Feline sporotrichosis: epidemiological and clinical aspects

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Abstract

Feline sporotrichosis, which is caused by species of the Sporothrix schenckii complex, is endemic to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More than 4000 cases of the disease were diagnosed at Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Brazil, between 1998 and 2012. Sporotrichosis in cats has been reported in several countries, but nowhere has an outbreak of animal sporotrichosis been as large as that seen in Brazil. The clinical manifestations of the disease range from an isolated skin lesion that can progress to multiple skin lesions and even fatal systemic involvement. Nodules and ulcers are the most common types of lesions, and respiratory signs and mucosa involvement are frequent. The definitive diagnosis depends on isolation of the etiologic agent in culture. Cytology, histopathology, and serology are useful tools for preliminary diagnosis. Severe pyogranulomatous inflammatory infiltrate, high fungal load, and extension of lesions to mucosa, cartilage, and bone in the nose of cats are indicative of an agent of high virulence in this endemic region. Itraconazole is the drug of choice, while, in refractory cases, amphotericin B or potassium iodide might be alternative treatments; however, recurrence after discharge may occur. Sporotrichosis persists as a neglected disease in Rio de Janeiro, and the treatment of cats remains a challenging and long-term endeavor.

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