Clostridiun Haemolyticum - Bacilliary Haemogloninuria ‘Red Water’
By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Thursday, 24th August 2023

Clostridium haemolyticum (previously known as Clostridium novyi Type D) has NOT been diagnosed in Angora goats in South Africa.

It is mostly seen in cattle (especially in combination with liver fluke) but also seen in sheep, pigs and horses. 

What are the clinical signs?

  • Cattle often found dead 
  • Fever, abdominal pain
  • Red coloured urine (haemoglobinuria)
  • Icterus (jaundice)
  • Ventral oedema
  • Diarrhoea
  • Laboured breathing

How is the clostridium transmitted and does it cause the symptoms?

Spores in the soil/environment are ingested and remain in the liver until stimulated to germinate. This stimulation is often the presence of liver fluke.

The multiplying clostridium produce a beta toxin which causes haemolysis of reb blood cells (breakdown) resulting in haemoglobinuria/anaemia


Early treatment with pencillin or tetracycline


Vaccination, there are many multiclostridium vaccines with Clostridium haemolyticum cover.

Controling liver fluke.

Post Mortem

  • Red coloured urine
  • Icterus
  • Some ascites, pleural fluid
  • Haemorrhagic intestine content

Diagnosis through isolating the bacteria from the liver/PCR


Infectious diseases of Livestock, Coetzer,Thomson,Tusin

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