Achlya sp. Dermatitis in an American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
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Oomycetes are water moulds in the kingdom Protista and are not considered true fungi due to the structural lack of chitin and ergosterol. Many oomycetes are pathogenic, such as Pythium spp., and many fish are prone to Saprolegnia spp. infections, particularly in stressful farming situations. A juvenile American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) was presented for necropsy examination with white, gelatinous, raised lesions over ulcerated regions of skin on the limbs and tail. The alligator came from a hatchery with age-divided enclosures, and several of the animals within the same enclosure showed similar lesions. Numerous hyphae with non-parallel walls and sparse, non-dichotomous branching were observed histologically on Gomori's methenamine silver staining within the ulcers. Although no organisms were detectable via polymerase chain reaction testing of fresh or formalin-fixed tissues, the organism was cultured and sequenced as an Achlya sp., an infrequently identified oomycete. To the author's knowledge, this is the first description of an oomycete infection within the class Reptilia.
author list (cited authors)
Lau, C. H., Snook, E. R., Swinford, A. K., & Bryan, L. K.