Degree Type

Creative Component

Semester of Graduation

Summer 2021


Biomedical Sciences

First Major Professor

Dr. Eric Rowe


Master of Science (MS)


Animal Science


Originally documented in 1978, Clostridium difficile has been recognized as a major issue causing enterotyphlocolitis, mesocolon edema, and neonatal necrotizing colitis in neonatal piglets. However, C. difficile is not only detrimental to pigs. This pathogen has been known to cause antibiotic-associated diarrhea and pseudomembranous colitis in humans. It is classified as a bacterium and is capable of forming resilient spores. In both humans and pigs, these spores can withstand extreme environments. When these spores are ingested, they germinate in the large intestines. Clostridium difficile normally lives in the microflora of the gut harmlessly, but toxins can help to form disease and infection. CDI, or Clostridium difficile infections, are the combination of Toxin A (TcdA) and Toxin B (TcdB) along with C. difficile. It is likely that a third toxin, ADP-ribosylating toxin (CDTa), also plays a role in CDI. In affected swine, these toxins are produced at a rate that gives them the capabilities to cause disease and damage to the colon. Clostridium difficile’s ability to cause disease, at this point, is still ongoing research. This overview presents findings, in both humans and pigs, from these studies.


An overview of Clostridium difficile in neonatal piglets and humans.

Copyright Owner

Alek Goll

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