A. Garcês*, H. Fernandes, D. Salinas, R. Lopes, A. Silva, F. Sampaio, D. Duque and P. Brilhante-Simões
An adult Ouachita Map Turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis) was presented for consultation with multifocal, erosive and ulcerative lesions, multiple fissures on the plastron and shell, and dermatitis on the members and head. Samples of shell scrapings were collected for routine microbial culturing and Fusarium solani was isolated from the samples. To the author’s knowledge, this is the first reported case of F. solani associated with cutaneous and shell mycosis in this turtle species.
Key words: Graptemys ouachitensis; reptiles; fungi; dermatitis; Fusarium solani
Reptiles have more widely become family pets in recent years (Nardoni et al., 2012).
Turtles make up a large share portion of this population since they are easy to acquire in animal shops and their popularity has risen largely because of media influence, with movies and cartoons such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Nardoni et al., 2012). The Ouachita Map Turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis, Cagle, 1953) is an endemic semi-aquatic turtle species from the United States that is quite common among turtle keepers worldwide. They belong to the Emydidae family. Morphologically, the carapace is characterised by an olive to dark brown colouration, light yellowish markings with dark borders, and a row of low vertebral spines that is serrated on the posterior rim.
The plastron is creamy to yellow in colour and has a pattern of dark lines and swirls.
The body colour is greyish brown to blackish and is marked with yellowish stripes, and the head has light yellow spots in the eyes and jaw.
Turtles in captivity are prone to superficial, deep and systemic mycoses. Usually, these infections are a consequence of inadequate management, such as inappropriate terrariums, temperature, moisture, deficient nutrition, lack of UV light and poor water hygiene (Nardoni et al., 2012). The main affected system is the integumentary system and the etiologic agents usually are soil-inhabiting fungi (Cabañes et al., 1997; Schumacher, 2003). Fusarium species are common soil saprophyte and plant pathogens, that have been reported as pathogenic in some animals, including reptile species, particularly sea turtles (Cabañes et al., 1997; Cafarchia et al., 2020). This agent has been reported as the cause of cutaneous hyalohyphomycosis in the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta L.) (Nardoni et al., 2012), abscess in a Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) (Williams et al., 2012) and shell mycosis in a group of Hermann’s tortoises (Testudo hermanni) (Nardoni et al., 2012). In this short communication, the authors describe cutaneous and shell mycosis in an Ouachita Map Turtle (G. ouachitensis, Cagle, 1953) by Fusarium solani.
In May 2021, an adult Ouachita Map Turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis) was presented for consultation with multifocal, erosive and ulcerative lesions, multiple fissures on the plastron and shell, and dermatitis on the members and head. One ulcer on the dorsal part of the shell was 3 cm in diameter and the shell was destroyed, exposing the internal organs, with the presence of a yellowed mucoid exudate. The posterior left member also presented deep ulceration and the tail was amputated (Figure 1).
Samples of shell scrapings and exudates were collected for routine microbiological culture. The samples were inoculated on Sabouraud Dextrose Agar (BioMérieux, France) at 25ºC for mycological culture and on Blood and MacConkey Agar (BioMérieux, France) at 35ºC for aerobic bacteriological culture. On the fungal plates, fungal colonies developed with a diameter of 64–70 mm, white in colour, slightly flaky, loose, viscous and cottony. Micromorphology observation using Lactophenol Cotton Blue stain (Merck, Germany) showed an abundance of elongated monophialids with kidney-oval microconidia and macroconidia, robust, thick-walled and generally cylindrical, with parallel dorsal and ventral surfaces (between 3-5) for most of its length (Figure 2).
The fungus was identified as Fusarium solani, based on to its macroscopic and microscopic morphological characteristics. In the bacterial culture, the bacteria Micrococcus luteus and Raoultella planticola were isolated using the system (BioMérieux, VITEK2Compact® France).
Unfortunately, the animal was euthanised due to the severity of the lesions, and it was impossible to perform a post mortem examination or collect more samples. The lesions observed in this case were comparable with cases reported in sea turtles of skin mycoses by Fusarium spp. (Cabañes et al., 1997; Nardoni et al., 2012). In this case, the bacteria isolated were considered contaminants or opportunistic secondary infections due to the presence of the fungi. Micrococcus luteus and Raoultella planticola can be found in the environment and are rarely pathogenic (Li et al., 2019). The origin of this opportunistic infection is unknown, though inadequate management was likely responsible for the immunosuppressive state, with subsequent development of the mycotic infection due to the presence of F. solani in the tank and its opportunistic behaviour (Williams et al., 2012; Sáenz et al., 2020).
To the author’s knowledge, this is the first reported case of F. solani associated with cutaneous and shell mycosis in G. ouachitensis.
Cases of Fusarium solani associated with skin lesions have never been reported in this species. This case indicates that Fusarium spp. should be included as a possible aetiology in the differential diagnosis of skin lesions, not only in G. ouachitensis but also in other species of pet turtles.
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Prvo izvješće o mikozi kože i oklopa u Graptemys ouachitensis kornjače, (Ouachita Map, Cagle, 1953.) gljivicom Fusarium solani
Andreia GARCÊS, DVM, PhD, Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, Escola Superior Agrária de Viseu, Campus Politécnico, 3504-510 Viseu, Portugal, Cooperativa de Ensino Superior Politécnico e Universitário, CRL – CESPU, R. Central Gandra, Gandra, Portugal, CITAB – University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Quinta de Prados, Vila Real, Portugal; Helder FERNANDES, DVM, Clínica Veterinária Das Taipas Lda, Braga Portugal; Delsy SALINAS, INNO – Veterinary Laboratory, R. Cândido de Sousa Braga, Portugal; Ricardo LOPES, DVM, Cooperativa de Ensino Superior Politécnico e Universitário, CRL – CESPU, R. Central Gandra, Gandra, Portugal, INNO – Veterinary Laboratory, R. Cândido de Sousa Braga, Portugal; Augusto SILVA, DVM, Filipe SAMPAIO, DVM, Daniela DUQUE, DVM, INNO – Veterinary Laboratory, R. Cândido de Sousa, Braga, Portugal; Paula BRILHANTE-SIMÕES, DVM, Cooperativa de Ensino Superior Politécnico e Universitário, CRL -CESPU, R. Central Gandra, Gandra, Portugal
Odrasla Graptemys ouachitensis kornjača donesena je na pregled s multifokalnim, erozivnim i ulcerativnim lezijama, višestrukim pukotinama na plastronu i oklopu i dermatitisom na udovima i glavi. Prikupljeni su uzorci strugotina oklopa za rutinsku mikrobiološku kulturu. Iz uzoraka je izolirana Fusarium solani. Prema našim saznanjima, ovo je prvi prijavljeni slučaj F. solani povezan s mikozom kože i oklopa ove vrste kornjača.
Ključne riječi: Graptemys ouachitensis, gmazovi, gljivice, dermatitis, Fusarium solani