Animal Health and Diseases Assignment: A picture of health: Task 1: Fungi: Fungi are decomposers that have one or more cells. They are responsible for the decomposition and recycling nutrients throughout the environment. Instead of using photosynthesis like plants, they use elaborate compositions as their sources of energy and carbon. Fungi are an essential role in balancing the ecosystem because fungi inhabit most environments on earth as they prefer dark and moist conditions to be able to survive. Fungi are able to grow in the most remote environments in the world however, most fungi grow on the forest floor as the dark and damp environment provides plenty of rich decaying debris from plants and animals to thrive on. In the forest ecosystem, fungi play a crucial role as decomposers and recyclers as they make it possible for members of other kingdoms to get the nutrients that it needs to survive. If there are no decomposing organisms that decompose organic matter then both the animal and plant food web would be incomplete because some elements such as nitrogen and phosphorus are needed in huge capacities for the biological systems to survive however, they are not sufficient in the environment. When these decomposers eat decaying material, they are releasing nitrogen and phosphorus from the decaying material and this allows these elements to be accessible to other living organism which need them to survive in the world. Fungi is used to maintain the fast growing ecosystem for both plants and animals which share the same aura because fungi replenishes the environment with nutrients as fungi is able to interact directly with other organisms mainly in helpful but sometimes deadly ways. In plants, fungi will destroy plants tissues or produce vigorous toxins and this will end up in host death and can even lead to poisoning in animals such as dogs and cats. A mycosis is a type of fungal disease which results from infection and direct blow from fungi. The fungi attacks animals directly by migrating and destroying the tissues in body. There are some living organisms which display hypersensitivity to moulds and spores, this can cause strong and dangerous allergic reactions which can result in some serious health effects on animals. Reproduction in fungi is very simple as they can reproduce sexually and asexually. In asexual reproduction they reproduce by fragmentation, budding and producing spores. In sexual reproduction, they reproduce by using homothallic or heterothallic mycelia and they also produce spores. In both sexual and asexual reproduction, the fungi will produce spores which will disperse into the environment either by floating on the wind or by travelling on an animal. The spores which are formed from the fungi are defined as being haploid cells and they undergo mitosis to form into haploid cells that have more than one cell. There are some factors that extremely affect fungi and these are both physical and physicochemical. These factors include temperature, aeration, pH, water potential and light and they don’t just affect the growth rate of the fungi but act as triggers in the development pathways. Fungi like all living organisms depend on air, food and water to survive. These decomposers are able to digest human food but also many materials used in buildings. Fungi is grouped into four categories when it comes to their temperature range for growth. Most fungi are strict aerobes and this means that they require oxygen in at least some stages of their lifecycle. Today we can group fungi into four different categories based upon their oxygen relationships. Light affects the growth rate of fungi meaning that it can be very dangerous as near-ultraviolet light and the noticeable parts of the spectrum from 380-720 nm can have little effect on the growth of fungi but it can stimulate pigmentation. The blue light that is used to see what the effects are on the growth of fungi can induce the production of carotenoid pigments in the spore of some fungi. The carotenoid pigments occur in algae and bacteria and it is known to destroy all reactive oxygen species. The pigments will try and minimise any photo-induced damage that is done. Melanins protect cells from reactive oxygen species and any radiation that is given off by ultraviolet light. Aspergillosis is a type of fungal infection that is caused by the Aspergillus, a species of common mould that is found throughout the environment. Examples of the common mould includes dust, straw and hay. Typically, an infection occurs when an organism that does not cause disease normally infects an animal, however, this is different in the case of Aspergillosis as it causes disease because the animal’s immune system and/ or body is weakened by a disease. The fungus can cause illness to humans and animals but most people are immune to the fungus therefore they do not develop any disease caused by Aspergillus. There are two types of this fungal infection and they are the nasal and disseminated form. Both types of the fungal infection can occur in cats and dogs but it is more common in dogs. Dolichocephalic and mesocephalic breeds are more susceptible to the nasal form of Aspergillosis and the disseminated form of the disease is more common in German Shepherds. The clinical signs of the nasal form of the fungal infection includes sneezing, nasal pain, bleeding from the nose, having a reduced appetite, a visible swollen nose and long-term nasal discharge coming from the nose. In some cases of the nasal infection, there can be a loss of pigment or tissue on the surface of the nose. The clinical signs of the disseminated infection can develop abruptly or gradually over a period of time and it can include spinal pain or lameness due to infection and cause inflammation of the animal’s bone marrow and bones. There are some other signs of the infection occurring in cats and dogs but they are not specific to the infection and these include fever, vomiting and anorexia due to weight loss. Blastomycosis is an essential yeast-like fungal infection that is caused by Blastomyces dermatitidis which is found in decaying wood and soil. This fungal infection is most frequent in male dogs but female dogs are susceptible to the infection. Dogs who are constantly exposed to environments where Blastomyces dermatitidisexists are at increased risk. Large dog breeds that weigh at least 22kg and sporting breeds are also at risk of the fungal infection. The fungus thrives in wet environments such as riverbanks, lakes and swamps as damp soil that lacks direct sunlight fosters growth of the fungus. It is present in areas that have rich decaying matter such as wooded areas, forest floors and farms. The clinical signs of this fungal infection include fever, loss of appetite which then causes weight loss, discharge from the eye and inflammation of the eye specially the iris, breathing difficulty and skin lesions that are filled with pus. Blastomycosis occurs when the dog inhales the airborne fungal spores of the fungi after contaminated soil has been disturbed. This can occur from an activity such as digging in the dirt or following a scent trail. The fungus spores can enter through the skin. Exposure to areas that have decaying matter, been recently excavated or with water can increase the risk of exposure to the fungus and consequent development of the disease.