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Veterinary Dermatology 2002, 13, 714

sBlackwell Science Ltd

Retrospective study: the presence of Malassezia in feline skin


biopsies. A clinicopathological study
ELIZABETH A. MAULDIN,* DANIEL O. MORRIS* and MICHAEL H. GOLDSCHMIDT
Departments of *Clinical Studies and Pathobiology, Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania,
3850 Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
(Received 26 December 2000; accepted 1 June 2001)

Abstract Malassezia spp. dermatitis, a rare disorder in cats, has previously been associated with immune suppression and internal malignancies. This study evaluates the presence and importance of Malassezia spp. in feline
biopsy specimens submitted for histopathological examination. Five hundred and fifty haematoxylin and eosinstained skin biopsy specimens received for histopathological examination between January 1999 and November
2000 were reviewed. Fifteen (2.7%) submissions contained Malassezia organisms in the stratum corneum of the
epidermis or follicular infundibulum. Eleven of 15 cats presented with an acute onset of multifocal to generalized
skin lesions. All 11 cats were euthanized or died within 2 months of the onset of clinical signs. Seven cats had
dermatopathological changes and clinical signs supportive of paraneoplastic alopecia, and three cats had an
interface dermatitis suggestive of erythema multiforme or thymoma-associated dermatosis. Histopathological
changes were nonspecific in one cat that was euthanized 2 weeks following onset of severe pruritus and alopecia.
In three cats, Malassezia spp. were found in localized sites (two chin, one footpads) and appeared inconsequential
to their overall health status. One cat had Malassezia spp. in association with cutaneous demodicosis. These
findings suggest that Malassezia yeast in dermatopathological specimens from multifocal or generalized lesions
should prompt a thorough clinical work-up for internal neoplasia.
Keywords: alopecia, carcinoma, feline, Malassezia, pancreas, paraneoplastic, thymoma.

INTRODUCTION
Malassezia dermatitis is a commonly diagnosed dermatopathy in dogs. The overgrowth of Malassezia pachydermatis on the skin of dogs has been associated with
allergic disease, cornification defects and the corticosteroids or antibiotics used to treat these disorders. Most
dogs respond well to treatment if an underlying disorder
is identified and addressed.18 In cats, the association
between Malassezia and allergic disorders is not established and far fewer cases of Malassezia infection have
been documented. Veterinary practitioners occasionally
encounter cats with waxy otitis externa or refractory
chin acne due to Malassezia.13,911 However, cutaneous infections beyond these sites are quite rare. Cats
can harbour Malassezia organisms within the auditory
canal, anus and skin. Malassezia organisms of several
species have been cultured from normal and abnormal
feline skin.1214 Cats with feline immunodeficiency
virus and diabetes mellitus could be predisposed to
developing Malassezia infection.11 A recent study
showed that Malassezia yeast could be cultured more
commonly from retroviral-infected cats than from
normal cats.15
Correspondence: Elizabeth A. Mauldin, Department of Clinical
Studies, Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 3850
Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Fax: 215 898 0719,
E-mail: emauldin@vet.upenn.edu
2002 Blackwell Science Ltd

Generalized Malassezia dermatitis in the cat is extremely


rare. A causal relationship between the overgrowth of
Malassezia organisms and the development of seborrheic
dermatitis was proposed in an abstract at the 1994
American College of Veterinary Dermatology meeting
in Charleston, South Carolina. The two cats cited had
generalized exfoliative and greasy erythroderma, which
responded to antifungal therapy. However, relapses were
frequent and required repeated therapy. No predisposing disorders were identified and the histopathological
changes were nonspecific. Malassezia overgrowth has
since been reported in cats with thymoma-associated
dermatoses (TAD) and paraneoplastic alopecia (PA).16,17
Cats with TAD develop a generalized exfoliative
inflammatory skin condition that occurs secondary
to a benign intrathoracic tumour. Specific interface
dermatopathological changes can be suggestive of
the disorder, although demonstration of a thymoma is
required for a definitive diagnosis.16,18 Feline paraneoplastic alopecia is a well-recognized condition that occurs
secondary to pancreatic or bile duct carcinoma. The
histopathological changes are characterized by profound
and diffuse follicular atrophy.17,19 22 Both disorders are
severely debilitating and most animals are euthanized.1622
Cats have recovered only when the underlying neoplasm
was surgically excised.16,22
At the University of Pennsylvania we had observed
that the presence of Malassezia organisms in biopsy
specimens seemed to correlate with histopathological
7

