Atypical Dermatophytosis in 12 North American Porcupines <em>(Erethizon dorsatum)</em> from the Northeastern United States 2010-2017

Academic Article


  • Twelve wild North American Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) were diagnosed with dermatopathies while being cared for at two wildlife rehabilitation clinics. Biopsy and necropsy were performed on 7 and 5 animals respectively. Atypical dermatophytosis was diagnosed in all cases. Lesions consisted of diffuse severe epidermal hyperkeratosis and mild hyperplasia, with mild lymphoplasmacytic dermatitis, and no folliculitis. Dermatophytes were noted histologically as hyphae and spores in hair shafts, and follicular and epidermal keratin. Trichophyton sp. was grown in 5/6 animals where culture was performed, with molecular diagnosis of Arthroderma benhamiae / Trichophyton mentagrophytes in these 5 cases. Metagenomic analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples from 3 cases identified fungi from 17 orders in phyla Basidiomycota and Ascomycota. Alteration of therapy from ketaconazole, which was unsuccessful in 4 of 5 early cases, to terbinafine or nitraconazole lead to resolution of disease and recovery to release in four subsequent animals. In all, 6 animals were euthanized or died due to dermatopathy, no cases resolved spontaneously, and 6 cases resolved with therapy. The work we present demonstrates an atypical lesion and anatomical distribution due to dermatophytosis in a series of free-ranging wild porcupines and successful development of novel techniques for extraction and sequencing nucleic acids from fungus in archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded animal tissue.
  • Authors

  • Needle, David
  • Gibson, Robert
  • Hollingshead, Nicholas
  • Sidor, Inga
  • Marra, Nicholas
  • Rothenheber, Derek
  • Thachil, Anil
  • Stanhope, Bryce
  • Stevens, Brian
  • Ellis, Julie
  • Spanswick, Shelley
  • Murray, Maureen
  • Goodman, Laura
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • August 21, 2019
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)