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Clinico-therapeutic studies on bovine dermatophilosis.


Dermatophilosis is an acute, subacute or chronic exudative dermatitis of animals caused by Dermatophilus congolensis and characterised by exudation, matting of hairs and formation of crusts and thick scabs (Zaria,1993). It has been reported by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) as an important bacterial diseases affected cattle and other animals in tropical and subtropical regions (Hashemi Tabar et al., 2004). The disease is of great economic importance resulting in severe economic losses due to death and culling of severely affected animals, decreased milk production, increased somatic cell count, decreased semen quality, inferior wool and leather quality and increased treatment expenses (Award et al., 2008). Dermatophilosis has been reported among cattle, buffaloes and goats in India (Sharma et al., 1992; Singh and Murthy, 1978). Recently Dermatophilus congolensis was identified as the etiological agent of a widespread lower leg dermatitis condition among cattle, which is called as pododermatitis (Tresamol, 2012). There is considerable variation in distribution of lesions in different animals and localities and a variety of treatment protocols are adopted with variable success. Accurate diagnosis and early treatment are found to be useful for better clinical recovery. The present study was undertaken to identify the clinical signs with frequency of distribution of lesions and to select the most suitable treatment for bovine dermatophilosis.

Materials and Methods

A total of 100 cattle presented with skin lesions were selected for study and subjected to detailed clinical, bacteriological, mycological and parasitological examinations and dermatophilosis was confirmed in 82 cattle based on direct microscopical examination and culture of skin scabs. Skin scrapings were also subjected to direct microscopical examination with 10% Potassium hydroxide to rule out any fungal or mange infections. Type of lesions and distribution of lesions on various parts of body of animals were recorded. Animals positive for dermato-philosis were divided into six groups and treated with topical application of antifungal agents, i.e. Miconazole, systemic antifungal agent Griseofulvin (8mg/kg b.wt.), topical Tr. iodine+ Glycerine combination, Combination of Tr. Iodine, Glycerine and Parenteral antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin @5mg/kg b.wt. i/m for 5 days, Oxytetracycline LA @ 20 mg/kg b.wt. two doses on alternate days or Penicillin streptomycin combination (Streptomycin Sulphate 2.5 g, Procaine Penicillin G 15,00,000 units and Penicillin G Sodium 5,00,000 units) i/m for 3 days.

Results and Discussion

Detailed clinical examination of affected animals revealed characteristic exudative dermatitis lesions with formation of thick scabs, crusts and fissures with matted hair at their bases. Similar types of lesions were also described by most workers irrespective of species of animals affected (Koney, 1996; Quinn et al., 2011).There was excessive matting of hairs with exudates from lesions presenting paint brush appearance. The detached scabs with hairs also resembled typical paint brush appearance. The hairs were unaffected and found penetrating through scabs holding them in place.







Out of 82 animals, only 10 animals had extensive generalised lesions in different parts of body (Fig. 1). Generalised infections were more common in animals in later stages of pregnancy or early lactation. The stress and immunosuppression during pregnancy and lactation stages might have resulted in generalised disease in 10 animals. The frequency of distribution of lesions in various parts of body of affected animals. There was considerable variation in areas of body affected by D. congolensis in the present study compared to previous reports from different countries. The lesions were most common in hind limbs and fore limbs (Fig. 2) followed by udder, inguinal region, perineum (Fig. 3) and ventral abdomen. Koney (1 996) also observed early lesions of dermatophilosis on animal's extremities especially lower limbs in exotic breeds of cattle. Frequent finding of lesions on lower limbs might be due to prolonged wetting of these areas due to water accumulation in uneven floor of sheds in housed cattle, frequent washing of animals or standing in water logged areas for prolonged period during grazing of animals in paddy fields. The lesions on udder and inguinal region were mostly moist with thin scabs and folded skin (Fig. 4). Lesions were reported on neck region, head, around ears, axilla and very rarely on the back. The lesions were confined to muzzle region in a one week old calf (Fig. 6). Lesions on muzzle and face in calves with dermatophilosis were also reported by Pal (1995). Majority of workers observed dermatophilosis lesions more frequently on back of affected cattle and they suggested that this area was more subjected to excessive wetness by rain water (Abdel-Halim et al., 1995). But lesions on back were not frequent in present study, reported only in two animals. This might be due to difference in management system such as housing of animals during rainy season with less exposure to rain. Dalis et al. (2009) also reported more frequent lesions on back, groin and udder and less frequently on chest, legs and head region. Variations in frequency of lesion distribution usually correlated with those areas of skin predisposed to infection as stated by Quinn et al. (2011). Hence eliminating the predisposing factors that reduce or permeate the natural skin barrier is important in preventing incidence of dermatophilosis.

Antibiogram of 75 isolates of D. congolensis revealed Ciprofloxacin and Enrofloxacin as the most sensitive antibiotics followed by Gentamicin, Tetracycline, Ceftriaxone, Streptomycin, Chloramphenicol, Ampicillin, Amoxicillin, Amoxyclav, Co-trimoxazole and Penicillin.

All animals recovered irrespective of treatments adopted and no fatality was reported in the present study. In animals with localised lesions, remission of clinical signs was recorded by 1-2 weeks. But in animals with severe generalised lesions complete cure was observed by 4-6 weeks. Rapid remission of clinical signs and better recovery was noticed in animals treated early in course of disease. The response was slower in animals in the chronic stage of disease and they required prolonged treatment. Even though spontaneous healing was reported in mild cases, treatment was not only effective in early, mild cases but also useful among moderately and heavily affected cattle as suggested by Hamid and Musa (2009).

When clinical response was compared, better and rapid cure was observed with a combination of parenteral antibiotic and topical application of Tr. iodine and Glycerine. Topical applications alone were not effective in three cases, which might be because of inability of topical preparations to reach the organism in deep epidermis as suggested by Zaria (1993). When the treatment response with three antibiotics i.e long acting Oxytetracycline, Ciprofloxacin and Penicillin Streptomycin combination along with Tr. Iodine and Glycerine (1:1) was compared better response was found with Ciprofloxacin and Oxyteracycline compared to Penicillin and Streptomycin combination.


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P.V. Tresamol (1), M.R. Saseendranath and K. Vinodkumar

Department of Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine

College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences

Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU)


Thrissur--680651 (Kerala)

(1.) Professor and Corresponding author. E-mail:
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Title Annotation:Clinical Article
Author:Tresamol, P.V.; Saseendranath, M.R.; Vinodkumar, K.
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Report
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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