Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Microsporum gypseum

Synonym(s): M. gypseum

Contributor(s): Stephen Barr, Susan Dawson




  • Genus: Microsporum.
  • Species: gypseum.


  • Greek: mikro - small; spora - sowing; seed.

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Clinical Effects



  • Soil: spores may persist for years.


  • Direct contact with fungal spores in environment.
  • Usually enters via defect in stratum corneum.

Pathological effects

  • Antibody and cell-mediated hypersensitivity may contribute to lesions.
  • Hypersensitivity and inflammatory reactions cause fungus to move gradually to unaffected skin   →   circular lesion with healing at center and inflammation at edge.
  • Cell-mediated immunity probably decisive in recovery and immunity.
  • Recovered cats resist reinfection, although may show more acute and intense local hypersensitivity reactions on exposure.
  • Fungus localizes in keratinized epidermis and utilizes keratin.
  • Proteolytic enzymes (elastase, collagenase and keratinase)   →   invasion and weakening of hair cuticle.
  • Hyphae grow into hair follicles and invade growing hairs.
  • Stimulates hypertrophy of the stratum corneum with keratinization   →   scurf and hair loss.
  • Severe disease may occur in malnorished kittens or immunosuppressed cats.
  • Lesions expand by centrifugal growth into unaffected skin.

Other Host Effects

  • Can infect cats subclinically.
  • Persian cats Persian longhair appear to be predisposed to more severe disease.


Control via animal

Wear gloves.

Control via chemotherapies

Control via environment

  • Treat in-contact cats.
  • Identify and isolate infected cats in colonies.
  • Treat infected and in-contact cats.
  • Remove spores from environment by cleaning.


  • Killed microsporum vaccine for prophylactic and therapeutic use in cats is available (Fel-O-Vax - Fort Dodge). Field trials claim to reduce size of lesions. No controlled studies to demonstrate efficacy.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Romano C, Valenti L & Barbara R (1997) Dermatophytes isolated from asymptomatic stray cat. Mycoses‚Äč 40 (11-12), 471-472 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Scott D W, Miller W H & Griffin C E (1995) Small Animal Dermatology. 5th edn. Philadelphia: Wolfe Publishing. ISBN 0 7216 4850 9.
  • Medleau L & Moriello K A (1992) Feline dermatophytosis. In: Current Veterinary Therapy XI Ed R W Kirk. Philadelphia: W B Saunders. pp 547-549. ISBN 0 7216 3293 9.