13

15

13

10

14

14

10

10

2
17

2.5

2002 Blackwell Science Ltd, Veterinary Dermatology, 13, 714

10

11

12

13
14

15

face and ears

chin
chin

footpads

ventrum, medial
hindlimbs
ventrum, medial limbs,
dorsal neck
trunk, head, limbs,
mucocutaneous junctions,
pinnae, footpads and claw
head, periocular, nasal
planum, neck, footpads
periocular/periaural,
pinnae, footpads
ventrum, footpads,
perioral

ventrum, thighs,
head, footpads

generalized

ventrum

ventrum, medial
hindlimbs

ventrum

Site

alopecia, excoriations

comedones
erythema, ulcers, crusts

focal ulcers

complete alopecia,
shiny skin
complete alopecia,
shiny skin
erythema, thick crusts
and scale, erosions,
fissures
alopecia, erythema,
sloughing
erythema, crusts,
erosions
erythema, crusts

patchy alopecia, crusts,


easily epilated hair

alopecia, erythma,
scaling

easily epilated hair,


alopecia, shiny skin

alopecia, scaling

alopecia, erosions,
erythema

Dermatological
lesions

yes

focal
focal

no

yes

no

unknown

no

yes

no

no

yes

yes

yes

yes

Pruritus

repositol steroid injections

weight loss, anorexia,


lethargy
upper respiratory infection,
anorexia, skin lesions
1 week after amoxicillin
diabetes mellitus,
recurrent cyctitis
none
none

anorexia, leukocytosis

weight loss, anorexia,


lethargy, increased
ALT/ALP
weight loss, anorexia,
increased ALT/ALP,
mild anaemia
increased ALT/ALP U/S,
pancreatic mass, liver
masses
weight loss, anorexia,
lethargy
weight loss, anorexia,
hyperthyroidism
anorexia, stomatitis,
leukopenia

weight loss, increased


ALT/ALP, mild anaemia

vomiting and diarrhoea

Clinical findings

demodicosis

chin acne
SCC in situ

footpad hyperkeratosis

hyperplastic dermatitis with


pigmentary incontinence

interface dermatitis

interface dermatitis

interface dermatitis

follicular atrophy

alive/1.0 years
euthanized 6 months
after biopsy
alive/1.25 years

alive/1.5 years

euthanized 4 weeks
after onset
euthanized 4 weeks
after onset
euthanized 4 weeks
after onset

euthanized 8 weeks
after onset
died 8 weeks
after onset
euthanized 8 weeks
after onset

euthanized 3 weeks
after onset

follicular atrophy

follicular atrophy

euthanized 9 days
after onset

euthanized 4 weeks
after onset

euthanized 8 weeks
after onset

euthanized 4 weeks
after onset

Follow-up

follicular atrophy

follicular atrophy

follicular atrophy,
SND

follicular atrophy

Skin diagnosis

N/A

N/A
not performed

N/A

not performed

not performed

not performed

biopsy, metastatic
carcinoma in liver
not performed

not performed

pancreatic carcinoma,
liver metastasis

not performed

pancreatic
carcinoma,
liver metastasis
pancreatic carcinoma
in situ, hepatopathy,
intestinal lymphoma
not performed

Post mortem

ALT alanine aminotransferase; ALP alkaline phosphatase; u/s ultrasound; SND superficial necrolytic dermatitis; SCC squamous cell carcinoma
Group 1: cases 17; Group 2: cases 811; Group 3: cases 1215

Age

Case

Table 1. Clinicopathological findings in cats with Malassezia

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Elizabeth A. Mauldin et al.

