Demodex gatoi mite PCR test for cats
dog and cat assay data sheet
Demodex gatoi mites (mange) in cats
- Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of
Demodex gatoi mites in cats by real time polymerase
Demodectic mange (demodicosis) is an inflammatory skin condition caused
by Demodex mites that cannot
be easily detected by naked eye. Two different species of
Demodex mite (Demodex gatoi
and Demodex cati) can cause
mange in cats. (Recently, a third species of feline
Demodex mite has been
identified, but it is unclear whether this third species also causes
mange.) These feline Demodex
species have distinct genotypes and do not cluster in one genetic
D. cati in several respects.
D. cati is a long, thin mite
that lives inside hair follicles, while
D. gatoi has a distinctive
stubby appearance and instead dwells in the keratin layer of the
epidermis. D. cati is
considered a normal resident of feline skin; localized
D. cati infection is usually
self-limiting and does not necessarily indicate an underlying cause.
If a D. cati infection
becomes more generalized, it may indicate underlying immunosuppression
that is allowing the mite to multiply uncontrolled. Therefore when
generalized D. cati
infection is seen, testing for feline leukemia virus, feline
immunodeficiency virus, or other immunosuppressive conditions should
be considered. Generalized D.
cati infection may also be associated with medications that
suppress the immune system.
D. gatoi however is not a
normal commensal on domestic cats, and specific treatment is often
required to eliminate D. gatoi
infection and avoid spreading it to other cats. Cats infected with
D. gatoi will develop symptoms such as extreme itchiness; hair loss
around the eyes, head, neck and flank; and in some cases, skin
lesions. D. gatoi is easily
spread between cats in a household or at cat shows.
Many cats infected with D. gatoi
develop symptoms that are clinically indistinguishable from allergic
skin disease; thus D. gatoi
should be considered in the differential diagnosis when cats are
suspected of having allergic skin disease. Some cats infected with
D. gatoi can be asymptomatic carriers, spreading the infection to
other cats. Therefore all cats that have had contact with an affected
cat should also be tested.
Microscopic morphological examination of hair samples, skin scrapings or
feces is sometimes attempted for diagnosis of
Demodex mites. However, morphological differentiation between
D. gatoi and
D. cati is not easy and misdiagnosis frequently happens. On the
other hand, detection and differentiation of these mite species by
polymerase chain reaction is fast, specific and sensitive (Frank et
Help confirm the disease causing agent
Shorten the time required to confirm a clinical diagnosis of
Demodex gatoi mange in
Help ensure that households and catteries are free of this mite
Help prevent the spread of Demodex
gatoi mites between cats at shows
Minimize human exposure to this mite
Inform the design of an appropriate treatment regimen for affected cats
Frank, L.A., Kania, S.A., Chung, K. and Brahmbhatt, R. (2013). A
molecular technique for the detection and differentiation of
Demodex mites on cats. Vet.
Swab or sterile toothbrush run deeply through
hair and against skin for at least 30 seconds, or environmental
surface swab, or skin
scraping, or skin lesion swab.
Contact Zoologix if advice is needed to determine an appropriate specimen type for a specific diagnostic application. For specimen types not listed here, please contact Zoologix to confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.
For all specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or
during very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship
with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are
specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain frozen
in transit. See
shipping instructions for more information.
Turnaround time: 2 business days
Qualitative real time PCR
Normal range: Nondetected