|A series of 18 allergic cats with multifocal Malassezia spp. overgrowth is reported: atopic dermatitis was diagnosed in 16, an adverse food reaction in another and one was euthanized 2 months after diagnosis of Malassezia overgrowth.
All the cats were otherwise healthy and those tested (16 out of 18) for feline leukaemia or feline immunodeficiency virus infections were all negative.
At dermatological examination, multifocal alopecia, erythema, crusting and greasy adherent brownish scales were variably distributed on all cats.
Cytological examination revealed Malassezia spp. overgrowth with/without bacterial infection in facial skin (n = 11), ventral neck (n = 6), abdomen (n = 6), ear canal (n = 4), chin (n = 2), ear pinnae (n = 2), interdigital (n = 1) and claw folds skin (n = 1).
Moreover, in two cats Malassezia pachydermatis was isolated in fungal cultures from lesional skin.
Azoles therapy alone was prescribed in seven, azoles and antibacterial therapy in eight and azoles with both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory therapy in three of the cats.
After 3Â–4 weeks of treatment, substantial reduction of pruritus and skin lesions was observed in all 11 cats treated with a combined therapy and in five of seven treated solely with azoles.
Malassezia spp. overgrowth may represent a secondary cutaneous problem in allergic cats particularly in those presented for dermatological examination displaying greasy adherent brownish scales.
The favourable response to treatment with antifungal treatments alone suggests that, as in dogs, Malassezia spp. may be partly responsible for both pruritus and cutaneous lesions in allergic cats.
Source: Laura Ordeix, Franca Galeotti, Fabia Scarampella, Carla Dedola, Mar BardagĂ, Erica Romano, Alessandra Fondati (2007): Malassezia spp. overgrowth in allergic cats. In: Veterinary Dermatology 18 (5), 316Â–323.