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Malassezia in feline skin biopsies


changes indicative of internal disease. Thus, we decided
to undertake a retrospective review of all feline skin
biopsy submissions over a 2-year period to verify this
observation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS


A computer search for feline skin biopsy submissions
coded as dermatitis or dermatosis submitted to the
Out-Patient Diagnostic Service of the Laboratory of
Pathology and Toxicology, University of Pennsylvania,
School of Veterinary Medicine from January 1999 to
November 2000 was reviewed. For inclusion in this study
the cases must have been interpreted as dermatosis or
dermatitis on the written report and must have been
taken as surgical or post mortem sample from anywhere
on the skin except the external ear canal. The external
ear canal was excluded from the study based on the
commonality of Malassezia organisms at this site. Five
hundred and fifty cases met these criteria. Hematoxylin
and eosin-stained slides from all cases were reviewed by
a board-certified veterinary pathologist (EAM) for the
presence of Malassezia organisms, without knowledge
of prior histopathological diagnoses. Yeast were classified as Malassezia based on size (36 m diameter), shape
(oval to ellipsoidal or peanut shaped) and broad-based
unipolar budding of daughter cells.2,5 The medical
histories of all cases with Malassezia were reviewed
and follow-up information was obtained from the
referring veterinarians.

RESULTS
Fifteen of 550 (2.7%) cases contained Malassezia yeast
in the stratum corneum of the epidermis (14/15) or

follicular infundibulum (2/15). Yeast were readily


identifiable in areas of mild to severe orthokeratotic
and parakeratotic hyperkeratosis.
Three groups of animals were identified from the
histopathological and clinical results. Individual cases
are listed in Table 1. All cats except cat 13, an Abyssinian,
were Domestic Short Hair or Long Hair cats. Cats in
group 1 and group 2 had multifocal to generalized skin
lesions and a shortened lifespan. All cats in groups 1 and
2 were euthanized or died naturally within 2 months of
the onset of clinical signs. Group 1 (7/15 cases) contained
cats with histological and clinical features diagnostic
of or highly consistent with paraneoplastic alopecia
(PA). Group 2 (4/15) contained the remaining cats with
multifocal to generalized skin lesions. Group 3 (4/15
cases) included animals with lesions from focal sites
(chin, footpad). One cat had demodicosis with lesions
confined to the head and neck. Three cats from group
3 were alive at the time of data collection.
Group 1
Group 1 ranged in age from 7 to 15 years (mean,
12 years; median, 13 years). None of the cats were
pure-bred animals. The dermatological lesions were fairly
uniform within this group. All cats were presented for
an acute onset of skin lesions of 26 weeks duration.
A dramatic loss of body weight, inappetance and/or
vomiting and diarrhoea developed with the onset of skin
lesions. Hair was easily epilated in large tufts leaving
behind areas of complete alopecia with a smooth sheen
to the epidermis. Lesions were primarily found on the
ventrum, particularly the ventral abdomen, but also
involved the ventral neck, thorax and medial hindlimbs
(Fig. 1). Several cats had footpad hyperkeratosis.
All cases except cat 7 (no treatment) received various
antibiotics, and/or corticosteroids with no improvement.
Cat 1 was the only case that received treatment for the

Figure 1. Cat 1, paraneoplastic alopecia; severe symmetrical alopecia and erythema on ventrum and limbs (Courtesy of Dr Jean Greek,
Overland Park, KS).
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Elizabeth A. Mauldin et al.

Figure 2. Cat 7, paraneoplastic alopecia; Extreme atrophy of telogen


stage follicles with orphaned epitrichial sebaceous glands and
epidermal hyperplasia (H&E, bar = 48 m) Inset: hyperkeratosis
with Malassezia in stratum corneum (H&E, bar = 9.5 m).

