridial dermatitis in recent years. Previous studies suggested C. septicum was more potent than C. perfringens in causing clostridial dermatitis in turkeys. The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate the use of a C. septicum bacterin-toxoid to control clostridial dermatitis in turkeys. A C. septicum bacterin-toxoid was prepared and was initially tested in 6-wk-old commercial turkeys under laboratory conditions for its safety and efficacy. Subsequently, the bacterin-toxoid was evaluated for use in commercial turkey farms with a consistent history of clostridial dermatitis. Birds in the field were vaccinated subcutaneously once at 6 wk of age with C. septicum bacterin-toxoid, and then mortality in both vaccinated and unvaccinated groups was recorded and compared. Blood samples from birds in both groups were examined using ELISA to detect antibody response to the C. septicum toxoid. The C. septicum bacterin-toxoid was found to be safe and to elicit antibodies against the toxoid. In vaccinated commercial turkeys, control of clostridial dermatitis was achieved via antibiotic use and clostridial dermatitis mortality was significantly reduced compared with that of birds in the unvaccinated group. The C. septicum bacterin-toxoid seems to be a valuable tool for the turkey industry to reduce losses due to clostridial dermatitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-219
Number of pages6
JournalAvian diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013


  • Cellulitis
  • Clostridial dermatitis
  • Clostridium septicum
  • Turkey
  • Vaccine


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