Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Dermatophilus congolensis

Synonym(s): D. congolensis

Contributor(s): Susan Dawson




  • Order: Actinomycetales.
  • Genus: Dermatophilus
  • Species: congolensis.


  • Gr: derma - skin; philos - loving, dear.

Active Forms

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Clinical Effects



  • Reservoir: skin of animals, especially cattle, sheep, goats and horses.


  • Reproductive units are motile coccoid zoospores.
  • Germinate to form a germ tube, which elongates and thickens.
  • Germ tube divides transversely and longitudinally, forming strand several cell layers thick, enclosed in gelatinous sheath.
  • Cells differentiate into multiflagellated zoospores.
  • Filaments disintegrate to liberate zoospores.


  • Direct and indirect contact.
  • Biting arthropods.
  • Trauma.

Pathological effects

  • Opportunistic cause of subcutaneous infection in cats.
  • No association with immunocompromized cats.
  • Granulomatous or pyogranulomatous lesions may protect organisms from immune response.
  • Lesions consist of areas of necrosis surrounded by degenerate neutrophils, then lymphocytes, plasma cells and epithelioid cells.
  • Opportunistic infection via minor abrasions or penetrating wounds.
  • Parasitic infestation and damp conditions predispose to infection.
  • Many cats have known exposure to reservoir animals.
  • Pyogranulomatous or granulomatous lesions.
  • Four main types of lesion:
    • Lingual and tonsillar crypt granulomas.
    • Granulomatous lymphadenitis with fistulation , often involving popliteal lymph nodes.
    • Cutaneous dermatophilosis (cutaneous streptothricosis).
    • Other lesions, eg in bladder serosa.

Other Host Effects

  • Normal inhabitants of skin of horses, cattle and sheep.


Control via animal

  • Minimize skin trauma.
  • Surgical excision of granulation tissue may be required.

Control via chemotherapies

Control via environment

  • Minimize exposure to biting arthropods, rain, and infected farm animals or horses.


  • None.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from VetMedResource and PubMed.
  • Miller R I, Ladds P W, Hayes D P & Trueman K F (1983) Probable dermatophilosis in two cats. Aust Vet J 60, 155-156.
  • Jones R T (1976) Subcutaneous infection with Dermatophilus congolensis in a cat. J Comp Pathol 86, 415-421.
  • Baker G J et al (1972) Oral dermatophilosis in a cat - a case report. JSAP 13, 649-654.
  • O'Hara P J & Cordes D O (1963) Granulomata caused by Dermatophilus in two cats. N Z Vet J 11, 151-154.