Clostridium perfringens and C. difficile have been associated with acute and chronic large and small bowel diarrhoea, and acute haemorrhagic diarrhoeal syndrome in dogs. The objective of this study was to investigate by toxin gene pro- file and PCR-ribotyping the molecular characteristics of 14 C. perfringens and 10 C. difficile isolates from 95 canine faeces (n = 36, diarrhoeic and n = 59, non-diarrhoeic). Concerning C. perfringens, 13 strains (92.9%) were type A, of which 3 (23.1%) also possessed the beta 2 toxin (CPB2)-encoding gene. One isolate (7.1%) was type D and possessed CPB2 gene. On the whole, 4 of the 14 strains (28.6%) tested cpb2-positive. Six C. difficile isolates (60.0%) demon- strated tcdA+/tcdB+ and cdtA+/cdtB+ genotype and tested positive for, in vitro, toxin production by EIA. Eight distinct ribotypes were observed. In conclusion, the PCR assays may provide useful and reliable tools for C. perfringens and C. difficile molecular typing in routine veterinary diagnostics.
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