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Parasitol Res. 2013 Aug;112(8):2805-10. doi: 10.1007/s00436-013-3448-6. Epub 2013 May 17.

The first case of Demodex gatoi in Austria, detected with fecal flotation.

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Department of Pathobiology, Institute of Parasitology, Vetmeduni, Vienna, Austria.


Feline demodicosis is a rare parasitic condition caused by three different species of mites (Demodex cati, Demodex gatoi, and an unnamed species). D. gatoi inhabits the superficial skin layer (stratum corneum) and is easily transmitted between individual cats. A 2-year-old female spayed Cornish Rex was presented with alopecia and pruritus. The dermatological examination revealed bilateral alopecia and excoriations on trunk, limbs, and belly. The second cat in the household, a 3-year-old female spayed Thai, showed no clinical signs. Superficial and deep skin scrapings were performed and cellophane tapes applied, and living D. gatoi mites could be detected in both cats. Oral ivermectin (0.25 mg/kg every other day) was subscribed. Feces were collected from both cats and fecal flotation with sugar and zinc solutions performed. When compared to skin scrapings and cellophane tapes, D. gatoi was detected more frequently and in higher numbers in fecal samples. Our findings suggest that D. gatoi can be efficiently diagnosed with coproscopy, particularly in asymptomatic carrier animals. DNA was extracted from the flotation liquid, and a PCR protocol for the species verification was designed. A fragment targeting a 325-bp DNA fragment of the D. gatoi mitochondrial 16S rDNA gene was amplified with a 100% similarity to the D. gatoi entry in GenBankĀ® (GI 421920216). We report the first finding of D. gatoi in Austria and propose fecal flotation as a valuable tool for mite detection. Fecal flotation liquid is suitable for DNA extraction and PCR-based species verification of D. gatoi.

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