ISSN 2398-2985      

Acariasis

4ferrets
Contributor(s):

Sarah Brown

Jemma Hildrew


Introduction

  • Cause: Otodectes cynotis (ear mites), Sarcoptes scabiei (mange mites). Demodex spp and Lynxacarus mustelae (much less common).
  • Signs: alopecia, crusting, pruritus.
  • Diagnosis: microscopy of ear swab for O. cynotis (occasionally can see mite movement directly in heavy infestations). Skin scrapes are required for detection of S. scabiei, but commonly may be missed. Deep scraping or biopsy sometimes needed for S. scabiei and Demodex spp.
  • Treatment: ivermectin, selamectin. In cases of O. cynotis, ears should be cleaned regularly. For both species of mites, all affected ferrets and in-contacts should be treated, and the bedding and environment should be cleaned regularly throughout the treatment period.
  • Prognosis: good if treated.
Print off the Owner factsheets on All about fleas, ticks and mites, Ear cleaning and Parasitic skin disease to give to your clients.
 

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Otodectes cynotis: an ear mite; they feed off lymph, skin debris and blood within the outer ear canal Ear mites.
  • Sarcoptes scabiei: a burrowing, sarcoptic mange mite Sarcoptic mange.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Contact with infected ferrets, bedding, or hair and debris.

Specific

  • Stress and crowding.
  • Poor enclosure hygiene.

Pathophysiology

  • S. scabiei burrows into the epidermis causing inflammation.
  • O. cynotis remains primarily within the external ear canal (they can sometimes be found on the feet and tail tip).

Timecourse

  • O. cynotis:
    • The mite’s lifecycle is 3 weeks so multiple treatments are usually required.
    • It can live for up to 12 days off the host so environmental cleaning is important to prevent reinfection.

Epidemiology

  • Transmission is by direct contact with an infested ferret, infested bedding, hair, debris.
  • Dogs may act as a source of contagion with S. scabiei.
  • Cats and dogs may act as a source of O. cynotis.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Le Sueur C, Bour S, Schaper R (2011) Efficacy and safety of the combination imidacloprid 10%/moxidectin 1.0% spot-on (Advocate spot-on for small cats and ferrets) in the treatment of ear mite infection (Otodectes cynotis) in ferrets. Parasitol Res 109 (1), 149-156 PubMed.
  • Miller D S, Eagle R P, Zabel S, Rosychuk R & Campbell T W (2006) Efficacy and safety of selamectin in the treatment of Otodectes cynotis in domestic ferrets. Vet Rec 159 (22), 748 PubMed.
  • Schoemaker N J (1999) Selected dermatological conditions in exotic pets. Exotic DVM 1, 5.
  • Noli C, Van der Horst H H & Willemse T (1996) Demodicosis in ferrets (Mustela puturius furo). Vet Quart 18 (1), 28-31 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • D’Ovidio D & Santoro D (2021) Dermatologic Diseases of Ferrets. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. Eds: Quesenberry K E, Orcutt C J, Mans C & Carpenter J W. Elsevier, USA. pp 109-116.
  • Johnson-Delaney C A (2018) Disorders of the Skin. In: Ferret Medicine and Surgery. Ed: Johnson-Delaney C A. CRC Press. pp 325-346.
  • Meredith A (2009) Ferrets: Dermatoses. In: BSAVA Manual of Rodents and Ferrets. Eds: Keeble E & Meredith A. BSAVA, UK. pp 269-274.

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