When do we have to perform a Fungal Culture?
Many cases of alopecia and scaling, both generalised and focal, include fungal infection with dermatophytes (ringworm) as one of the differential diagnoses. Fungal culture is often performed as part of a work of cases such as these, particularly in cats.
We use a special type of dual culture containing Dermatophyte Test Medium (DTM) and Enhanced Sporulation Agar (ESA). The DTM turns red in the presence of a dermatophyte and the ESA encourages the formation of special spores, called macroconidia. This enables us to determine the species of dermatophyte causing the infection from its shape and number of cells when viewed under a microscope. It is surprising how many cases of ringworm in cats can look like other skin diseases, so many of them will have a fungal culture as part of their work-up.