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Mighty Mites Part 1: Demodex

You may have heard of demodectic mange, which is a skin condition is caused by Demodex mites. But did you know the following 5 facts about demodicosis in dogs and cats?

1. There are three Demodex mite species in dogs

These are Demodex canis, Demodex gatoi and Demodex injai

Of these, Demodex canis is the most common

Demodex injai is the most likely to cause itch

2. Most dogs have small numbers of mites on their skin

Dogs that have skin issues due to Demodex are usually immunodeficient

3. The disease can be localized or generalized and characterized by juvenile or adult-onset

Up to 10% of localized demodex can become generalized

4. Demodex in cats is not as common as it can be in dogs

There are two named species of Demodex in cats: D. cati and D. gatoi

5. D. gatoi is itchy and it very contagious between cats

It usually lives in the superficial layers of the skin rather than in the hair follicles


1) Veterinary Partner.

2) Tilley, L. P., & Smith, F. W. (2005). The 5-minute veterinary consult: Canine and feline. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

3) Yin, S. A. (2010). The small animal veterinary nerdbook. Davis, CA: CattleDog Pub.

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