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Atypical Dermatophytosis in 12 North American Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) from the Northeastern United States 2010–2017

1
New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
2
Animal Health Diagnostic Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
3
Northeast Wildlife Disease Cooperative, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Grafton, MA 01536, USA
4
Center for Wildlife, Cape Neddick, ME 03902, USA
5
Wildlife Clinic, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Grafton, MA 01536, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Drury University, Springfield, MO 65802, USA.
Current address: Indigo Ag, Inc., Boston, MA 02129, USA.
§
Current address: Rollins Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA.
Current address: Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative—Ontario/Nunavut, Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
Current address: Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, New Bolton Center, Kennett Sq., PA 19104, USA.
Pathogens 2019, 8(4), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8040171
Received: 17 August 2019 / Revised: 24 September 2019 / Accepted: 25 September 2019 / Published: 30 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
Twelve wild North American porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) out of a total of 44 of this species examined in an 8-year period were diagnosed with dermatopathies while being cared for at two wildlife rehabilitation clinics. Biopsy and necropsy were performed on seven and five animals, respectively. Atypical dermatophytosis was diagnosed in all cases. Lesions consisted of diffuse severe epidermal hyperkeratosis and mild hyperplasia with mild lymphoplasmacytic dermatitis and no folliculitis. Dermatophytes were noted histologically as hyphae and spores in hair shafts, and follicular and epidermal keratin. Trichophyton sp. was grown in 5/6 animals where culture was performed, with a molecular diagnosis of Arthroderma benhamiae/Trichophyton mentagrophytes in these five cases. Metagenomic analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples from three cases identified fungi from 17 orders in phyla Basidiomycota and Ascomycota. Alteration of therapy from ketaconazole, which was unsuccessful in four out of five early cases, to terbinafine or nitraconazole led to the resolution of disease and recovery to release in four subsequent animals. In all, six animals were euthanized or died due to dermatopathy, no cases resolved spontaneously, and six cases were resolved with therapy. The work we present demonstrates an atypical lesion and anatomical distribution due to dermatophytosis in a series of free-ranging wild porcupines and the successful development of novel techniques for extracting and sequencing nucleic acids from fungus in archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded animal tissue. View Full-Text
Keywords: dermatophyte; porcupine; Erethizon; fungus; metagenomics; fungal genetics; molecular diagnostics dermatophyte; porcupine; Erethizon; fungus; metagenomics; fungal genetics; molecular diagnostics
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Needle, D.B.; Gibson, R.; Hollingshead, N.A.; Sidor, I.F.; Marra, N.J.; Rothenheber, D.; Thachil, A.J.; Stanhope, B.J.; Stevens, B.A.; Ellis, J.C.; Spanswick, S.; Murray, M.; Goodman, L.B. Atypical Dermatophytosis in 12 North American Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) from the Northeastern United States 2010–2017. Pathogens 2019, 8, 171.

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