Demodex Mites

Some dogs will struggle to keep these mites under control.

What do they look like and where do they live?

  • The mite Demodex canis, which affects dogs, lives on the skin
  • Cats can be infected by Demodex mites called Demodex cati, but skin disease caused by these mites is rare in cats
  • The adult mite, Demodex canis is a slender mite with eight short stubby legs and a long body, often described as “cigar shaped”

How can my pet contract Demodex?

  • There is only one instance in which Demodex mites can be transferred between dogs; and this is when the mites are transmitted from the bitch to her pups, via direct contact
  • Other than during this brief period, the mite is not contagious
  • The affected puppies will carry the mite on their skin for the rest of their lives. Many of these animals never go on to develop skin disease; it is only in certain individuals where the mites multiply in numbers and cause disease

How will this parasite affect my pet?

  • In certain individuals, the dog becomes unable to keep the mite numbers under control; the mite numbers increase drastically, and start to cause clinical signs of skin disease
  • Disease caused by Demodex mites is called demodicosis, and symptoms include hair loss and inflamed patches of skin
  • The skin disease caused by this mite ranges from mild disease through to a severe condition

Can this parasite affect my health?

The Demodex mite of dogs and cats is not contagious to humans