Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Felicola subrostratus

Synonym(s): F. subrostratus, chewing louse, biting louse.

Contributor(s): Susan Dawson, Maggie Fisher, David Scarff

Introduction

Classification

Taxonomy

  • Order: Phthiraptera.
  • Suborder: Mallophaga.
  • Genus: Felicola.

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Clinical Effects

Epidemiology

Habitat

  • Permanent parasites on the skin of cats.
  • Highly host-specific for felidae.

Lifecycle

  • Felicola subrostratus (F. subrostratus) life cycle:
    • 1. Adult.
    • 2. Egg.
    • 3. Nymphs.

Transmission

  • By direct contact when nymphs or adults transfer to the hair of an in-contact dog/cat.
  • Eggs, nymphs or adults that have been knocked off into the environment are probably of little importance compared with animal-to-animal contact.
  • Fomite transfer, eg on grooming equipment.

Pathological effects

  • Rapid movement of lice through coat and hypersensitivity response can cause pruritus and self-excoriation.
  • Ranges from asymptomatic through to alopecia, dandruff and seborrhea with lesions from self-excoriation.

Other Host Effects

  • Feed on hair and epidermal debris but also, probably opportunistically, feed on blood from scabs and lesions due to self-excoriation.

Control

Control via animal

  • Insecticide treatment of animal and in-contact animals.
  • The egg stage can last 7-14 days. None of the insecticides are likely to penetrate the egg and so repeat treatment in 14 days is essential for insecticides that have little residual activity.
  • Improve condition of debilitated animals.

Control via chemotherapies

  • No insecticides have been licensed specifically for use against lice in cats. The following should be effective:

Control via environment

  • Bedding should be washed (high temperature) or treated with insecticide and cattery vacated for several days.
  • The egg stage can last 7-14 days so repeat treatments are essential for insecticides that have little residual activity.

Diagnosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Coman B J, Jones E H & Driesen M A (1981) Helminth parasites and arthropods of feral cats. Aust Vet J 57 (7), 324-327 PubMed.

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