A free-ranging eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) was referred to the Wildlife Center of Virginia with a three-month history of marked swelling of the right hind limb initially diagnosed as chromomycosis by histopathology. Hematology revealed severe anemia (9%), leukocytosis (12.8 cells×103/μl), heterophilia (6.14 cells×103/μl), and monocytosis (0.51 cells×103/μl). Gross necropsy revealed a firm, encapsulated 3×1 cm subcutaneous mass filled with dark brown-black, friable necrotic material of the distal right hind limb. Microscopically, the mass was characterized by a granulomatous inflammatory process with numerous multinucleated histiocytic giant cells. Fungal elements were present within necrotic centers and associated with multinucleated cells. Special stains revealed numerous phaeoid hyphae and yeast; Exophiala jeanselmei was isolated by routine mycologic culture. Phaeohyphomycosis was diagnosed based on the histologic appearance of the fungal elements within the mass and culture results. There was no histopathological evidence of systemic infection. This is the first report of phaeohyphomycosis caused by fungi of the genus Exophiala in free-living reptiles.
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Vol. 42 • No. 4