Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Demodex cati

Synonym(s): D. cati

Contributor(s): Stephen Barr, Susan Dawson, Maggie Fisher, Charlie Walker




  • Family: Demodicidae.
  • Genus: Demodex.
  • Species: cati.

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Clinical Effects



Demodex cati
  • Pilosebaceous unit.
  • Purebred Siamese Siamese and Burmese Burmese cats may be predisposed.


  • Not known, but probably similar to D. canis  Lifecycle: Demodex canis - diagram  :
    • Egg (slim and  oval).
    • Larva (3 pairs of legs).
    • Nymph (4 pairs of legs).
    • Adult (4 pairs of legs).


  • Presumably by direct transfer from mother to kitten while suckling.

Pathological effects

Localized demodicosis

  • Usually not pruritic.
  • Chin acne Feline acne.
  • Erythemato-ceruminous otitis  Otitis externa with or without facial lesions (periorbital folliculitis, facial dermatitis Facial dermatitis of Persian and Himalayan cats).
  • Greasy facial seborrhea (Persian cats).
  • Papules or pustules; subtle comedones .
  • Focal patches of alopecia, usually without scaling, that may become erythematous and crusty.
  • Seborrhea Primary seborrhea.
  • Often no discernible underlying cause in localized cases, exceptions:
    • Otitis often FIV +ve cats.
    • Mites will only be found in the actual SCC in situ lesions.

‚ÄčGeneralized demodicosis

  • Pruritus, is present, variable (mild to severe).
  • Multifocal to generalized patches of alopecia anywhere on body.
  • Variable degree of scaling, erythema, hyperpigmentation, crusting and sometimes with secondary papules.
  • Papules or pustules; subtle comedones.
  • Seborrhea.
  • Other concurrent immunosuppressive disease or treatments usually present.
  • Co-infection with Demodex gatoi Demodex gatoi has been observed.


Control via animal

  • Diagnosis and management of underlying diseases, if present.
  • Cessation or adjustment of medication regimen if iatrogenic onset.
  • Spontaneous recovery is reported from localized cases left untreated.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Diagnosis and management of underlying diseases, if present.
  • No licensed treatments exist.
  • Application of unlicensed topical 2% Lime Sulphur rinses alone may be sufficient to control localized cases (LimePlus Dip®, Dechra). This rinse could be used concurrently with the other products below for generalized cases.
  • Unlicensed short dosing frequencies - moxidectin Moxidectin with imidacloprid Imidacloprid (Advocate®, Bayer) or selamectin Selamectin (Stronghold®, Zoetis) may be effective.
  • Topically-applied selamectin plus sarolaner (Stronghold®, Zoetis) may be effective.
  • Successful treatment of one generalized case with oral fluralaner Fluralaner (Bravecto®, MSD) has been documented - oral or topical isoxalaners seem likely to be effective though no other journal articles have been published to date for this specific feline demodicid.
  • Ivermectin  Ivermectin 300-600 ug/kg/day has been used successfully in a few cases.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Matricoti I & Maina E (2017) The use of oral fluralaner for the treatment of feline generalized demodicosis: a case report. JSAP 58 (8), 476-479 PubMed.
  • Bizikova P (2014) Localized demodicosis due to Demodex cati on the muzzle of two cats treated with inhalant glucocorticoids. Vet Dermatol 25 (3), 222-e58 PubMed.
  • Guaguere E, Muller A & Degorce-Rubiales F (2004) FC-43 Feline demodicosis: a retrospective study of 12 cases. Vet Dermatol 15 (s1), 34 Wiley Online Library.

Other sources of information

  • Miller W H Jr, Griffin C E & Campbell KL (2013) Feline demodicosis. In: Muller and Kirk's Small Animal Dermatology 7th editionW B Saunders, Philadelphia. pp 313-315.
  • Nuttall T, Harvey R G, McKeever P J (2011) Feline Demodicosis. In: Nuttall T, Harvey R G, McKeever P J (eds): Skin Disease of the Dog and Cat. 2nd edn. Manson Publishing, London, UK. pp 276-277.
  • Paterson S (2000) Skin diseases of the Cat. Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK. pp 75-77.
  • Guargere E (1999) Ectoparasitic Skin Diseases. In: Guargere E & Prelaud P (eds): A Practical Guide to Feline Dermatology. Merial, pp 14.8-14.9.