Snake fungal disease caused by Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola in a free-ranging mud snake (Farancia abacura).J Vet Diagn Invest. 2016 Nov; 28(6):709-713.JV
Snake fungal disease is an emerging infectious disease caused by the fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola leading to severe dermatitis and facial disfiguration in numerous free-ranging and captive snakes. A free-ranging mud snake (Farancia abacura) from Bulloch County, Georgia, was presented for autopsy because of facial swelling and emaciation. Extensive ulceration of the skin, which was especially severe on the head, and retained shed were noted on external examination. Microscopic examination revealed severe heterophilic dermatitis with intralesional fungal hyphae and arthroconidia consistent with O. ophiodiicola A skin sample incubated on Sabouraud dextrose agar yielded a white-to-tan powdery fungal culture that was confirmed to be O. ophiodiicola by polymerase chain reaction and sequence analysis. Heavy infestation with adult tapeworms (Ophiotaenia faranciae) was present within the intestine. Various bacterial and fungal species, interpreted to either be secondary invaders or postmortem contaminants, were associated with oral lesions. Although the role of these other organisms in the overall health of this individual is not known, factors such as concurrent infections or immunosuppression should be considered in order to better understand the overall manifestation of snake fungal disease, which remains poorly characterized in its host range and geographic distribution.