Blastomycosis in nondomestic felids

J Zoo Wildl Med. 2003 Sep;34(3):231-8. doi: 10.1638/1042-7260(2003)034[0231:BINF]2.0.CO;2.


Blastomycosis was diagnosed in six nondomestic felids from eastern Tennessee, including two Asian lions (Panthera leo persicus), one African lion (Panthera leo), one Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris), one cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), and one snow leopard (Panthera uncia). Clinical signs included lethargy, anorexia, weight loss, dyspnea, sneezing. ataxia, and paresis. Variable nonspecific changes included leukocytosis, monocytosis, moderate left shift of neutrophils, moderate hypercalcemia, hyperproteinemia, and hyperglobulinemia. Thoracic radiographs revealed interstitial and alveolar changes, consolidation or collapse of a lung lobe, bullae formation, and a pulmonary mass. Agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID) serology for Blastomyces dermatitidis was performed in five felids and was positive in three. The tiger had cerebral blastomycosis and was positive for AGID serologic tests of both cerebrospinal fluid and serum. One percutaneous lung aspirate in the snow leopard and one bronchial aspirate in an Asian lion demonstrated B. dermatitidis organisms. whereas tracheal wash samples and a nasal discharge were nondiagnostic in others. Treatment with itraconazole was attempted in four cats. The tiger improved before euthanasia, whereas the others did not survive beyond initial treatments. In four felids, B. dermatitidis was found in the lungs and tracheobronchial lymph nodes associated with a florid pyogranulomatous reaction; the tiger had a pyogranulomatous encephalomyelitis, and the cheetah had a single pulmonary granuloma. Thoracic radiography, cytologic examination of lung lesion aspirates, and B. dermatitidis AGID serology should be performed on clinically ill zoo felids in endemic areas to rule out blastomycosis.

MeSH terms

  • Acinonyx
  • Animals
  • Animals, Zoo
  • Blastomyces / immunology
  • Blastomyces / isolation & purification*
  • Blastomycosis / diagnosis
  • Blastomycosis / microbiology
  • Blastomycosis / pathology
  • Blastomycosis / veterinary*
  • Carnivora / microbiology*
  • Immunodiffusion / veterinary
  • Lions
  • Lung / cytology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Radiography, Thoracic / veterinary