Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Protothecosis

Contributor(s): Susan Dawson, Rhea Morgan

Introduction

  • Cause: cutaneous nodules caused by Prototheca wickerhamii  Prototheca wicherhamii.
  • Organism is an achlorophyllous algae that is widespread around the world.
  • Signs: cutaneous nodules, ulcerations, fistulae.
  • Diagnosis: histopathology, culture.
  • Treatment: surgical excision, no effective medical therapy.
  • Prognosis: fair to guarded.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Prototheca wickerhamii.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Infection may involve altered cellular immunity or immunosuppression.

Specific

  • Potential exposure to the organism in sewage or animal waste but disease is rare.
  • Exposure to contaminated water, soil or food.

Pathophysiology

  • Exact route of infection is not well defined, but the organism probably enters the skin through wounds, abrasions, etc.
  • Most cats with infection are in good health, so the reason for multiplication of the organism in cutaneous tissues is unknown.

Timecourse

  • Incubation unknown.
  • Duration often weeks to months.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Dillberger J R, Homer B, Daubert D et al (1988) Protothecosis in two catsJ Am Vet Med Assoc 192 (11), 1557-1559 PubMed.
  • Coloe P J & Allison J F (1980) Protothecosis in a catJ Am Vet Med Assoc 180 (1), 78-79 PubMed.
  • Kaplan W, Chandler F W, Holzinger E A et al (1976) Protothecosis in a cat: first recorded case. Sabouraudia 14 (3), 281-286 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Hribernik TH, Hoskins JD (1997) Rickettsial infections. In: Morgan RV (ed) Handbook of Small Animal Practice. 3rd Ed. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, pp 1163-1186.
  • Greene CE (1998) Protothecosis. In: Greene CE (ed) Infectious Disease of the Dog and Cat. 2nd Ed. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, pp 430-435.


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