Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Heterodoxus spiniger

Synonym(s): H. spiniger, dog louse

Contributor(s): Ian Wright, John McGarry

Introduction

Classification

Taxonomy

  • Class: Insecta
  • Subclass: Pterygota
  • Order: Phthiraptera (Mallophaga)
  • Superfamily: Boopiidae
  • Genus: Heterodoxus
  • Species: Spiniger

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Clinical Effects

Epidemiology

Habitat

  • Adults and nymphs slow moving, grasping hairs
  • Eggs attached to hair shafts close to the skin.

Lifecycle

  • Adult.
  • Egg (becomes embryonated).
  • 3 instars as moults.

Transmission

  • Direct contact with the coat of infected canids.
  • Infested environment.

Pathological effects

  • Infestations can be subclinical with minimal pathological change in the skin.
  • Dermatitis with associated histopathological changes can occur at bite sites.
  • Heavy infestations can lead to anemia with fatal cases reported.

Other Host Effects

  • Adults feed on skin and blood of hosts through biting/chewing.

Control

Control via animal

  • Ectoparasite treatment.
  • Physical removal of adults and eggs by combing.
  • Screening of dogs with relevant clinical signs that have been imported from endemic countries.
  • Good hand hygiene around infected dogs.

Control via chemotherapies

Control via environment

  • Eggs and adults shed on hair into the environment may survive for a few days.
  • Keeping kennel environments dry and clean, washing bedding at least 50°C, daily vacuuming and treatment of the environment with pyrethroids.

Diagnosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from VetMed Resource and PubMed.
  • Norhidayu S, Mohd Zain S N, Jeffery J, Lewis J W (2012) The dog louse Heterodoxus spiniger from stray cats in Penang, Malaysia. Trop Biomed 29(2), 301-303 PubMed Full Article.
  • Amin O & Madbouly M (1973) Distribution and seasonal dynamics of a tick, a louse fly, and a louse infesting dogs in the Nile valley and delta of Egypt. J Med Entomol 10, 295- 298.
  • von Keler S (1971) A revision of the Australian Boopidae (Insecta: Phthiroptera), with notes on the Trimenoponidae. Australian Journal of  Zoology, Supplement 6, 311.
  • Colless D (1959) Heterodoxus spiniger (Mallophaga: Boopidae) from cats in Singapore. J Parasitol 45, 248.

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