Dermatophytosis in Red Pandas (Ailurus fulgens fulgens): A Review of 14 Cases
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 1997
Karen S. Kearns1,3, DVM; Christal G. Pollock2, DVM; Edward C. Ramsay2, DVM, DACZM
1Department of Comparative Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA; 2Department of Comparative Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA; 3Present Address: Columbus Zoo, Powell, OH, USA


Medical records of red pandas (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) housed at the Knoxville Zoo between 1980 and 1996 were reviewed. Cases were included in this report if clinical signs were suggestive of dermatophytosis and if the diagnosis was confirmed by cytology, culture, or histopathology. Parameters analyzed included signalment, clinical signs, etiologic agents, presence of secondary infection, treatment regimens and duration of disease. The median age of affected animals on initial presentation was 8.5 wk (range=3 wk to 11 mo). All but one were <4 mo-old. No gender predilection was noted.

Clinical signs included crusting (n=8), purulent exudate (n=6), alopecia (n=3), thickening of affected skin (n=3), ulceration (n=3), and necrosis (n=3). Seven animals had mild lesions with signs restricted to crusting and/or alopecia and 6 animals had more severe infections, with ulceration, skin necrosis, and purulent exudate indicating presence of secondary bacterial invaders. Lesions occurred on the extremities (n=7), tail (n=6), muzzle (n=4), and ear (n=1), with 6 animals having signs in two or more locations.

Diagnosis of dermatophytosis was confirmed by culture (n=9), cytology (n=1), histopathology (n=2), or culture followed by histopathology (n=2). Microsporum gypseum was the only organism cultured from any fungal culture (n=11).

Of six animals with mild disease (signs restricted to alopecia, crusting, and/or mild inflammation), two received topical therapy alone, one received topical therapy and systemic antibiotics, and three received topical therapy and systemic antifungal therapies. All six animals had full resolution of clinical signs.

Of the six animals with severe lesions, five had tail involvement. Partial tail amputation was required as part of the treatment regimen for two animals, and two others had ulcerated tail lesions which left circumferential scarring following resolution of infection. Three of these animals received topical antibiotic/antifungal therapy and systemic antibiotic therapy. The other three animals received combinations of topical antifungal agents with concurrent systemic antibiotic and/or antifungal therapy.

Although clinical presentation and treatment regimen varied widely among these cases, the most severe lesions appeared on the tail and required partial amputation and/or systemic antifungal therapy.


Speaker Information
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Karen S. Kearns, DVM
Department of Comparative Medicine
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN, USA

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