Heterodoxus spp

From Dog
H. longitarsus adult under light microscopy[1]

Heterodoxus spp are an ectoparasitic louse of dogs and cats.

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[2].

In rural settings, up to 10% of domestic dogs can be infected[3].

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[4].

These louse transmits Dipetalonema reconditum and Dipilydium caninum.

These parasites are readily eradicated with use of fipronil, moxidectin, ivermectin or milbemycin oxime.


  1. Foter
  2. Bowman, DD (2009) Georgis' parasitology for veterinarians. 9th edn. Elsevier Saunders, Missouri. pp:38
  3. 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
  4. González A et al (2004) Ectoparasitic species from Canis familiaris (Linné) in Buenos Aires province, Argentina. Vet Parasitol 120(1-2):123-129