Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Skin: mycotic disease

Synonym(s): Systemic mycosis

Contributor(s): Karen Campbell, Rosanna Marsella, David Scarff


  • Rare disease in UK.
  • Occurs in North and Central America, and Africa.
  • Cause: systemic infection → secondary skin lesions (less commonly organisms are directly inoculated into skin resulting in primary skin lesions).
  • Signs: systemic symptoms in conjunction with skin lesions.
  • Diagnosis: cytology, PCR, histopathology, serology.
  • Treatment: responds to systemic antifungal therapy.
  • Prognosis: often good - depends on severity and appropriate treatment of disease.


Predisposing factors

  • Immunocompromised animals most susceptible, however, majority of affected animals are otherwise healthy.
  • Sources of exposure:
    • Sporotrichosis Sporotrichosis : saprophyte of plants, often inoculated via skin penetrating thorn.
    • Blastomyocis: found in moist acidic soil, decaying wood, animal feces, construction sites near water/old swamps; United States river valleys.
    • Histoplasmosis - United States river valleys, nitrogen rich soil (bird or bat excreta).
    • Coccidiomycosis: sandy alkaline soil, high environmental temperature, low rainfall, low elevation, Southwest United States, Mexico, Central and South America, dust storms and earthquakes are precipitating events.
    • Cryptococcosis: found in pigeon droppings, trees, fruits and soil.
    • Zygomycosis: fungi found in soil and decaying vegetation, include fungi in the order Mucorales and Entomorphthorales (species occasionally affecting animals includeBasidiobolusandConidiobolus).


  • Precise pathology varies with species of fungi involved.
  • Infection usually by inhalation → infection of internal organs → secondary skin lesions by hematogenous spread.
  • Some diseases may be acquired by oral ingestion or direct inocculation into skin wounds.


This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login


This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login


This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Vorathavorn VI, Sykes J E, Feldman D G (2013) Cryptococcosis as an emerging systemic mycosis in dogs. J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio) 23 (5), 489-497 PubMed.
  • Kirsch E J et al (2012) Evaluation of Coccidioides antigen detection in dogs witrh coccidioidomycosis. Clin Vaccine Immunol 19 (3), 343-345 PubMed.
  • Lester S J, Malik R, Bartlett K H, Duncan C G (2011) Cryptococcosis: update and emergence of Cryptococcosis gattii. Vet Clin Pathol 40 (1), 4-17 PubMed.
  • Miranda L M et al (2011) Evaluation of immunohistochemistry for the diagnosis of sporotrichosis in dogs. Vet J 190 (3), 408-411 PubMed.
  • Werner A, Norton F (2011) Blastomycosis. Compend Contin Educ Vet 33 (8), E1-4, quiz E5 PubMed.
  • Kerl M E (2003) Update on canine and feline fungal diseases. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 33 (4), 721-747 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Miller W H, Griffin G E, Campbell K L (2013)Muller and Kirk's Small Animal Dermatology.7th edn. St Louis, Elsevier, pp 223-283.