Quantity and distribution of Malassezia organisms on the skin of clinically normal dogs

Robert A. Kennis From the Departments of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (Kennis, Rosser, Olivier) and Microbiology (Walker), College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1314.

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Edmund J. Rosser Jr. From the Departments of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (Kennis, Rosser, Olivier) and Microbiology (Walker), College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1314.

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N. Bari Olivier From the Departments of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (Kennis, Rosser, Olivier) and Microbiology (Walker), College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1314.

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Robert W. Walker From the Departments of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (Kennis, Rosser, Olivier) and Microbiology (Walker), College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1314.

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Objective

To define the extent to which Malassezia organisms can be recovered from the skin of clinically normal dogs and to assess differences in organism recovery related to anatomic sampling site and to method of collection.

Design

Prospective, controlled study.

Animals

19 clinically normal dogs.

Procedure

The number of Malassezia pachydermatis organisms were determined in fungal cultures of samples obtained from the skin of clinically normal dogs, using an adhesive tape method to obtain samples from 10 sites/dog. Additionally, 3 methods (direct impression, swabbing technique, and superficial skin scraping) that are commonly used for obtaining samples for cytologic examination were evaluated.

Results

Malassezia organisms were found in low numbers as part of the microflora of the skin of clinically normal dogs. Number of organisms differed significantly for various anatomic locations (chin, highest number; inguinal and axillary regions, lowest number). Malassezia organisms were identified more frequently by use of adhesive tape and fungal culturing than by the methods used for cytologic examination. However, comparing methods used for obtaining samples for cytologic examination with each other, marked differences were not detected in our ability to recover yeast organisms among the 3 techniques.

Clinical Implications

Although Malassezia spp is part of the microflora of the skin of clinically normal dogs, it is extremely difficult to detect the organism by any of the 3 sampling methods used for sample collection for cytologic examination. Therefore, anatomic site and method of sample collection should be considered when attempting to make a diagnosis of Malassezia dermatitis. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1048–1051)

Objective

To define the extent to which Malassezia organisms can be recovered from the skin of clinically normal dogs and to assess differences in organism recovery related to anatomic sampling site and to method of collection.

Design

Prospective, controlled study.

Animals

19 clinically normal dogs.

Procedure

The number of Malassezia pachydermatis organisms were determined in fungal cultures of samples obtained from the skin of clinically normal dogs, using an adhesive tape method to obtain samples from 10 sites/dog. Additionally, 3 methods (direct impression, swabbing technique, and superficial skin scraping) that are commonly used for obtaining samples for cytologic examination were evaluated.

Results

Malassezia organisms were found in low numbers as part of the microflora of the skin of clinically normal dogs. Number of organisms differed significantly for various anatomic locations (chin, highest number; inguinal and axillary regions, lowest number). Malassezia organisms were identified more frequently by use of adhesive tape and fungal culturing than by the methods used for cytologic examination. However, comparing methods used for obtaining samples for cytologic examination with each other, marked differences were not detected in our ability to recover yeast organisms among the 3 techniques.

Clinical Implications

Although Malassezia spp is part of the microflora of the skin of clinically normal dogs, it is extremely difficult to detect the organism by any of the 3 sampling methods used for sample collection for cytologic examination. Therefore, anatomic site and method of sample collection should be considered when attempting to make a diagnosis of Malassezia dermatitis. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1048–1051)

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