Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Equine ringworm and minks

Dermatophytosis is a condition caused by an infection of the skin in a variety of mammals such as humans, pets and domesticated animals. It is usually referred to as "ringworm", but this is a misnomer, as the condition is caused by fungal species of the genus Trichophyton and not by parasitic worms. These fungi feed on keratin present in the outer layer of skin, hair, and nails. The probably most well known dermatophytosis is the athlete's foot caused by Trichophyton rubrum or Trichophyton mentagrophytes.

The condition commonly known as equine ringworm starts out with small skin lesions from which the hair is lost. These spread and usually become scurfy. In many cases there may only be a couple of lesions but if left untreated and especially if spread by grooming, the condition can become extensive. The infection is highly contagious and whole groups of horses can become affected in an outbreak. It is possible but uncommon for people to catch Trichophyton equinum from horses:

Reports of dermatophytosis caused by Trichophyton equinum outside of the regular equine host range are rare and limited to dogs and cats, as well as multiple cases of zoonosis of humans who have been in direct contact with infected horses.

The more surprising is its occurrence on some mink from farms in Canada as reported in July

This report details 2 outbreaks of dermatophytosis in 2 different mink ranches. On the first farm, only kits were affected, while on the second farm, small numbers of adults were infected. Affected mink were otherwise clinically healthy and in good body condition.

Researchers cultured the dermatophyte and used DNA Barcoding (ITS) to identify the species. It was identified as Trichophyton equinum. Not only are dermatophytosis infections relatively uncommon in farmed mink, infections are usually caused by different fungal species.

In dealing with an outbreak of dermatophytosis, environmental disinfection and separation of infected animals from noninfected animals is paramount in order to control and limit the spread of the pathogen.Systemic antifungal treatment is recommended to shorten the course of the infection and reduce dissemination to other animals.

Knowing the exact species that caused the infection will allow for a more specific treatment that is likely more efficient.

I cannot resist but suggest that society should seriously think about the need for fur farms in general. Fur clothing might be one of the oldest form of clothing but does a modern society still need that especially if the main reason to wear it comes from the wish to show off ones wealth? I don't think so.

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