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The fungus Rasamsonia argillacea was first described in 1969 (Stolk and others 1969). Its optimal growth temperature is between 37°C and 40°C (Houbraken and others 2012). It has been found in hot environments, but also in soil and air (Yaguchi and others 1994, Yaguchi and others 2005, Houbraken and others 2012). Its geographic distribution is widespread (Yaguchi and others 1994, Yaguchi and others 2005, Grant and others 2009, Barton and others 2010, Giraud and others 2010, De Ravin and others 2011, Machouart and others 2011, Houbraken and others 2012, Valentin and others 2012).
R argillacea has only been reported as a clinical pathogen in immunosuppressed human beings: nine with chronic granulomatous disease from the USA (De Ravin and others 2011) and France (Machouart and others 2011), and one Austrian patient with graft-versus-host disease (Valentin and others 2012). The only veterinary case reported was a German shepherd dog from the USA (Grant and others 2009).
This report describes the first case of mycosis due to R argillacea in animals in Europe, and the first case in animals or human beings in the UK.
A six-year-old male neutered, German shepherd dog, presented with an 18-month progressive history of hind limb stiffness, spinal pain and intermittent dermatitis. Recent polyuria, polydipsia and breathing difficulties were also reported. There was no history of overseas travelling. Treatment with firocoxib (Previcox; Merial) and tramadol hydrochloride (Tramadol; Tillomed Laboratories) did not resolve the signs.
Blood work showed mild eosinophilia (1.9×109/l; reference range, 0.1–1.3), hypercalcaemia (1.48 mmol/l; reference range, 1.18–1.40) and hyperphosphataemia (1.91 mmol/l; reference range, 0.80–1.73).
Radiographs revealed multiple irregular thoracic and lumbar vertebral endplates compatible with discospondylitis (Fig 1a). A diffuse broncho-interstitial lung pattern, suggestive of pneumonia, and irregular sternebrae endplates were seen on thoracic radiographs (Fig 2). Abdominal ultrasound was unremarkable.