Fungal Diseases in Animals, 2nd Edition

A special issue of Journal of Fungi (ISSN 2309-608X). This special issue belongs to the section "Fungal Pathogenesis and Disease Control".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 13893

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Veterinary fungal diseases have been neglected over the years, despite their spread across the world involving several classes of animals. Mycoses and mycotoxicoses are the main fungal affections found in animals.

Animal mycoses impact animal welfare as well on human health when zoonotic agents, such as dermatophytes and Sporothrix spp., are involved.  In food-producing species, organisms such as aspergilli, Nosema spp., Saprolegnia spp., and Prototheca spp. can be responsible for heavy economic losses. Furthermore, several emerging pathogens (e.g., Capronia in mussels, Nannizziopsaceae in reptiles,  Batrachochytrium spp. In amphibians, Geomyces destructans in Chiroptera)  represent a threat and drive the decline of animal populations.

Mycotoxicoses, caused by secondary toxic fungal metabolites, can impact animal health when acute disease occurs or may accumulate in the food chain, inducing pathologic disorders in humans.

This Special Issue will be devoted to studies including all the aspects of animal fungal infections, with a particular emphasis to etiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis diagnosis, control, and treatment of diseases they can induce. Experimental studies, as well as case reports and review papers, will be welcome.

Prof. Dr. Francesca Mancianti
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • mycoses
  • mycotoxicoses
  • fungal zoonoses
  • fungi
  • molds
  • yeasts
  • dimorphic fungi
  • microsporidia
  • algae
  • oomycetes

