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Fungal flora in healthy horse eyes
If Aspergillus or Penicillium species are isolated from eye samples, normally a therapy is started. But how often can these fungi be isolated from normal eyes of healthy horses? In Brazil, 32 horses were examined. The result: About one third of them has Aspergillus in the conjunctival sac, and also other fungi are much more common than previously thought.

The conjunctival fungal flora of 32 adult horses with normal eyes (n = 64) from the State of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil was identified in the fall of 2000 using horses of different breeds, both genders and aged 5-19 years old.

The culture samples were taken from the conjunctival sac of both eyes with a sterile cotton swab wetted with saline solution, seeded in Sabouraud`s dextrose agar with chloramphenicol, and incubated for 5 days at an average temperature of 25 °C.

The number of fungal colonies per eye varied between 0 and 250 colony forming units (CFUs). There were often differences in colony types between eyes of the same animal.

Filamentous fungi of genera were isolated and identified in the following proportion of the total genera of fungal colonies isolated: Aspergillus (32.2%), Penicillium (25.8%), Scopulariopsis (15.9%), Trichoderma (11.2%), Cladosporium (5.6%), Mucor (2.1%), Syncephalastrum (2.1%), Eurotium (1.7%), Geotrichum (0.9%), Rhizopus (0.9%), Gliomastix (0.4%), Fusarium (0.4%), Staphylotrichum (0.4%) and Verticillium (0.4%). Yeast genera represented 9% of the total isolates.

Over half the horses had at least one normal eye with either Aspergillus, Penicillium, Trichoderma or Scopulariopsis isolated, which is a departure from other studies of the normal horse eye.


Source: Rosa, Maurílio, Cardozo, Liane Maria, da Silva Pereira, Jorge, Brooks, Dennis E., Martins, Ana Lucia B., Florido, Penha Sueli Silva & Stussi, Jussara Schwind Pedroso (2003):
Fungal flora of normal eyes of healthy horses from the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In: Veterinary Ophthalmology 6 (1), 51-55.




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