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Rodents and lagomorphs
First report of dermatophilosis in wild European red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris)
  1. Paul Holmes1,
  2. David J Everest2,
  3. Simon Spiro2,3,
  4. Mark Wessels4 and
  5. Craig Shuttleworth5
  1. 1Shrewsbury Veterinary Investigation Centre, Animal and Plant Health Agency, Shrewsbury, SY1 4HD, UK
  2. 2Pathology and Animal Sciences, APHA Weybridge, Woodham Lane, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 3NB, UK
  3. 3Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA, UK
  4. 4Departemnt of Histopathology, Finn Pathologists, Diss, UK
  5. 5School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK
  1. Correspondence to Paul Holmes; paul.holmes{at}


The carcases of two wild red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) from Anglesey, North Wales, which had severe skin lesions, were presented to the Animal and Plant Health Agency. One was found dead in December 2017 and the second was found moribund in January 2018 but died 2 hours later. Both were examined at postmortem. The affected skin consisted of raised, firm, crusty lesions with pale subcutaneous necrotic tissue over the head particularly the face, eyelids and forehead. In addition, one had similar lesions on the scrotal and perineal area and along one hind leg extending to the foot. Postmortem examination, bacteriology and histopathology confirmed the presence of disease due to Dermatophilus congolensis with typical gross and pathological lesions. Squirrelpox virus was not detected. Here, we report the first description of dermatophilosis in European red squirrels, another important differential diagnosis of skin disease in a nationally declining population.

  • dermatophytosis
  • disease surveillance
  • red squirrel (sciurus vulgaris)
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  • Contributors CS received the two dead squirrels and submitted them for postmortem examination and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. PH undertook the postmortem examinations, coordinated the laboratory investigations and reports and completed the manuscript. DJE carried out the transmission electron microscopy and contributed to the manuscript. SS, MW and Carlo Bianco carried out the histopathology and contributed to the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article.

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