Heterodoxus are an amblyceran chewing louse that parasitizes birds and mammals, feeding primarily on epidermal slough but in dogs are primarily hematophagous.
This parasite has club-shaped antennae that lie in cephalic grooves and the anterior margin of the head is pointed. They are usually confined to warm climates.
In rural settings, up to 10% of domestic dogs can be infected.
Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:
- Heterodoxus spiniger
- Heterodoxus longitarsus
Most affected dogs present with pruritus, alopecia and secondary dermatitis. In very heavy infestations of blood-sucking lice (biting), one may detect anaemia, especially in puppies.
Co-infections with other external parasites is common.
- Bowman, DD (2009) Georgis' parasitology for veterinarians. 9th edn. Elsevier Saunders, Missouri. pp:38
- Troyo A et al (2012) Ectoparasites of dogs in home environments on the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica. Rev Bras Parasitol Vet 21(2):179-183
- González A et al (2004) Ectoparasitic species from Canis familiaris (Linné) in Buenos Aires province, Argentina. Vet Parasitol 120(1-2):123-129