1. Black leg is a gangrenous myositis, a muscle infection caused by Clostridium chauveoi; the most common problem.
  2. Malignant oedema or pseudo-black leg is caused by Clostridium novyi and septicum.
  3. Sordelli.


These clostridium ssp. make spores and survive in anaerobic (“suurstof tekort”) conditions, contaminate an area (esp. soil) and remain viable for years.

Critical group:

Usually animals between 10 and 24 months of age are most at risk, with pastured animals at greater risk than housed animals.


Usually animals are found dead with the affected area swollen, cold  and full of air bubbles under the skin.  Sometimes animals are seen with pain in the effected area (causing lameness), fever and depression before death.  Dead animals usually putrefy rapidly.


Glass slides are specially prepared and sent to a laboratory for species identification.


If Clostridial infection is suspected, high doses of penicillins are recommended.


Vaccination, twice in young animals and annually thereafter.  Once species identification has been done, specific vaccination can be done:  Clostridium chauvoei (normal vaccine) or Covexin10 (multiple stains) for example.


Treat all animals in your risk group with normal doses of penicillin and vaccinate them.