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Wildlife Surveillance
Oral candidiasis in European hedgehogs

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Candida albicans is part of the normal microbial flora of many mammal species. It is recorded as a commensal of the digestive tract of the hedgehog (Smith 1964). It can be an opportunist pathogen; with predisposing conditions it changes in morphology to branching filamentous hyphae that can invade mucosal surfaces. The predisposing conditions include immunosuppressive disorders, malnutrition and prolonged use of antibiotics and/or corticosteroids. Candidiasis is rarely reported in wild mammals apart from primates and is a well-recognised zoonosis. However, it has been reported as causing footpad ulceration in Central African hedgehogs (Erinaceus albiventris) (English and others 1975). Heavy rainfall was indicated in this case as a possible predisposing factor. It also caused intestinal candidiasis in a pet African pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris) (Campbell 1997). In this case underlying malnutrition was suspected.

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