ISSN 2398-2942      

Dermatophilus congolensis


Synonym(s): D. congolensis




  • Order: Actinomycetales
  • Genus: Dermatophilus. 
  • Species: congolensis


  • Gr: derma - skin; philos - loving, dear. 

Active Forms

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Clinical Effects



  • Reservoir: skin of animals, especially cattle, sheep, goats and horses. Also many wild mammals.


  • Reproductive units are motile coccoid zoospores.
  • When moistened flagellated cocci are released from crust and migrate to new sites or other sites on the same animal.  
  • Germinate to form a germ tube, which elongates and thickens.
  • Germ tube divides transversely and longitudinally, forming strand several cell layers thick, enclosed in gelatinous sheath.
  • Cells differentiate into multiflagellated zoospores.
  • Filaments disintegrate to liberate zoospores.


  • Direct and indirect contact.
  • Biting arthropods.
  • Puncture wounds.  
  • Trauma.

Pathological effects

  • Opportunistic cause of infection of the skin in dogs. Subcutaneous tissue, muscle and lymph nodes are not affected as they are in the cat. 
  • Predisposing factors include exposure of the skin to trauma such as abrasions or the feeding activity caused through ectoparasitic infestations.  
  • Moisture is important in facilitating the release of flagellated cocci from crust. 
  • Dogs with immunosuppression or with concurrent debilitating diseases are predisposed. 
  • Many dogs have known exposure to reservoir animals. 
  • Typical lesions: 
    • Haired areas of skin covered in dry adherent scale that becomes entrapped in surrounding hairs. Removal of crust reveals underlying erythematous and ulcerated skin.

Other Host Effects

  • Normal inhabitants of skin of horses, cattle, sheep and goat. Also found in many wild mammals and lizards. 


Control via animal

  • Minimize skin trauma. 
  • Maintain adequate ectoparasite control  

Control via chemotherapies

Control via environment

  • Minimize exposure to biting arthropods, (prophylactic treatment with an ectoparasiticide), rain, and infected farm animals or horses. 


  • None.


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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Zaria L T (1993) Dermatophilus congolensis infection (Dermatophilosis) in animals and man! An update. Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis 16, 179-222 PubMed.
  • Hassan I C (1982) A case report of Dermatophilus congolensis in a dog at the Freetown Veterinary Clinic. Beit Trop Lanwirtsch Vet 1982 20, 4 409-411 PubMed.
  • Blancou J (1973) Dermatophilus congolensis in the dog. Rev Elev Med Vet Pays Trop 26(3), 289-291.

Other sources of information

  • Greene C E (2006) Dermatophilosis. In: Greene CE (ed) Infectious diseases of the dog and cat. 3rd ed. St Louis MO Saunders Elsevier, pp 488-490. 

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