Dog ate chocolate?

ask a vet

Is clostridium zoonotic?

Species: Other
Breed: Whitetail deer
Age: Less than 3 mon
Clostridium Type A has been known to cause sudden death in healthy deer but it has been previously sporadic and not very common. Humans are also susceptible to this disease too as I understand. My brother has lost about 70 deer in the last week to this disorder and we are currently caring for about 50 fawns by bottle feeding and as required wiping them to stimulate bowel movements. Can this disorder be passed from sick fawns to the treating humans?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thank you for an interesting question. I have to preface my answer by saying that I primarily work with dogs, cats and pocket pets. Deer are definitely not my area of expertise. Still, I was able to do some research for you.

There are different types of Clostridium. You can have Clostridium perfringens or Clostridium difficile. And then each of these can have subtypes, one of which is "A".

I found this article that talked about whether or not clostridium is contagious to people.. The article starts off by saying that in most cases, clostridium is not zoonotic (i.e. it is not contagious). But, some types of clostridium that produce something called enterotoxins can be contagious to people. Clostridium perfringens CAN produce enterotoxins. It appears from reading this article though that when it is transmitted to humans it is from eating the deer meat. It doesn't appear that handling the deer or their bowel movements is dangerous to people. (Still, it's a good idea to keep up good hygiene.)


I found a reference on Veterinary Information Network where vets were discussing whether a dog with Clostridium Perfringens A (alpha toxin) was contagious to people. A specialist answered the question saying that we still don't know for sure whether this type of clostridium is contagious from animals to people but that the general consensus was that there probably isn't any danger.

I also found reference to Clostridium difficile type A in horses but the only concern for transmission to humans was again, if the meat was being eaten.

I think that the best thing your brother can do is speak to his doctor about this question. Or, another possibility is to contact your local public health department and they can tell you what the risk is.

From what I have read, it appears that the risk is low.

Hope that helps and I hope that the deer all recover soon!

Dr. Marie.


Do you have a pet website? Interested in learning more about SEO for Wix?


Check out our dog age calculator and cat age calculator.

Want to receive pet coupons, vet advice and info on new pet products in your inbox?

* indicates required

We'll only send you great stuff, never spam. Unsubscribe any time.

Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Search for similar questions:

ask a vet

Popular questions...

Incontinence she will be lying on the floor and she just pees and does not know or realize she... (8564 views)

How to calm down hyper dog. We adopted Samson a year ago from the local shelter. He has been a great pet, highly... (10230 views)

10 month puppy with heartworm. I am considering adopting a 10 month old puppy from the SPCA and was told he was... (12182 views)

Cyst on dog? My toy rat terrier chiuaua mix has a clear bumpy thing on her side just below her... (7121 views)

Diarrhea and then death. My question is about the death of our Daisy Mae. We are staying in South Padre... (37375 views)

Skin infection is back. Hello Doctor, My dog has had open sores on his ears, neck and back. They start as... (8203 views)

Blood in poop. Hi There, I found a few drops of blood last night in and near my puppies poo. Not... (54010 views)

Sugar is second ingredient. I ordered dog food online two days ago and just now realized the second ingredient... (4429 views)

Pit bull with pink skin. I have a pit bull that is black and white in color. Actually he is predominately... (41253 views)

Can a dog adapt to a new home? Hello, thanks for taking the time to review my question. Ok, here it goes...The... (7832 views)

See all questions...

Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.