Fungal infections

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Microsporum gypseum
Microsporum spp fungal infection in the scruff of a British queen secondary to mating. Courtesy Dr Jim Euclid
Paronychia in a 5-month-old Devon rex with chronic paronychia and otitis externa due to Malassezia spp infection. Courtesy Dr Jim Euclid

Funguses commonly cause superficial skin diseases in cats but are responsible for severe and often fatal systemic infections. The most common and least pathogenic fungus which affects cats is Microsporum canis, causing Ringworm.

Other fungi are cultured included Aspergillus spp, Penicillium spp, Cladosporium spp, Scopulariopsis spp and lipophilic yeasts of the genus Malassezia spp. Paronychia is usually caused by Malassezia spp yeast.

Cats infected with FIV or FeLV may have a greater diversity of cutaneous and mucosal mycoflora than noninfected cats. However, infected cats may be no more likely than noninfected cats to expose humans to zoonotic fungi such as Cryptococcus spp and Microsporum spp. A greater diversity of fungal genera was isolated from retrovirus-infected cats, and Malassezia spp were more commonly recovered from these cats, compared with noninfected cats[1].

Antifungal therapy must address the causative organism, the organ(s) involved and the susceptibility of the fungus to the particular drug chosen.

Species relevant to feline medicine Disease
Aphanoascus fulvescens commensal, nonpathogenic
Aspergillus spp naso-orbital abscesses
Blastomyces dermatitidis systemic
Candida spp vaginitis
Coccidioides spp systemic
Colletotrichum spp local skin lesions
Cryptococcus spp cryptococcosis
Chrysosporium parvum keratinolytic
Cyniclomyces guttulatus diarrhea[2], cholecystitis
Cytauxzoon felis systemic
Encephalitozoon spp meningitis
Histoplasma spp systemic
Microsphaeropsis spp skin lesions
Microsporidium spp systemic
Microsporum spp ringworm
Malassezia spp otitis externa, paronychia
Mucor amphibiorum nasal nodules, meningitis
Penicillium spp naso-orbital abscesses
Phialophora spp phaeohyphomycosis
Prototheca spp rhinitis
Pythium spp naso-orbital abscesses
Rhinosporidium spp tumour-like growths resembling nasopharyngeal polyps
Scopulariopsis spp systemic
Trichophyton mentagrophytes ringworm
Sporothrix spp systemic
Trichosporon spp rhinitis

Dematiaceous fungi that cause feline phaeohyphomycosis

Alternaria spp Paecilomyces spp
Aureobasidium spp Phialophora spp
Bipolaris (Dreshlera) spp Philemonium obovatum
Cladophialophora bantiana Pseudallescheria boydii
Cladosporium spp Pseudomicrodochium suttonii
Curvularia spp Ramichloridium mackenziei
Dactylaria spp Scedosporium prolificans
Exophiala spp Scolecobasidium humicola
Exserohilum spp Scytalidium dimidiatum
Fonsecea pedrosoi Staphylotrichum coccosporum
Madurella spp Stemphylium spp
Microsphaeropsis spp Wangiella dermatidis
Moniliella suaveolens
Ocnroconis gallopavum

Subcutaneous mycoses in cats which result in nodule formation frequently contain[3]:

Antifungal drugs safe to use in cats


  1. August, JR (2006) Consultations in Feline Internal Medicine, Vol 5. Elsevier Saunders
  2. Peters S & Houwers DJ (2009) A cat with diarrhoea associated with the massive presence of Cyniclomyces guttulatus in the faeces. Tijdschr Diergeneeskd 134(5):198-199
  3. Bernhardt A et al (2014) Molecular identification of fungal pathogens in nodular skin lesions of cats. Med Mycol Dec 30. pii: myu082