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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18 pages, 1222 KiB  
Article
Chromogenic, Biochemical and Proteomic Identification of Yeast and Yeast-like Microorganisms Isolated from Clinical Samples from Animals of Costa Rica
by Alejandra Calderón-Hernández, Nelly Castro-Bonilla and Mariamalia Cob-Delgado
J. Fungi 2024, 10(3), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof10030218 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1352
Abstract
Yeast infections are challenging human and animal medicine due to low rates of detection and the emergence of unknown ecology isolates. The aim of this study was to verify the biochemical identification of yeasts and yeast-like microorganisms obtained from animals comparing the results [...] Read more.
Yeast infections are challenging human and animal medicine due to low rates of detection and the emergence of unknown ecology isolates. The aim of this study was to verify the biochemical identification of yeasts and yeast-like microorganisms obtained from animals comparing the results with chromogenic media and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF MS). Between January and August 2023, yeast and yeast-like isolates from samples of animals with suspicion of mycosis were identified using Vitek® 2 Compact, Brilliance® Candida Agar and MALDI Biotyper® MSP. A total of 39 cases were included, and 45 isolations were obtained. Cryptococcus neoformans (15.5%, 7/45), Meyerozyma guilliermondii (13.3%, 6/45), Candida parapsilosis (11.1%, 5/45), Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis (8.9%, each one 4/45) were the most identified organisms. There was full agreement with the three identification methods in 71.1% (32/45) of the isolates, disagreement on species in 17.8% (8/45), disagreement on genus and species in 6.7% (3/45) and, in 4.4% (2/45), there was no matched pattern in MALDI-TOF to compare the results. Biochemical methods are a good option in laboratories where proteomics are not available, and chromogenic media enhances diagnostics by detecting mixed infections. Surveillance must be implemented to improve the detection of agents shared between humans and animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diseases in Animals, 2nd Edition)
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16 pages, 2580 KiB  
Article
Snake Fungal Disease in Free-Ranging Northern Pine Snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus) in New Jersey: Lesions, Severity of Sores and Investigator’s Perceptions
by Joanna Burger, Christian Jeitner, Robert T. Zappalorti, John F. Bunnell, Kelly Ng, Emile DeVito, David Schneider and Michael Gochfeld
J. Fungi 2024, 10(2), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof10020125 - 03 Feb 2024
Viewed by 967
Abstract
Ophidiomyces ophidiicola, the fungus causing snake fungal disease (SFD), has been identified in northern pine snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus) in New Jersey. In this paper, we (1) review the positivity rate of SFD on different locations on snakes’ bodies, (2) determine [...] Read more.
Ophidiomyces ophidiicola, the fungus causing snake fungal disease (SFD), has been identified in northern pine snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus) in New Jersey. In this paper, we (1) review the positivity rate of SFD on different locations on snakes’ bodies, (2) determine the relationship between the sores and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) positivity rates, and (3) explore the relationship between the investigators’ clinical evaluation of the severity of sores, their evaluation of the likelihood of the sores being positive, and the qPCR positivity of SFD for the sores. Swabbing the sores was more effective at determining whether the snakes tested positive for O. ophidiicola than ventrum swabbing alone. The perception of the severity of the sores did not relate to qPCR positivity for O. ophidiicola. We suggest that the assessment of the rate of SFD among snakes in the wild needs to include the sampling of snakes with no clinical signs, as well as those with sores, and the swabbing of all the sores collectively. Clear terminology for sores, the identification of clinical signs of SFD, and distinguishing the rates of O. ophidiicola by PCR testing should be adopted. Overall, the pine snakes exhibited a higher rate of sores and positivity of O. ophidiicola swabs by PCR testing compared to the other snakes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diseases in Animals, 2nd Edition)
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17 pages, 4180 KiB  
Article
Stochastic Processes Derive Gut Fungi Community Assembly of Plateau Pikas (Ochotona curzoniae) along Altitudinal Gradients across Warm and Cold Seasons
by Xianjiang Tang, Liangzhi Zhang, Shien Ren, Yaqi Zhao, Kai Liu and Yanming Zhang
J. Fungi 2023, 9(10), 1032; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9101032 - 20 Oct 2023
Viewed by 871
Abstract
Although fungi occupy only a small proportion of the microbial community in the intestinal tract of mammals, they play important roles in host fat accumulation, nutrition metabolism, metabolic health, and immune development. Here, we investigated the dynamics and assembly of gut fungal communities [...] Read more.
Although fungi occupy only a small proportion of the microbial community in the intestinal tract of mammals, they play important roles in host fat accumulation, nutrition metabolism, metabolic health, and immune development. Here, we investigated the dynamics and assembly of gut fungal communities in plateau pikas inhabiting six altitudinal gradients across warm and cold seasons. We found that the relative abundances of Podospora and Sporormiella significantly decreased with altitudinal gradients in the warm season, whereas the relative abundance of Sarocladium significantly increased. Alpha diversity significantly decreased with increasing altitudinal gradient in the warm and cold seasons. Distance-decay analysis showed that fungal community similarities were significantly and negatively correlated with elevation. The co-occurrence network complexity significantly decreased along the altitudinal gradients as the total number of nodes, number of edges, and degree of nodes significantly decreased. Both the null and neutral model analyses showed that stochastic or neutral processes dominated the gut fungal community assembly in both seasons and that ecological drift was the main ecological process explaining the variation in the gut fungal community across different plateau pikas. Homogeneous selection played a weak role in structuring gut fungal community assembly during the warm season. Collectively, these results expand our understanding of the distribution patterns of gut fungal communities and elucidate the mechanisms that maintain fungal diversity in the gut ecosystems of small mammals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diseases in Animals, 2nd Edition)
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11 pages, 2138 KiB  
Article
Phase-Dependent Differential In Vitro and Ex Vivo Susceptibility of Aspergillus flavus and Fusarium keratoplasticum to Azole Antifungals
by Darby Roberts, Jacklyn Salmon, Marc A. Cubeta and Brian C. Gilger
J. Fungi 2023, 9(10), 966; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9100966 - 26 Sep 2023
Viewed by 663
Abstract
Fungal keratitis (FK) is an invasive infection of the cornea primarily associated with Aspergillus and Fusarium species. FK is treated empirically with a limited selection of topical antifungals with varying levels of success. Though clinical infections are typically characterized by a dense network [...] Read more.
Fungal keratitis (FK) is an invasive infection of the cornea primarily associated with Aspergillus and Fusarium species. FK is treated empirically with a limited selection of topical antifungals with varying levels of success. Though clinical infections are typically characterized by a dense network of mature mycelium, traditional models used to test antifungal susceptibility of FK isolates exclusively evaluate susceptibility in fungal cultures derived from asexual spores known as conidia. The purpose of this study was to characterize differences in fungal response when topical antifungal treatment is initiated at progressive phases of fungal development. We compared the efficacy of voriconazole and luliconazole against in vitro cultures of A. flavus and F. keratoplasticum at 0, 24, and 48 h of fungal development. A porcine cadaver corneal model was used to compare antifungal efficacy of voriconazole and luliconazole in ex vivo tissue cultures of A. flavus and F. keratoplasticum at 0, 24, and 48 h of fungal development. Our results demonstrate phase-dependent susceptibility of both A. flavus and F. keratoplasticum to both azoles in vitro as well as ex vivo. We conclude that traditional antifungal susceptibility testing with conidial suspensions does not correlate with fungal susceptibility in cultures of a more advanced developmental phase. A revised method of antifungal susceptibility testing that evaluates hyphal susceptibility may better predict fungal response in the clinical setting where treatment is often delayed until days after the initial insult. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diseases in Animals, 2nd Edition)
