Abortion and mortality in farm mink (Neovison vison) associated with feed-born Clostridium limosum

Anne Sofie Hammer , Lars Andresen, Bent Aalbaek, Peter Damborg, Vilhelm Weiss, Mette Line Christiansen, Søren Selsing, Martin Iain Bahl

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Disease in mink clinically characterized by abortion and increased mortality among pregnant female mink on 28 Danish farms was observed during April and May 2015. Most of these farms suffered extensive disease problems, including a significant increase in the number of mated females without litters. Pathological, microbiological and molecular biological methods were applied to investigate the cause of disease. Necropsies of animals found dead revealed fragile and partially dissolved (liquefying) uterine tissue, with the presence of Gram positive rod-shaped bacteria. These slow growing bacteria were isolated by anaerobic culturing and identified as Clostridium limosum by both MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry analysis and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. All the performed tests for relevant differential diagnoses were negative. Foodborne disease was indicated because all the affected farms were served by the same feed factory. A specific PCR-based analysis was developed for positive identification of C. limosum and used to screen archived feed samples from the implicated feed factory. Both C. limosum 16S rRNA genes and C. limosum collagenase genes were identified in both mixed feed and more specifically in raw chicken carcass used as one of the components in the mixed feed, which was therefore identified as the most likely source of contamination. Based on the results of this investigation it is concluded that C. limosum can be associated with abortion and increased mortality in pregnant mink females and it is consequently recommended that raw materials contaminated with C. limosum should be avoided in mink feed, in particular during the whelping season.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Volume203
Pages (from-to)229-233
Number of pages5
ISSN0378-1135
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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