Find out about – feline fungal menace Sporotrichosis

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Fungal diseases in your kitty can not only be harmful to your cat, but to you as well. Here’s more on its treatment and prevention.

Dr Indranil Samanta

What is a Sporotrichosis?

It is a common fungal infection of cats caused by Sporothrix schenckii. It is an old fungal disease which was first detected in 1809 (Linck). The infection is highly zoonotic and is often transmitted to their pet parents. Sporothrix schenckii is a dimorphic fungus producing both the
mycelia and yeast forms.

Symptoms…
The primary lesions are small; draining, puncturing type of wounds appear in the head, base of the tail or the legs. With the progression of the infection, the lesions ulcerate and become nodular. Systemic involvement is common and is not associated with immunosuppression.
The systemic involvement may occur in bone, lung, liver, spleen, testes, gastrointestinal  tract and central nervous system.
Causes…
The fungi enter the body of cats through the wound associated with scratches,small injuries, pricks with thorns of plants (like roses).
Harmful to pet parents…
The cats are considered as most potent animals capable of Sporotrichosis transmission into human through bites or scratches. The largest outbreak of human Sporotrichosis due to cat bite or scratches occurred in Brazil (1998-2001).  In humans, the infection causes nodule formation in skin which is painful and nasty in appearance.
Treatment…
For confirmation of Sporotrichosis consultation with your vet along with laboratory examination of the clinical samples such as pus from the deeper part of the lesion, saliva, urine, and blood are required. Only after confirmation, the treatment with potassium iodide (KI) or sodium iodide (NaI) may be followed under the proper guidance of your vet. The compounds have high efficacy with minimal side effects. It is easy to
administer and is relatively low in cost in comparison to the standard antifungals. The KI therapy should be continued for 2-3 months for complete cure.
Prevention…

  • To a v o i d t h e infection, following measures may be adopted:
  • Do not allow yourcat to mix with street cats.
  • Avoid the contact of the cats with rose or any other tree with thorn.
  • The house should be dust free as much as possible.
  • The pet parent should avoid the contact of unknown cats as much as possible.

(Dr Indranil Samanta (MVSc, PhD) works as Assistant Professor in VeterinaryMicrobiology at West Bengal University of Animal & Fishery Sciences, Kolkata.)

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