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16 pages, 610 KiB  
Article
Fungi’s Swiss Army Knife: Pleiotropic Effect of Melanin in Fungal Pathogenesis during Cattle Mycosis
by Víctor Romero, Carolina Kalinhoff, Luis Rodrigo Saa and Aminael Sánchez
J. Fungi 2023, 9(9), 929; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9090929 - 15 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1388
Abstract
Fungal threats to public health, food security, and biodiversity have escalated, with a significant rise in mycosis cases globally. Around 300 million people suffer from severe fungal diseases annually, while one-third of food crops are decimated by fungi. Vertebrate, including livestock, are also [...] Read more.
Fungal threats to public health, food security, and biodiversity have escalated, with a significant rise in mycosis cases globally. Around 300 million people suffer from severe fungal diseases annually, while one-third of food crops are decimated by fungi. Vertebrate, including livestock, are also affected. Our limited understanding of fungal virulence mechanisms hampers our ability to prevent and treat cattle mycoses. Here we aim to bridge knowledge gaps in fungal virulence factors and the role of melanin in evading bovine immune responses. We investigate mycosis in bovines employing a PRISMA-based methodology, bioinformatics, and data mining techniques. Our analysis identified 107 fungal species causing mycoses, primarily within the Ascomycota division. Candida, Aspergillus, Malassezia, and Trichophyton were the most prevalent genera. Of these pathogens, 25% produce melanin. Further research is required to explore the involvement of melanin and develop intervention strategies. While the literature on melanin-mediated fungal evasion mechanisms in cattle is lacking, we successfully evaluated the transferability of immunological mechanisms from other model mammals through homology. Bioinformatics enables knowledge transfer and enhances our understanding of mycosis in cattle. This synthesis fills critical information gaps and paves the way for proposing biotechnological strategies to mitigate the impact of mycoses in cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diseases in Animals, 2nd Edition)
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13 pages, 3953 KiB  
Article
Ecological Barriers for an Amphibian Pathogen: A Narrow Ecological Niche for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in an Asian Chytrid Hotspot
by Dan Sun, Gajaba Ellepola, Jayampathi Herath and Madhava Meegaskumbura
J. Fungi 2023, 9(9), 911; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9090911 - 08 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2022
Abstract
The chytrid fungal pathogens Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) and B. dendrobatidis (Bd) are driving amphibian extinctions and population declines worldwide. As their origins are believed to be in East/Southeast Asia, this region is crucial for understanding their ecology. However, Bsal [...] Read more.
The chytrid fungal pathogens Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) and B. dendrobatidis (Bd) are driving amphibian extinctions and population declines worldwide. As their origins are believed to be in East/Southeast Asia, this region is crucial for understanding their ecology. However, Bsal screening is relatively limited in this region, particularly in hotspots where Bd lineage diversity is high. To address this gap, we conducted an extensive Bsal screening involving 1101 individuals from 36 amphibian species, spanning 17 natural locations and four captive facilities in the biodiversity-rich Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GAR). Our PCR assays yielded unexpected results, revealing the complete absence of Bsal in all tested samples including 51 individuals with Bd presence. To understand the potential distribution of Bsal, we created niche models, utilizing existing occurrence records from both Asia and Europe. These models estimated potential suitable habitats for Bsal largely in the northern and southwestern parts of the GAR. Although Bsal was absent in our samples, the niche models identified 10 study sites as being potentially suitable for this pathogen. Interestingly, out of these 10 sites, Bd was detected at 8. This suggests that Bsal and Bd could possibly co-exist in these habitats, if Bsal were present. Several factors seem to influence the distribution of Bsal in Asia, including variations in temperature, local caudate species diversity, elevation, and human population density. However, it is climate-related factors that hold the greatest significance, accounting for a notable 60% contribution. The models propose that the specific climatic conditions of arid regions, primarily seen in the GAR, play a major role in the distribution of Bsal. Considering the increased pathogenicity of Bsal at stable and cooler temperatures (10–15 °C), species-dependent variations, and the potential for seasonal Bd-Bsal interactions, we emphasize the importance of periodic monitoring for Bsal within its projected range in the GAR. Our study provides deeper insights into Bsal’s ecological niche and the knowledge generated will facilitate conservation efforts in amphibian populations devastated by chytrid pathogens across other regions of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diseases in Animals, 2nd Edition)
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18 pages, 6889 KiB  
Article
Modeling the Distribution of the Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis with Special Reference to Ukraine
by Volodymyr Tytar, Oksana Nekrasova, Mihails Pupins, Arturs Skute, Muza Kirjušina, Evita Gravele, Ligita Mezaraupe, Oleksii Marushchak, Andris Čeirāns, Iryna Kozynenko and Alena A. Kulikova
J. Fungi 2023, 9(6), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9060607 - 25 May 2023
Viewed by 1576
Abstract
Amphibians are the most threatened group of vertebrates. While habitat loss poses the greatest threat to amphibians, a spreading fungal disease caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Longcore, Pessier & D.K. Nichols 1999 (Bd) is seriously affecting an increasing number of species. Although Bd is [...] Read more.
Amphibians are the most threatened group of vertebrates. While habitat loss poses the greatest threat to amphibians, a spreading fungal disease caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Longcore, Pessier & D.K. Nichols 1999 (Bd) is seriously affecting an increasing number of species. Although Bd is widely prevalent, there are identifiable heterogeneities in the pathogen’s distribution that are linked to environmental parameters. Our objective was to identify conditions that affect the geographic distribution of this pathogen using species distribution models (SDMs) with a special focus on Eastern Europe. SDMs can help identify hotspots for future outbreaks of Bd but perhaps more importantly identify locations that may be environmental refuges (“coldspots”) from infection. In general, climate is considered a major factor driving amphibian disease dynamics, but temperature in particular has received increased attention. Here, 42 environmental raster layers containing data on climate, soil, and human impact were used. The mean annual temperature range (or ‘continentality’) was found to have the strongest constraint on the geographic distribution of this pathogen. The modeling allowed to distinguish presumable locations that may be environmental refuges from infection and set up a framework to guide future search (sampling) of chytridiomycosis in Eastern Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diseases in Animals, 2nd Edition)
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Review

