Objective: The aims of the present paper were to: (i) identify and quantify conjunctival fungi isolated from healthy cows; (ii) verify the influence of different methods of farm management on the prevalence (percentage of positive cultures for each fungal species per farm) of conjunctival fungi.
Material and methods: Forty Friesian and twenty Limousin female cows aged 1-10 years stabled in three farms with different managements (farm 1: cows housed strictly indoors; farm 2: cows housed outside during the day and inside the stall during the night; farm 3: cows housed strictly outdoors) were investigated for conjunctival fungal flora. Air and food were also tested. Specimens were collected every season during a 2-year study. Identification of colonies of filamentous fungi was achieved to the genus level on the basis of macro- and microscopic features.
Results: The total number of eyes positive for fungi ranged from 85 to 100% at farm 1, from 65 to 95% at farm 2, and from 55 to 95% at farm 3. Fungi most frequently isolated from conjunctival fornix were Cladosporium spp. and Penicillium spp. Statistical analysis did not show any differences in fungal prevalences among the three farms during the same season. Some fungal species were consistently isolated while others were intermittently isolated.
Conclusions: Fungi found in the conjunctival fornix of cows might represent transient seeding from the environment, as suspected in other species. The prevalence of conjunctival fungal organisms is not different in cattle housed indoors vs. outdoors.