Malassezia infection (ketoconazole 50 mg orally once


a day) but continued to deteriorate and was euthanized
2 weeks after presentation to the referral dermatologist.
An abdominal ultrasonographic examination performed
on cat 5 showed a mass in the pancreas and multiple
masses in the liver. All cats were euthanized 38 weeks
following the onset of clinical signs. Cats 1, 4, 6 and 7
tested negative for FELV and FIV. Cat 3 tested negative
for FELV. Cats 2 and 5 were not tested.
All cats in group 1 had histopathological features
characteristic of paraneoplastic alopecia, which has been
described previously.18,2023 Briefly, hair follicles were
profoundly and uniformly atrophied. Normal sebaceous
and epitrichial sweat glands were either orphaned or
orientated adjacent to the remnants of hairless telogen
follicles. The epidermis was mildly to moderately hyperplastic. The stratum corneum was either absent or
hyperkeratotic with parakeratosis and alternating areas
of laminated orthokeratosis. Malassezia organisms were
found randomly in medium (515) to large groups (> 15)
among the corneocytes and intermittently admixed with
bacterial cocci (Fig. 2). In cat 6, the dermis was focally
fibrotic. In cat 7, the follicular atrophy was patchy and
irregular. Dermal inflammatory infiltrates were sparse
in all skin biopsy specimens. The dermatopathological
findings in cat 2 were particularly intriguing. The dermis
contained profoundly atrophied hair follicles and orphaned adnexae consistent with paraneoplastic alopecia.
In addition, features of superficial necrolytic dermatitis
(SND) with areas of marked epidermal parakeratosis,
a zone of pallor (intracellular oedema) in the upper layers
of the stratum spinosum, and basal cell hyperplasia were
seen (Fig. 3).24
Additional pathological findings included an
ultrasound-guided liver biopsy from cat 7, which contained metastatic pancreatic carcinoma. Post mortem
histologic specimens from cat 2 revealed acute hepatocellular swelling and necrosis, and intestinal lymphosarcoma. Post mortem specimens from cats 1, 2 and 5
confirmed the presence of pancreatic tumours (Fig. 4).
Cat 5 had massive hepatic metastases. Cats 3, 4 and 6
were euthanized because of the severity of the clinical
2002 Blackwell Science Ltd, Veterinary Dermatology, 13, 714

Figure 3. Cat 2, superficial necrolytic dermatitis; marked epidermal


parakeratosis, a zone of pallor in the upper layers of the stratum
spinosum and basal cell hyperplasia (H&E, bar = 55 m).

Figure 4. Cat 8, interface dermatitis; multifocal keratinocyte


necrosis in all levels of epidermis and severe hyperkeratosis (H&E,
bar = 63 m).

signs and skin condition without additional imaging or


post mortem examinations.
Group 2
The cats in group 2 were slightly younger than those in
group 1 (mean 9 years; median 9.5 years). None of the
cats were pure-bred animals. Cats 8, 9 and 10 had an
acute onset of a severe, fairly generalized skin disease with
abundant crusting, scale and erosions. Cat 9 presented
with inflammation of the ears, which progressed to the

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Malassezia in feline skin biopsies


neck, head and body over a 4-week period. Cats 8 and
9 had no additional diagnostics. Cat 10 had a normal
thoracic radiograph. Cat 11 developed the skin disorder
while receiving amoxicillin for an upper respiratory tract
infection. Cats 9, 10 and 11 were euthanized 4 weeks
after the onset of clinical signs, whereas cat 8 was euthanized within 8 weeks of onset (precise date unknown).
Cats 8, 10 and 11 tested negative for FELV and FIV,
and cat 9 tested negative for FELV.
In group 2, three cases (8, 9, 10) had interface dermatitis
(Fig. 4). In all cases, the epidermis was hyperplastic and
covered by a markedly thickened and laminated corneal
layer, which varied from orthokeratotic to parakeratotic.
Individually necrotic keratinocytes were randomly distributed within all layers of the epidermis. Intracellular
oedema was multifocally noted within basilar keratinocytes in the epidermis and outer root sheath of hair
follicles. A mild pleocellular inflammatory cell infiltrate
was present at the dermoepidermal interface. Large
collections of Malassezia were typically clumped in
groups between nucleate or anucleate corneocytes. In
case 11 the epidermis was moderately hyperplastic and
contained areas of hyperpigmentation with aggregates
of melanophages, due to pigmentary incontinence,
in the dermis. The superficial dermis in one section
contained a perivascular to interstitial infiltration of
eosinophils, mast cells and few plasma cells.
A definitive diagnosis could not be established for
any of the cases in group 2. Differentials for the cats
with interface dermatitis included thymoma-associated
dermatosis, erythema multiforme, drug eruption or
graft vs. host disease.24
Group 3
Cats in group 3 had localized lesions. The age range
was most variable in this group (mean, 7.4; median,
5.3). The skin lesions in these cats did not have the
degree of severity or poor outcome associated with
groups 1 and 2. In two cases, Malassezia were found
within lesions on the chin. Case 13 had chin acne. Very
few (< 5) yeast were located within the infundibulum
of one dilated hair follicle. Clinical information on
response to therapy was not available. Case 14 had
scattered yeast within the stratum corneum overlying a
neoplasm (squamous cell carcinoma in situ) on the
chin. This cat was euthanized after 6 months because
the owner could not manage the lesion. The Malassezia were found on review of the biopsy. This cat was
considerably older (17 years) than the others. Case 12
had scattered Malassezia within the stratum corneum
of hyperkeratotic footpads. Clinically, this cat had
diabetes mellitus and recurrent urinary tract infections
due to Enterococcus and Candida. The cat was reported
to have ulcers on the footpads but none were evident
in the histological section. The cat was treated with
oral itraconazole (10 mg kg1, once daily) for fungal
cystitis. The footpads improved but the cat developed
markedly elevated liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase 2125 IU L1, alkaline phosphatase 288 IU L1)
3 weeks after initiation of treatment.

