First report of dermatophilosis in wild European red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris)

19 Jul 2019

Holmes, P., Everest, D. J., Spiro, S., Wessels, M., Shuttleworth, C.

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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.