In vitro and in vivo antifungal activity of some essential oils against feline isolates of Microsporum canis

J Mycol Med. 2012 Jun;22(2):179-84. doi: 10.1016/j.mycmed.2012.04.003. Epub 2012 May 23.


The treatment of dermatophytoses due to Microsporum canis is cumbersome and relapses can occur. Volatile essential oils (EOs) obtained from plants would seem to represent suitable tools to contrast mycoses both in human and animals. The anti-M. canis activity of some EOs chemically characterized was evaluated both in vitro and in vivo. Eleven feline isolates of M. canis were tested by microdilution against EOs extracted from Thymus serpillum, Origanum vulgare, Rosmarinus officinalis, Illicium verum and Citrus limon. A mixture composed by 5% O. vulgare, 5% R. officinalis and 2% T. serpillum, in sweet almond oil was administered to seven infected, symptomatic cats. T. serpillum and O. vulgare showed the lowest MICs, followed by I. verum, R. officinalis and C. limon. The assay performed on mixture showed that antimycotic activity of each component was enhanced. Four out of seven treated cats recovered both clinically and culturally. T. serpillum and O. vulgare EOs showed a strong antifungal activity. Preliminary data suggest a possible application in managing feline microsporiasis. Considering the potential zoonotic impact of this infection, the use of alternative antimycotic compounds would be of aid to limit the risk of environmental spreading of arthrospores.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cat Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cat Diseases / microbiology
  • Cats / microbiology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Dermatomycoses / drug therapy
  • Dermatomycoses / microbiology
  • Dermatomycoses / veterinary*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Itraconazole / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Microsporum / drug effects*
  • Microsporum / isolation & purification
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology
  • Zoonoses


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Itraconazole