Occurrence of Malassezia species in Persian and domestic short hair cats with and without otitis externa.

Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 72(3):293 (2010) PMID 19952510

The yeasts of the Malassezia genus are opportunistic microorganisms in the skin and auricular canal of human and animals, mainly cats, and can cause otitis externa and dermatitis disorders. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of different species of Malassezia in the external ear canal of cats with and without otitis externa. Thirty-one normal cats and 82 animals with otitis externa were clinically examined. Sterile cotton swabs were used to collect specimens from the external ear canal and streaked onto the surface of Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA) and modified Dixon agar. Malassezia yeasts were isolated from 95.1% and 48.4% of the cats with and without otitis externa, respectively. The rate of isolation in affected animals versus normals was highly significant (P<0.05). Out of the 137 isolates obtained from cats with otitis, 57.7% were identified as M. pachydermatis (with significant frequency; P<0.05), 15.4% as M. obtusa, 11.4% as M. globosa, 7.3% as M. slooffiae, 4.1% as M. sympodialis, 2.4% as M. furfur and 1.6% as M. restricta. Malassezia species were frequently isolated from subjects with age range from 1 to 4 years old (42.7%). Our finding of Malassezia isolates indicated that feline otitis externa can be associated with lipid-dependent Malassezia species in addition to the non lipid- dependent species M. pachydermatis.