Objective: To identify and quantify ocular fungi from healthy donkeys living in the center of Italy.
Animals studied: One hundred and two Amiata donkeys were examined.
Procedures: Conjunctival swabs from both eyes were seeded onto Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA) and malt extract agar (MEA), and incubated at 25 degrees C over a 10-day period. Filamentous fungi identification was achieved to the genus level; yeast colonies were identified for macro-micromorphologic and physiological characteristics.
Results: Eighty-one donkeys out of 102 (79.4%) were positive for fungi; 47/102 (46.1%) had positive cultures from both eyes. Most frequently recovered fungal genera were Aspergillus spp., Penicillium spp., Cladosporium spp., Acremonium spp. Different fungal genera and/or species were recovered from the same donkey in 43 cases (42.1%). Yeasts were isolated from five subjects; the yeasts were never associated with molds. The number of colony forming units (CFU) ranged from 1 to 100.
Conclusions: Aspergillus was the most commonly isolated fungal genus (33%). This result agrees with the findings of similar surveys carried out in horses. There was a remarkable presence of fungi and perfect forms. These observations may be explained by the optimal conditions for presence and development of fungi in the conjunctival fornix microenvironment in Amiata donkeys.