Clostridium Septicum - 'Baarmoedersponssiekte'
By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Thursday, 26th May 2016

Clostridium septicum ‘Baarmoeder sponssiekte’ or ‘uterine gas gangrene’

Clostridium septicum can cause uterine gas gangrene or also called ‘baarmoeder sponssiekte’ in Angora goat ewes.

This malignant oedema is highly fatal and farmers may find an Angora ewe having died within 4 days of kidding – usually on the lands. Ewes with twins are more susceptible than those with single kids.

The bacteria usually enter through lacerations contracted while giving birth. The bacteria produce toxins which causes tissue necrosis.


Angora ewes and their kids on lands


Clinical signs:

Clinical signs are first seen with 1-2 days and ewes die within another 1-2 days after the initial symptoms.

  • Fever, lethargy
  • Straining
  • Dark bloody discharge from vulva in some cases.
  • Vulva and perineum swollen



Based on history and clinical signs.

Confirmation by bacterial culture and identification.


Treatment and control:

Treatment seldom successful but includes high doses of penicillin based antibiotics.

  • Dead ewes should be burnt to destroy spores
  • Vaccinate 4-6 weeks before kidding (if ewes not previously vaccinated then ewes must be vaccinated twice 10 and 4 weeks apart before kidding).

There are multicomponent clostridia vaccinations that can be given to kids from 2 weeks old as well.

(See section on vaccination for options).

  • Castration should be done as aseptically as possible.
  • Shearing sheds should be kept as clean as possible.
  • Spores are very resistant to disinfectants but are killed by exposure to a 3% formalin solution for 30 minutes.




 M. Odendal, N.P Kriek –Infectious diseases o

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