Brainstem phaeohyphomycosis due to Curvularia lunata (Cochliobolus lunatus) in a cat

T Liatis, F Theochari, L Kalogianni, N Soubasis, I L Oikonomidis, A Velegraki, D Psalla, E Triantafyllou, M Patsikas, Z Polizopoulou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 13-year-old female neutered domestic short-hair cat was presented with chronic progressive vestibular ataxia, lethargy and anorexia. Clinical examination revealed bilateral mucopurulent nasal discharge. Neurological examination revealed obtundation, a right head tilt, ambulatory tetraparesis, generalised vestibular ataxia, decreased postural reactions in all limbs, right Horner's syndrome, spontaneous conjugate jerk rotatory nystagmus and right positional ventral strabismus. Neuroanatomical localisation was observed in the right central vestibular system. Computed tomography revealed a solitary ill-defined contrast-enhancing mass lesion at the level of the right cerebellopontine angle. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis revealed mild mononuclear pleocytosis and fungal elements. CSF culture was positive for Curvularia spp. Further tests for underlying diseases were all negative. The cat was treated with antibiotic and antifungal treatment, but it deteriorated rapidly and was euthanased. Necropsy of the brainstem mass lesion revealed pyogranulomatous inflammation. Panfungal polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region and subsequent sequencing identified Curvularia lunata in the formalin fixed brain tissue. This is the first report of brainstem phaeohyphomycosis by Curvularia lunata (Pleosporales) in a cat. In addition, this is the first report among animal and humans where fungal elements of Curvularia lunata were found in the CSF cytology. Opportunistic fungal pathogens should be always considered within the differential diagnoses list in cats with neurological signs and advanced imaging findings compatible with solitary mass lesions in the brain. In feline patients with pyogranulomatous meningoencephalitis and a suspicion of a fungal aetiology, panfungal PCR for the ITS region and sequencing should be performed regardless of the absence of fungal elements in histopathology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian veterinary journal
Early online date8 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Apr 2021


  • eumycetoma
  • feline
  • fungal meningoencephalitis
  • mononuclear pleocytosis
  • solitary granuloma


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