School of Medical and Health Sciences
National Health and Medical Research Council
Clostridioides (Clostridium) difficile presents a significant health risk to humans and animals. The complexity of the bacterial–host interaction affecting pathogenesis and disease development creates an ongoing challenge for epidemiological studies, control strategies and prevention planning. The recent emergence of human disease caused by strains of C. difficile found in animals adds to mounting evidence that C. difficile infection (CDI) may be a zoonosis. In equine populations, C. difficile is a known cause of diarrhoea and gastrointestinal inflammation, with considerable mortality and morbidity. This has a significant impact on both the well-being of the animal and, in the case of performance and production animals, it may have an adverse economic impact on relevant industries. While C. difficile is regularly isolated from horses, many questions remain regarding the impact of asymptomatic carriage as well as optimization of diagnosis, testing and treatment. This review provides an overview of our understanding of equine CDI while also identifying knowledge gaps and the need for a holistic One Health approach to a complicated issue.
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