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18 pages, 366 KiB  
Review
The Ecology of Non-Candida Yeasts and Dimorphic Fungi in Cetaceans: From Pathogenicity to Environmental and Global Health Implications
by Victor Garcia-Bustos, Begoña Acosta-Hernández, Marta Dafne Cabañero-Navalón, Javier Pemán, Alba Cecilia Ruiz-Gaitán and Inmaculada Rosario Medina
J. Fungi 2024, 10(2), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof10020111 - 29 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1215
Abstract
Cetaceans, which are integral to marine ecosystems, face escalating anthropogenic threats, including climate change and pollution, positioning them as critical sentinel species for ocean and human health. This review explores the neglected realm of non-Candida yeasts in cetaceans, addressing the gaps in [...] Read more.
Cetaceans, which are integral to marine ecosystems, face escalating anthropogenic threats, including climate change and pollution, positioning them as critical sentinel species for ocean and human health. This review explores the neglected realm of non-Candida yeasts in cetaceans, addressing the gaps in the understanding of their prevalence, pathogenicity, and environmental impacts. By examining identified species such as Cryptococcus spp., Paracoccidioides spp., and several dimorphic fungi, this review emphasizes global prevalence, epidemiology and ecology, pathogenicity, and potential zoonotic implications. It also discusses the fine line between yeast commensalism and pathogenicity by considering environmental influences such as pollution, climate shifts, and immune suppression. Environmental impact discussions delve into how rising ocean temperatures and pollution can modify yeast mycobiota, potentially affecting marine host health and broader ecosystem dynamics. The cetacean’s unique physiology and ecological niches are considered, highlighting potential impacts on behaviors, reproductive success, and survival rates. Identifying crucial knowledge gaps, the review calls for intensified research efforts, employing advanced molecular techniques to unravel the cetacean mycobiome. Systematic studies on yeast diversity, antifungal susceptibility, and their influence on environmental and ecosystem health are proposed, and the balance between commensal and pathogenic species emphasizes the significance of the One Health approach. In conclusion, as marine mammals face unprecedented challenges, unveiling non-Candida yeasts in cetaceans emerges as a critical endeavor with far-reaching implications for the conservation of marine ecosystems and for both animal and human public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diseases in Animals, 2nd Edition)
11 pages, 922 KiB  
Review
Hedgehog Dermatophytosis: Understanding Trichophyton erinacei Infection in Pet Hedgehogs and Its Implications for Human Health
by Lucia Kottferová, Ladislav Molnár, Peter Major, Edina Sesztáková, Katarína Kuzyšinová, Vladimír Vrabec and Jana Kottferová
J. Fungi 2023, 9(12), 1132; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9121132 - 24 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1240
Abstract
Pet hedgehogs, which are increasingly favoured companions, have garnered attention due to their potential as carriers of zoonotic diseases. These small insectivorous mammals, native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, are commonly kept as pets. The encroachment of humans into hedgehog habitats has brought [...] Read more.
Pet hedgehogs, which are increasingly favoured companions, have garnered attention due to their potential as carriers of zoonotic diseases. These small insectivorous mammals, native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, are commonly kept as pets. The encroachment of humans into hedgehog habitats has brought these animals closer to people, raising concerns about disease transmission. This article reviews the current knowledge regarding zoonotic disease associated with pet hedgehogs, with a particular focus on mycotic infections caused by Trichophyton erinacei. Data from various regions and hedgehog species are synthesised to assess the significance of pet hedgehogs as potential reservoirs and transmitters of zoonotic pathogens. Our study highlights the importance of understanding the health risks associated with pet hedgehogs and underscores the need for continued research to mitigate zoonotic disease transmission from these potentially disease-carrying companions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diseases in Animals, 2nd Edition)
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9 pages, 1179 KiB  
Review
The Pathogenic Yeast Metschnikowia bicuspidata var. bicuspidata in the Aquacultured Ecosystem and Its Biocontrol
by Khalef Hansali, Zhao-Rui Zhang, Guang-Lei Liu, Zhe Chi and Zhen-Ming Chi
J. Fungi 2023, 9(10), 1024; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9101024 - 18 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1184
Abstract
M. bicuspidata var. bicuspidata is a pathogenic yeast which can affect aquacultured and marine-cultured animals such as brine shrimp, ridgetail white prawn, chinook salmon, giant freshwater prawn, the Chinese mitten crab, marine crab, the mud crab, the mangrove land crab, the Chinese grass [...] Read more.
M. bicuspidata var. bicuspidata is a pathogenic yeast which can affect aquacultured and marine-cultured animals such as brine shrimp, ridgetail white prawn, chinook salmon, giant freshwater prawn, the Chinese mitten crab, marine crab, the mud crab, the mangrove land crab, the Chinese grass shrimp, sea urchins, sea urchins, Daphnia dentifera and even snails, causing a milky disease, and it has caused big economic losses in aquacultural and marine-cultural industries in the past. However, the detailed mechanisms and the reasons for the milky disease in the diseased aquatic animals are still completely unknown. So far, only some antimycotics, killer toxins and Massoia lactone haven been found to be able to actively control and kill its growth. The ecofriendly, green and renewable killer toxins and Massoia lactone have high potential for application in controlling the milky disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diseases in Animals, 2nd Edition)
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Other

