Problem addressed: The frequency of dermatophytes in pet Guinea pigs and rabbits.
Objectives: To determine the frequency and types of dermatophytes in pet Guinea pigs and rabbits.
Methods and approach: First, 2153 samples collected from pet Guinea pigs (n=1132) and rabbits (n=1021) with suspected dermatophytosis and submitted to three different laboratories for fungal culture were analysed. Subsequently, healthy Guinea pigs and rabbits, animals with skin lesions and with noncutaneous diseases were examined prospectively for dermatophytes.
Results: Trichophyton (T.) mentagrophytes was the most common fungal species isolated (91.6% and 72.3% of positive cultures from Guinea pigs (n=431) and rabbits (n=83), respectively). Animals with positive fungal culture did not show any gender predisposition, but affected animals were younger than those with negative fungal culture (P<0.0001) or than healthy animals of the prospective part of the study. Dermatophytes were isolated from 14/164 healthy Guinea pigs and 0/140 healthy rabbits. In addition, fungal cultures of Guinea pigs with skin lesions (n=26) and other diseases (n=25) were positive in 7.7% and 8.0% respectively. Samples collected from 17 rabbits with skin lesions and 32 rabbits with noncutaneous disease were all negative in culture.
Conclusions: T. mentagrophytes is the most common dermatophyte in pet Guinea pigs and rabbits, asymptomatic carriers are regularly seen in Guinea pigs, but not in rabbits.
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