- What is this disease
- Causes of occurrence
- How to treat lichen in chinchillas
- Can a person get infected from a sick animal
In recent years, chinchillas have been actively winning the love of breeders. These animals conquer with their mischievous and good-natured disposition, ease of care. However, like any other living creature, chinchillas are subject to many ailments, among which dermatophytosis (lichen) is quite common, which, if not recognized in time, can turn into a serious problem in just a few days. In order to successfully defeat this ailment, it is necessary to understand the main features and causes of this disease.
What is this disease
Lichen or dermatophytosis is an infectious lesion of the skin and hairline of animals caused by a variety of pathogenic fungi. Pathogens are conditionally divided into local microflora, which is always found on the skin of rodents (zooanthropophilic), and fungi that live in the environment freely (geophilic). Lichen is often the collective name for fungal infestations, which differ in common clinical manifestations.
One of these is focal nodular rash, which gradually turns into inflammation of the skin with characteristic spots-papules. Lichen is often not accompanied by pain or other unpleasant sensations, therefore it is quite easily tolerated by chinchillas.
Causes of occurrence
The reasons for the occurrence of lichen in a chinchilla are many. The most common ones are:
- Decrease in protective functions of an organism;
- Constant stress;
- Poor diet (lack of important vitamins and minerals in food);
- Poor feed;
- High humidity in the cell;
- Direct contact with infected individuals;
- Use of contaminated bedding, food, or water;
- Non-compliance with sanitary standards when breeding rodents.
Identifying lichen in a chinchilla is quite simple. Fungal infection manifests itself:
- Focal lesions of the skin, the hair on the affected areas becomes brittle or falls out;
- Dryness and peeling of the skin;
- A dense crust on the skin;
- Purulent discharge from the affected skin (in rare cases).
Diagnosis of this disease is not difficult, therefore, an examination for the presence of pathology can be carried out in almost any veterinary clinic. To identify dermatophytosis, two radically different approaches are used:
- Wood Lamp Study – the rodent is brought into a dark room and illuminated by a mercury lamp using ultraviolet radiation: in the presence of a fungal infection, the affected areas acquire a light green glow;
- Microbiological examination – samples of exfoliating skin and hair are taken from an allegedly sick individual, which are carefully examined under a microscope, the presence of a fungus can be said if fungal mycelium and numerous spores are found on the samples.
How to treat lichen in chinchillas
Despite the fact that modern veterinary medicine has enough knowledge and all kinds of medicines, it is not always possible to overcome the fungus simply and effectively. The fact is that the fungus that causes lichen has a rather high viability, therefore, even after high-quality treatment, there is a high probability of repeated invasion by spores and mycelium preserved on the coat and the inner surface of the cell. That is why the treatment of dermatophytosis must be approached comprehensively.
Disinfection of housing and equipment
Thorough disinfection is one of the main conditions for a decisive victory over lichen. After the defeat of the rodent, the fungus begins to multiply actively. For this, a dangerous microorganism produces spores that are resistant to many antiseptics and temperatures. They infect water, food, litter and most surfaces of the cell and the surrounding area, which will certainly lead to repeated invasion. In addition, do not forget about the fragments of infected skin and hair, which often covers the whole cell, except for spores they contain the mycelium of the pathogen, which can instantly affect the body of chinchillas.
A variety of chemically active solutions are used to disinfect cells. They are used in pure form or diluted with water on the basis of the manufacturer’s recommendations, treated with a working solution of the cage, drinking bowl, feeder and other interior details. If possible, the surfaces around the cell are also treated, since the fungal particles successfully spread outside.
The most popular among these cleaning products for domestic animal lovers are:
Since lichen refers to infections of a local nature, its pathogen often develops exclusively on the external integument, so the treatment of the disease consists in the use of external antibiotic agents to treat affected areas of the body. Most often used for these purposes:
- Exoderil – semi-viscous solution for external use. The drug is used to treat the affected areas and the skin around them 1 time per day for 14 days, but, if necessary, the duration of treatment is extended.
- Lamisil – spray for external treatment of the skin. The drug is used 1 time per day, for 7-10 days, for this it is sprayed evenly on the outbreak and nearby skin areas.
- Nystatin – antifungal antibiotic in tablet form. Apply the product externally, for this, the tablet is ground into powder, after which the affected areas are thoroughly rubbed with the resulting mixture. The procedure is carried out once a day for 10-14 days, but, if necessary, the treatment is extended.
- Chlorhexidine – external disinfectant. The drug is indispensable if the lichen has developed in the delicate and especially delicate areas of the body (near the mucous membranes, eyes, etc.). “Chlorhexidine” is used as a 0.5% aqueous solution, a cotton swab is impregnated with a disinfectant, and then problem skin and nearby areas are carefully treated with it. The procedure is carried out 1-2 times a day for 10 days, if necessary, extending to complete recovery of the animal.
If lichen is accompanied by a particularly severe damage to the body, in addition to the external remedies of the sick chinchilla, powerful oral antibiotics are indicated. Usually, Nizoral is used for these purposes. Enter it in a mixture with food or drinking water, in the calculation of 1/14 tablets per day. The duration of therapy depends on the complexity of the disease, but often ranges from 2 to 4 weeks.
Often, many owners of chinchillas resort to vaccinating their pet. The most common drug is Wackderm-F. Enter it intramuscularly, 0.2-0.5 ml (depending on the weight of the rodent). The procedure is carried out twice, with an interval of 10-15 days, but in advanced cases, the vaccine is administered three times.
Can a person get infected from a sick animal
Fungal infections are quite dangerous not only for the rodent’s organism, but also for its owner, despite the fact that fungal spores are traditional inhabitants of human and animal skin. After the transition to the active phase, the fungus instantly multiplies, braiding the surface of the tissues with its mycelium. After direct contact with the infected animal and the affected skin directly, part of the mycelium of the microorganism may appear on the surface of the human body.
Mycelium in the active phase instantly affects living tissue, regardless of the level of immunity of a living creature, so lichen is often transmitted from chinchillas to their owners. That is why, if your pet has undergone this ailment, it must be placed in the quarantine zone, and all manipulations with it should be carried out exclusively in protective medical gloves.
Lichen today is considered one of the most infectious and common ailments. This is due to the fact that the causative agent of the disease is highly viable and resistant to any atmospheric manifestations, which is why each animal must be protected from the causative agent of dermatophytosis. To do this, you need:
- Keep chinchilla in a dry, well-ventilated place (excessive moisture positively affects the activation of spore of the causative agent of lichen);
- Provide the pet with quality and clean food;
- The rodent diet should be made solely on the basis of general recommendations on the content of chinchillas;
- Use spacious cells with a sufficient amount of free space;
- Be sure to periodically clean the cell and carry out preventive disinfection (at least 1 time per month).
Lichen is a dangerous infection that affects not only domestic animals, but also humans. Today, there are many effective approaches to prevent dermatophytosis. But in order not to give the disease the slightest chance, it is imperative to take preventive measures to prevent the disease. Otherwise, lichen will become a serious problem that will turn the life of your beloved pet into a real test.
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