Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Aspergillus spp

Contributor(s): Veronica Fowler, Vetstream Ltd




  • Genus: aspergillus.
  • Fungi imperfecti (no perfect state has been found).


  • Latin: aspergere- to sprinkle.

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Clinical Effects



  • Soil, vegetation, feedstuffs, especially fermented plant material.


  • Inhalation or ingestion of fungus or preformed toxin from the environment.

Pathological effects

  • Depends on impaired defenses in host to assume pathogenic role.
  • Infected animals may develop circulating antibodies, but these have no protective role.
  • Resistance may rely on cell-mediated immunity.
A. fumigatus and other invasive species
  • Produces hemolysins, proteolytic enzymes and other toxic factors but their role in pathogenesis is not known.
  • Horses: guttural pouch mycosis, nasal granulomas, placentitis, pulmonary infections, keratomycosis. Allergens may be implicated in recurrent airway obstruction.
  • Dogs: chronic rhinitis, systemic infections.
  • Cattle: abortion, pneumonia, mastitis.
  • Birds: pneumonia, tracheitis, air sacculitis, neurologic disease.
  • Humans: local infection, generalized infection and allergic reactions. (Often affects immunocompromized patients.)
  • Cats: rare, pneumonia.
Mycotoxin-producing species
  • Mycotoxins (including alfatoxins), are secondary fungal metabolites which cause a range of clinical symptoms.
  • Alfatoxins are hepatotoxic, teratogenic, mutagenic and carcinogenic.
  • Clinical effects include immunosuppression, nervous system signs, decreased food conversion and decreased milk yield.

Other Host Effects

  • Opportunistic pathogens or production of mycotoxins.


Control via chemotherapies

  • Topically: iodine or nystatin.
  • Systemically: amphotericin B, itraconozole.


  • Not available.

Other countermeasures

  • Prevention of contamination at all stages of food production, eg by rapid drying of harvested crops and use of preservatives.
  • Keep out of dusty, enclosed environment.
  • Avoid feeding hay and silage that has deteriorated or appears moldy .
  • Decontaminate feedstuffs by physical removal, thermal inactivation, irradiation, microbial degradation and chemical treatment.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Riet-Correa F, Rivero R, Odriozola E, Adrien Mde L, Medeiros R M & Schild A L (2013) Mycotoxicoses of ruminants and horses. J Vet Diagn Invest 25 (6), 692-708 PubMed.
  • Latgé J P (2001) The pathobiology of Aspergillus fumigatus. Trends Microbiol 9 (8), 382-9 PubMed.
  • Jensen H E & Latgé J P (1995) An analysis of antibodies against Aspergillus fumigatus in bovine serum by immunoblotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. APMIS 103(2), 124-30 PubMed.
  • Wiseman A, Dawson C O, Selman I E (1984) The prevalence of serum precipitating antibody to Aspergillus fumigatus in adult cattle in Britain. J Comp Pathol 94 (4), 535-42 PubMed.
  • Pelhate J (1977) Maize silage: incidence of moulds during conservation. Folia Vet Lat 7 (1), 1-16 PubMed.