11

Case 15 had cutaneous demodicosis. All mites were


found in cross-section in the follicular infundibulum
(probable Demodex cati). No mites were found within
the stratum corneum. Minimal inflammation was located
in the superficial dermis. The epidermis was minimally
hyperplastic. Large numbers of Malassezia (> 15/40
field) were found within orthokeratin of the stratum
corneum. This cat had been treated with several repositol
steroid injections for facial pruritus before the histopathological diagnosis of demodicosis.
Case 15 tested negative for FELV and FIV, and case
13 was negative for FELV. The retroviral status of cases
12 and 14 was unknown.

DISCUSSION
Recent interest in canine Malassezia dermatitis has led
to a dramatic increase in research into the clinical and
immunological manifestations of this disorder. In contrast, few studies have reported the incidence or significance of Malassezia in the cat. This may be due to the
rarity of the disease in the cat compared with the dog.
In this study, we found Malassezia in very few of the
feline biopsies (2.7%) submitted over a 23-month period.
In general, the diagnostic pathology service may be
a better estimation of skin disease in a cat population
than a clinical referral practice. Eleven of the biopsies
in our series were from veterinarians in general practice.
Two were submitted from board-certified veterinary
dermatologists in private practice, and only two were
seen at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of
Pennsylvania. In this study, Malassezia was not found
in association with feline allergic disorders. The authors
estimate that at least 75% of the 550 skin biopsies
reviewed had eosinophilic dermatitides suspicious of
allergic disease. This differs slightly from a previous
histological study, which found Malassezia in 3 of 338
feline skin biopsies two with eosinophilic granuloma
complex and one case of lichenoid dermatitis.25 The
authors recognize that biopsies with few organisms could
have been overlooked during the histopathological review.
However, neither study demonstrates a propensity of
Malassezia infection in cats with allergic disease. This
is in sharp contrast to the dog in which M. pachydermatis
infection typically occurs in association with atopy or
other allergic disorders.18 Perhaps, the failure to detect
yeast in allergic cats was a result of the sampling technique. Histopathology is an insensitive method to detect
yeast organisms because of the processing of the tissue
and loss of stratum corneum. Smaller populations of
yeast may be more readily identified with tape stripping
or impression smears.25,26
In this study, the presence of Malassezia was not
associated with retroviral infections. None of the 11/15
cats tested for FIV and/or FELV were positive. This
finding contrasts a recent study, which showed that
Malassezia could be recovered more readily from
cats with retroviral infections than normal cats.15 However, this study did not document skin lesions in cats
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Elizabeth A. Mauldin et al.

