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Itching for Recognition: Dermatophytosis Identified in an Eastern Spotted Skunk (Spilogale putorius) Population in Texas

Bonnie E. Gulas-Wroblewski1,2,3,*, Melinda D. Luper4, Alexandra A. Gibson5, J. Clint Perkins6, and Robert C. Dowler7

1National School of Tropical Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, TX 77030. 2Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843. 3Current address - Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, College Station, TX 77843. 4Fur and Feather Veterinary Hospital, Houston, TX 77019. 5One Health Institute, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616. 6Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409. 7Department of Biology, Angelo State University, San Angelo, TX 76909. *Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist,Volume 20, Special Issue 11 (2021): 191–198

Abstract
The diversity, clinical manifestations, and impact on overall health of pathogenic fungi in Spilogale putorius (Eastern Spotted Skunk [ESS]) have been poorly investigated. Herein, we describe the first reported cases of fungal dermatitis in ESS from a population in southeastern Texas. In 2016, two of 3 ESS live-trapped in Harris County, TX, exhibited symptoms consistent with dermatophytosis. We isolated fungus from 1 of 2 cultures grown from scraped samples of infected ESS skin and morphologically identified it as Microsporum canis. Reviewing local wildlife rehabilitation records, we were able to confirm the prevalence of dermatophytosis within local mephitid populations. We examine the implications of the discovery of a zoonotic fungal pathogen in ESS in light of its importance in wildlife medicine as well as its ramifications for the health of domestic animals and humans.

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