ISSN 2398-2969      

Notoedres cati





  • Kingdom: Animalia.
  • Phylum: Arthropoda.
  • Class: Arachnida.
  • Order: Astigmata.
  • Family: Sarcoptidae.
  • Genus:Notoedres.
  • Species:cativar.cuniculi.


  • Greek: noton - backside;edres - seat (meaning: anus is dorsal).
  • Latin:cati - feline;cuniculi - rabbit, underground passage.

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Clinical Effects



  • Mostly found deep within the host, ie rabbit epidermis.
  • Spread directly from one rabbit to the other.
  • Nymphs and larvae can live on the surface of the skin.


  • Egg.
  • Larva.
  • Nymph 1.
  • Nymph 2. 
  • Adult.
  • Lifecycle: 2-3 weeks.
  • Female burrows into the skin and lays eggs deep in the dermis.
  • Larvae leave the burrows and crawl to the surface of the skin.
  • Larvae will dig their own shallow molting burrow.
  • Larvae enter molting burrow   →   molt into 1st nymphal stage.
  • 1st nymphal stage will leave burrow and dig a second burrow   →    molt into a 2nd nymphal stage.
  • 2nd nymphal stage will dig another burrow   →    adult will develop.
  • Adult females stay in the burrow and males migrate to the female.


  • Direct transmission from rabbit host to rabbit host by direct contact when probably larvae or newly fertilized females are transferred.
  • Highly contagious and spread rapidly.
  • Mites can survive a few days off host and so transfer by fomites is possible.

Pathological effects

  • Antigens are assumed to be mite feces, secretions and hatching and molting fluids.
  • Immune hypersensitivity reactions seem to be involved.
  • Infiltrating cells are mononuclear cells, eosinophils and mast cells in the vicinity of mites and their burrows.
  • Lesions primarily on nose and lips, before extending to involve the rest of the face and occasionally the external genitalia and rest of body.
  • The burrowing mites cause marked thickening, hyperpigmentation and scaling of the skin with alopecia.
  • The severe pruritus   →    alopecia   →    crusting and lichenification   →    self-excoriation/trauma   →    inflammation   →    secondary bacterial infections.
  • Histopathology: mites can be found in the stratum corneum and in burrows of the epidermis, hyperkeratosis and hyperplasia of the epithelial cells of the epidermis can occur.

Other Host Effects


Control via animal

  • Acaricide treatment of rabbit and all in-contact rabbits.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Ivermectin   Ivermectin  400 ug/kg at 7-14 day intervals for 3 treatments may be necessary and is usually the treatment of choice.
  • Doramectin 400 ug/kg and moxidectin 200 ug/kg injections have also been reported to be effective.
  • Selamectin   Selamectin  has also been reportedly used in rabbits.
  • Concurrent disinfection of the environment is important to prevent re-infection.
  • When treating the rabbit, take into consideration that the lifecycle from egg to adult in 2-3 weeks.

Control via environment

  • As mites can be found in the environment, disinfection is important to prevent re-infection.
  • Vacuum before treating the carpet to aid the dispersion of the spray/powder.

Shampooing the carpet or steam cleaning will increase humidity which can increase the mite infestation.

  • During environmental treatment, keep the rabbits away from the sprays/powders.

Other countermeasures

  • If the rabbit has a severe anemia, perform a transfusion of blood   Blood: transfusion  from a healthy donor rabbit.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Gokbulut C, Biligili A & Kart A et al (2010) Plasma dispositions of ivermectin, doramectin, and moxidectin following subcutaneous administration in rabbits. Lab Anim 44 (2), 138-142 PubMed.
  • Kaya D, Inceboz T, Kolatan E et al (2010) Comparison of efficacy of ivermectin and doramectin against mange mite (Sarcoptes scabiei) in naturally infested rabbits in Turkey. Vet Ital 46 (1), 51-56 PubMed.
  • Darzi M M, Mir M S, Shahardar R A et al (2007) Clinico-pathological, histochemical and therapeutic studies on concurrent sarcoptic and notoedric acariosis in rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Veterinarski Arhiv 77 (2), 167-175 VetMedResource.
  • Fisher M, Beck W & Hutchinson M J (2007) Efficacy and safety of selamectin (Stronghold®/Revolution") used off-label in exotic pets. Intern J Appl Res Vet Med (3), 87-96 VetMedResource.
  • Kurdede A, Karaer Z, Acar A et al (2007) Use of selamectin for the treatment of psoroptic and sarcoptic mite infestation in rabbits. Vet Derm 18 (1), 18-22 PubMed.
  • Vohra S, Rath S S, Singh J (2005) Comparative efficacy of doramectin and ivermectin in rabbit mange. J Vet Parasitol 19 (1), 47-49 VetMedResource.
  • Hughes J E (2004) Diagnosis and treatment of selected rabbit dermatologic disorders. Exotic DVM (6), 18-20 VetMedResource
  • Aulakh G S, Singh J, Singla L D et al (2003) Pathology and therapy of natural notoedric acariasis in rabbits. J Vet Parasitol 17, 127-129 ResearchGate.
  • White S D, Bourdeau P J, Meredith A (2002) Dermatologic problems of rabbits. Semin Avian Exotic Pet Med 11 (3), 141-150 ScienceDirect.
  • Jenkins J R (2001) Skin disorders of the rabbit. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract (2), 543-563 PubMed.
  • Ravindran R & Subramanian H (2000) Effect of seasonal and climatic variations on the prevalence of mite infestations in rabbits. Indian Vet J 77 (11), 991-992 VetMedResource
  • Wagner R & Wendlberger U (2000) Field efficacy of moxidectin in dogs and rabbits naturally infested with Sarcoptes spp, Demodex spp and Psoroptes spp mites. Vet Parasitol 93 (2), 149-158 PubMed.
  • Sushma Chhabra Nauriyal D C, Khahra S S & Bhardwaj S D (1999) Efficacy of moxidectin in notoedric mange in rabbits. Indian J Vet Med 19 (2), 109-110.
  • Isingla L D, Juyal P D, Gupta P P (1996) Therapeutic trial of ivermectin against Notoedres cati var. cuniculi infection in rabbits. Parasite (1), 87-89 PubMed
  • Bowman D D, Fogelson M L & Carbone L G (1992) Effect of ivermectin on the control of ear mites (Psoroptes cuniculi) in naturally infested rabbits. Am J Vet Res 53 (1), 105-109 PubMed.
  • Espaine L & Demedio J (1991) Presence of Notoedres cati var. cuniculi (Gerlach, 1857) on rabbits in Cuba. Revista Cubana de Ciencias Veterinarias 22 (2), 105-108 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Hess L & Tater K (2012) Dermatologocal diseases. Parasitic Infections. Fur Mites. In:Ferrests, Rabbits & Rodents. Clinical Medicine & Surgery. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. 3rd edn. Elsevier. pp 238. ISBN: 978-1-4160-6621-7.
  • Meredith A (2006) Dermatoses. In:Manual of Rabbit Medicine & Surgery. 2nd edn. BSAVA, Gloucester. pp 131.
  • Paterson S (2006) Skin diseases of Exotic Pets. Blackwell Publishing. pp 302.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2002) Skin diseases. In:Textbook of Veterinary Medicine. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. pp 244.
  • Hofing F L & Kraus A L (1994) Arthropod and Helminth Parasites. In:The Biology of the Laboratory Rabbit. 2nd edn. Academic Press Inc, New York. pp 233-235.


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