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What are Sporotrichosis?

Sporotrichosis is a sporadic, chronic disease caused by the organism, Sporothrix schenckii that is found on timber, vegetation and in the soil. Sporotrichosis is a rare but potentially fatal fungal disease that cats and humans can contract, as the fungus easily enters the body through open sores on the skin. Sporotrichosis commonly appears as localized lesions of the nose, ears, and face of the feline, but can affect other portions of the body if left untreated. 

Symptoms of Sporotrichosis in Cats

The symptoms a feline may experience depend on the type of Sporotrichosis the cat has contracted. 

Lymphocutaneous Sporotrichosis

  • Small, firm skin bumps
  • 1-3 cm in diameter
  • Ulcerating lesions with discharge 
  • Lesion are commonly seen on the pinnae (tips of the ears), nose and head. 
  • Depression 
  • Listlessness 
  • Fever 

Cutaneous Sporotrichosis

  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Lymph disease 
  • Dermal lesions
  • Skin crusts with drainage 

Disseminated Sporotrichosis

  • Fever
  • Osteoarticular sporotrichosis: when the fungal infection spreads to the joints and bones.
  • Sporotrichosis meningitis: when the fungal infection spreads to the nervous system and brain. 
  • Anorexia 
  • Cachexia (weight loss) 


The fungal disease, sporotrichosis, can be grouped into three forms: Lymphocutaneous, cutaneous, disseminated. 

  • Lymphocutaneous: the most common form of sporotrichosis, lymphocutaneous, is characterized by small, firm subcutaneous nodules. 
  • Cutaneous: characterized by multicentric lesions that tend to remain localized. 
  • Disseminated: a rare form of sporotrichosis, disseminated is potentially fatal and often results from neglect to lymphocutaneous or cutaneous stages of the fungal infection. 

Causes of Sporotrichosis in Cats

A cat can become infected with sporotrichosis by coming into direct contact with the organism through wounds on the skin. As the fungus is found on various plants, a can become infected by penetrating foreign bodies (plant scratching the skin) or consuming one of these host plants. However, cats have a higher rate of contracting the infection if they are inflicted with a puncture wound, which gives the sporotrichosis organism a chance to enter the body. Cats that pose a risk for contracting the fungal disease include:

  • Fighting male cats
  • Multiple household cats 
  • Immunosuppressive felines
  • Felines around decaying organic debris 

Diagnosis of Sporotrichosis in Cats

Sporotrichosis in cats is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms associated with this disease mimic that of other cutaneous conditions. Therefore, your veterinarian will want to begin the diagnostic process by reviewing your feline’s medical history and asking you a series of questions about the feline’s recent activities. Recent cat fights, outdoor exposure, and contact with decomposing debris, such as garden compost, will be helpful in the veterinarian’s diagnosis. 

In order to eliminate other possible conditions causing dermal lesions, your veterinarian will want to perform a differential diagnosis. In order to pinpoint your cat’s condition to a sporotrichosis infection, the vet will first want to rule out the possibility of a drug eruption, parasite allergy, immune-mediated disease, lupus, squamous cell carcinoma, or a bacterial pyoderma. Therefore, blood work, a urinalysis, and skin cytology will be performed on the feline to further examine his/her condition. 

Sporotrichosis has a distinctive cytological feature compared to other lesion-causing skin diseases, which is often diagnosed via cytological evaluation of the skin sample. A sample can be obtained through a skin scraping, smear of a specimen swab, ulcerated skin impressions, or aspiration of the nodule or present abscess. 

Treatment of Sporotrichosis in Cats

Treating felines for fungal disease of the skin has proven to be somewhat of a challenge for veterinary practitioners. There is a variety of medical drug therapies a vet can use, however, many are not approved for animal use and have notable adverse effects. Talk to your veterinarian about possible adverse reactions caused by the drug chosen for treating your cat’s sporotrichosis and the appropriate way to monitor the feline at home. Therapeutic treatments can last anywhere from three weeks to a month and your vet may choose to continue well after the apparent clinical cure. Traditional drugs used to treat cats with Sporotrichosis include the following: 

  • Sodium iodide 
  • Potassium iodide 
  • Ketoconazole 
  • Itraconazole 
  • Terbinafine 

Recovery of Sporotrichosis in Cats

Follow all veterinary directions and complete the duration of therapeutic treatment, even if the cat is no longer showing signs of illness. Sporotrichosis is commonly treated for at least a week past the point of apparent cure to ensure the fungal spores are removed entirely from the body, so make sure to complete the entire treatment plan. Adverse drug effects are common in cats receiving treatments for sporotrichosis, therefore, your veterinarian will ask for you to monitor the patient carefully at home. A feline showing any clinical signs of adverse effects will need to be taken to the vet clinic right away, as these adverse effects can be fatal. 

Sporotrichosis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Abang Ct
10 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Ulcerating lesions with discharge

Hi.. my cat has been diagnose with Spirotrichosis. We have been giving him Itraconazole 100g for almost two months. Unfortunately, he is getting weaker as he did not eat much nowadays.
He has a wound on his nose and it keeps on bleeding and sometime his lips as well.. apart from that he also has a runny nose and he kept on sneezing.
Is there anything else that I can do to help ease his pain? And maybe to help him to breath better? And is there any other medication that I could use on its wound? And perhaps to stop the bleeding.

Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
Itraconazole is considered the treatment of choice for Sporotrichosis with two months of treatment being a standard length of time. Any ulcers or lesions on the skin may be treated with an antiseptic and kept clear of any dirt or debris. If there has been no improvement over the last two months, you should return to your Veterinarian for a check up especially if Abang is getting weaker. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/generalized-conditions/fungal-infections/sporotrichosis

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Domestic longhair
3 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms


Medication Used


My cat was diagnosed with sporothricosis more than a month ago. It started with a wound on his tail. I tried using normal ointment to treat it but the hole keeps on getting bigger so I brought him to the vet and there he was diagnosed with sporo. I started him on sporanox and have been diligently cleaning and treating his wound. It turned out great as the hole closed up after a month and all his lumps on his body were getting smaller. But for the past week, all of a sudden the lumps started appearing more and getting bigger. Even on his tail (his closed wound) there were lumps. He also started limping and I could see that the lumps were hurting him because he would cry out in pain everytime I touched it. Brought him to the vet again the other day and they started him on antibiotics to see whether the lumps would shrink. But it's not shrinking and more lumps would start appearing. And I noticed he's eating very little and pooping very little as well. I'm very worried. What should I do?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1370 Recommendations
Sporotrichosis can have a lengthy treatment period, and often needs systemic anti fungal medications. Sansa may need to be on an anti fungal medications, and the treatment times can be weeks to months to clear that infection. It would be best to follow up with your veterinarian to see what additional medications she may need.

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American Shorthair
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Hi, I am based in Singapore (a tropical country) and the cat I recently rescued is diagnosed with Sporotrichosis and this is the first-second case in Singapore which I was informed by my vet. She is being isolated at the moment & receiving Itraconazole as treatment. I understand it is zoonotic and I have another cat staying in the same household. May I get some advice on how to ensure the healthy cat is safe? How does Sporotrichosis spread and what are the chances even though the impacted cat is isolated now? I make sure my hands are disinfected before and after I touch her.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
Strict hygiene rules should be followed and isolation practices carried out; you should thoroughly wash your hands before and after with an approved antiseptic and use disposable gloves when handling the infected cat, no snuggling etc… Itraconazole for three or four weeks of treatment is considered the treatment of choice. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/generalized-conditions/fungal-infections/sporotrichosis www.abcdcatsvets.org/sporotrichosis/

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