seropositive for FELV or FIV, and it is not known if


these cats are truly at greater risk of developing clinical
signs. One cat in our study had diabetes mellitus and
recurrent urinary tract infections. These infections
were attributed to uncontrolled diabetes but no history
of retroviral testing was found in the medical record.
This cat, included in group 3, was alive 18 months after
skin biopsy.
It is very unlikely that the presence of Malassezia
had any direct effect on the lifespan of the affected cats.
However, the yeast organisms could serve as a harbinger
of a more serious disorder. The obvious limitation of
this study is the use of retrospective biopsy material.
Overall, group 2 cats had the most poorly documented
skin conditions. We speculate from the histopathological changes that three of these cats could have TAD,
erythema multiforme or a drug reaction but this cannot
be proven. Furthermore, cat 4 could have represented
a cutaneous drug reaction or the Malassezia-associated
seborrheic dermatitis described in a previous abstract.
We feel more confident that the cats in group 1 suffered
from paraneoplastic alopecia. The clinical presentations
(dramatic weight loss, increased liver enzymes and complete alopecia on ventrum with a sheen to the epidermis)
and histopathological changes were consistent and uniform. Four of the seven cats had confirmed neoplasia.
All cases had profound and diffuse follicular atrophy.
However, regardless of the diagnosis, all cats in groups
1 and 2 were dead within 2 months of clinical presentation because of intractable skin disease and /or weight
loss and gastrointestinal signs.
There were no histopathological changes specific for
Malassezia infection, and histopathological findings
varied with the underlying disorder. Hyperkeratosis
was the only change common to all biopsies. The
organism appears therefore to proliferate under conditions that cause increased production of keratin. This
study also revealed one of very few cases of hepatocutaneous syndrome (superficial necrolytic dermatitis,
metabolic epidermal necrosis or necrolytic migratory
erythema) reported in cats. This cat had pathological
changes in the liver suggestive of an acute toxic
hepatopathy. Although this disorder has been welldocumented in dogs, particularly Terrier breeds, only
two cases have been reported in the cat.28,29 Interestingly, one case was an 11-year-old cat with pancreatic
carcinoma. The second case was cited in a review on
thymic pathology and involved a cat with generalized
crusting and histological features of superficial necrolytic dermatitis. The only abnormality reported on post
mortem was thymic amyloidosis.29 Perhaps these cats
had paraneoplastic dermatoses similar to our cases in
groups 1 and 2.
Malassezia yeast were identified in a small percentage
of feline skin biopsies submitted for routine histopathological interpretation. Of those, 73% cats were euthanized
or died within 2 months. Finding yeast organisms in
histopathological specimens from cats with generalized
skin disease should prompt the clinician to rule out an
associated internal disease.
2002 Blackwell Science Ltd, Veterinary Dermatology, 13, 714

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors thank Drs Jean Greek and James Jeffers
and the many veterinarians in private practice for their
case submissions and assistance.
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27. Kennis, R. A., Rosser, E. J., Olivier, B. et al. Quantity
and distribution of Malassezia organisms on the skin of
clinically normal dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 1996; 208: 104851.
28. Patel, A., Whitbread, T. J., McNeil, P. E. A case of
metabolic epidermal necrosis in a cat. Veterinary Dermatology 1996; 7: 2216.
29. Day, M. J. Review of thymic pathology in 30 cats and 36
dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice 1997; 38: 395
402.