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8 pages, 1826 KiB  
Case Report
Systemic Candida Infection and Pulmonary Aspergillosis in an Alpaca (Vicugna pacos): A Case Report
by Andrea Grassi, Claudia Cafarchia, Nicola Decaro, Wafa Rhimi, Vittoriana De Laurentiis, Giulia D’Annunzio, Andrea Luppi and Paola Prati
J. Fungi 2024, 10(3), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof10030227 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 673
Abstract
This study reports a peculiar case of systemic candidiasis infection associated with pulmonary aspergillosis in an apparently immunocompetent alpaca. A captive 7-year-old female alpaca exhibited respiratory symptoms, underwent treatment with benzylpenicillin and dexamethasone, and succumbed to the infection 40 days later. During the [...] Read more.
This study reports a peculiar case of systemic candidiasis infection associated with pulmonary aspergillosis in an apparently immunocompetent alpaca. A captive 7-year-old female alpaca exhibited respiratory symptoms, underwent treatment with benzylpenicillin and dexamethasone, and succumbed to the infection 40 days later. During the post-mortem examination, subcutaneous emphysema, widespread pneumonia with multiple suppurative foci, scattered necro-suppurative lesions throughout the renal and hepatic parenchyma were evident. Histopathological analysis of the collected tissues revealed multifocal mild lymphoplasmacytic chronic interstitial nephritis, necro-suppurative pneumonia with the presence of fungal hyphae, multifocal foci of mineralization, and fibrosis in the liver. Fungal cultures confirmed the growth of Aspergillus fumigatus from the lungs, and Candida albicans from the liver, kidney, and heart. The only recognizable risk factor for candidiasis and pulmonary aspergillosis in this case was prior corticosteroid and antibiotic therapy. Nevertheless, it is crucial to consider systemic candidosis and pulmonary aspergillosis as potential differential diagnoses in respiratory infections among camelids. Prolonged treatment with glucocorticoids and antibiotics should be avoided as it could represent a risk factor for the onset of pathologies caused by opportunistic fungi such as Candida spp. and Aspergillus spp. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diseases in Animals, 2nd Edition)
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