Rsum La dermatite Malassezia spp. est rare chez le chat, et a t rapporte dans cette espce en association
avec un immunodficit et des tumeurs internes. Cette tude sest intresse valuer la prsence et limportance
de Malassezia spp. dans des prlvements biopsiques soumis pour examen histopathologique. Cinq cent cinquante biopsies, reues pour examen histopathologique entre janvier 1999 et novembre 2000, ont t values.
Quinze (2.7%) contenaient des Malassezia dans la couche corne de lpiderme ou dans linfundibulum folliculaire. Onze des 15 chats taient prsents pour des lsions cutanes, dapparition brutale, multifocales ou
gnralises. Les 11 chats ont t euthanasis ou sont morts 2 mois aprs lapparition des signes cliniques. Sept
chats prsentaient des modifications histologiques et des signes cliniques vocateurs dune alopcie paranoplasique et trois chats prsentaient une dermatite dinterface voquant un rythme polymorphe ou une dermatite
exfoliative associe un thymome. Les lsions histologiques taient peu spcifiques dans un cas, qui a t euthanasi 2 semaines aprs un pisode de prurit svre et dalopcie. Pour trois chats, les levures ont t retrouves
sur des zones localises (deux fois au niveau du menton, une fois sur les coussinets) sans implication clinique.
Un chat prsentait la fois des Malassezia spp. et une dmodcie cutane. Ces observations suggrent que la
prsence de levures Malassezia lexamen histopathologique de lsions multifocales ou gnralises doit saccompagner dune recherche approfondie de tumeur interne.
Resumen La dermatitis por Malassezia spp., una presentacin infrecuente en gatos, se ha asociado previamente
a inmunosupresin y a procesos malignos internos. Este estudio evalua la presencia e importancia de Malassezia
spp. en las muestras de biopsia cutnea remitidas para examen histopatolgico. Se revisaron quinientas cincuenta
muestras de biopsia cutnea teidas con hematoxilina/eosina, remitidas para estudio histopatolgico entre enero
de 1999 y noviembre de 2000. Quince muestras (2.7%) contenan organismos de Malassezia en el estrato crneo
de la epidermis o el infundbulo folicular. Once de 15 gatos presentaban con lesiones de forma aguda de distribucin multifocal a generalizada. Los 11 gatos fueron eutanasiados o murieron durante los 2 meses siguientes
al inicio de los sntomas clnicos. Siete gatos tenan cambios dermatopatolgicos y sntomas clnicos que apoyaban una alopecia paraneoplsica, y tres gatos tenan una dermatitis de la unin dermo-epidrmica sugestiva
de eritema multiforme o dermatosis asociada a timoma. Los cambios histopatolgicos fueron inespecficos en
un gato que fue eutanasiado 2 semanas despus del inicio de prurito intenso y alopecia. En tres gatos, se encontraron Malassezia spp. en reas localizadas (dos barbillas, una almohadilla) y parecan no tener consecuencias
en su salud general. Un gato tena Malassezia spp. asociada demodicosis cutnea. Estos hallazgos sugieren que
la presencia de la levadura Malassezia en muestras dermatopatolgicas de lesiones multifocales o generalizadas,
debera mover a realizar una analtica completa para investigar una posible neoplasia interna.
Zusammenfassung Fnfhundertundfnfzig mit Hmatoxylin und Eosin gefrbte Hautbiopsieproben, die
zwischen Januar 1999 und November 2000 eingereicht wurden, wurden untersucht. Fnfzehn (2.7%) eingereichte
Proben enthielten Malassezia Organismen im Stratum corneum der Epidermis oder im follikulren Infundibulum. Elf dieser 15 Katzen wurden mit akuten, multifokalen bis generalisierten Hautlsionen vorgestellt. Alle 11
Katzen wurden euthanasiert oder starben innerhalb von 2 Monaten nach Beginn der klinischen Symptomatik.
Sieben Katzen hatten dermatopathologische Vernderungen und Symptome, die mit paraneoplastischer Alopezie in Einklang standen und 3 Katzen hatten eine auf Erythema multiforme oder Thymom-assoziierte Dermatitis
hindeutende Entzndung der dermo-epidermalen Grenzzone. Bei einer Katze, die 2 Wochen nach Beginn von
2002 Blackwell Science Ltd, Veterinary Dermatology, 13, 714

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Elizabeth A. Mauldin et al.


hochgradigem Juckreiz und Alopezie euthanasiert wurde, waren die histopathologischen Vernderungen nicht
diagnostisch. Bei drei Katzen wurden Malassezia spp. lokalisiert gefunden (2 am Kinn, eine am Fussballen) und
schienen den Gesundheitszustand nicht zu beeinflussen. Eine Katze hatte Malassezia spp. assoziiert mit
Demodikose. Diese Befunde deuten darauf hin, dass Malassezia Hefen in dermatopathologischen Proben von
multifokalen oder generalisierten Lsionen eine grndliche diagnostische Aufarbeitung fr internal Neoplasien
prompt sollten.

2002 Blackwell Science Ltd, Veterinary Dermatology, 13, 714