Linognathus spp

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Adult L. setosus[1]
Linognathus spp parasitizing the skin of a Maltese dog[2]

Linognathus spp are an anoplura parasitic sucking louse of dogs in tropical and subtropical regions across North and South America[3], Asia, India and Africa[4].

These lice have pincer-like tarsal claws for clinging to hairs of their host. They have more than one row of setae per abdominal segment and lack a sternal plate and abdominal spicules. Transmission is between host dogs[5]. Foxes may act as a natural reservoir of infection for these lice.

In tropical urban environments, prevalence rates in dogs can approach 20%[6].

Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:

  • Linognathus setosus
  • Linognathoides cynomyis (prairie dogs)[7]

Clinically symptoms are usually limited to superficial dermatitis and secondary self-trauma (pediculosis)[8].

Diagnosis is made readily on microscopic identification of adults on hair shafts.

Treatment is effective with most topical or parenteral macrocyclic lactones such as selamectin[9], moxidectin, ivermectin as well as other drugs such as imidacloprid[10], milbemycin oxime and insecticidal shampoos[11].


  1. CSIRO
  2. Dog Info
  3. González A et al (2004) Ectoparasitic species from Canis familiaris (Linné) in Buenos Aires province, Argentina. Vet Parasitol 120(1-2):123-129
  4. Omudu EA & Amuta EU (2007) Parasitology and urban livestock farming in nigeria: prevalence of ova in faecal and soil samples and animal ectoparasites in Makurdi. J S Afr Vet Assoc 78(1):40-45
  5. Bowman, DD (2009) georgis' parasitology for veterinarians. 9th edn. Elsevier Saunders, Missouri. pp:34-35
  6. Changbunjong T et al (2009) A survey of ectoparasitic arthropods on domestic animals in Tak Province, Thailand. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health 40(3):435-442
  7. Kietzmann GE (1987) Ectoparasites of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) from South Dakota. J Wildl Dis 23(2):331-333
  8. Blagburn BL et al (1981) Pediculosis (linognathus setosus) in a dog. Mod Vet Pract 62(7):544-545
  9. Gunnarsson L et al (2005) Clinical efficacy of selamectin in the treatment of naturally acquired infection of sucking lice (Linognathus setosus) in dogs. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 41(6):388-394
  10. Hanssen I et al (1999) Field study on the insecticidal efficacy of Advantage against natural infestations of dogs with lice. Parasitol Res 85(4):347-348
  11. Mehlhorn H et al (2012) Biting and bloodsucking lice of dogs - treatment by means of a neem seed extract (MiteStop®, Wash Away Dog). Parasitol Res 110(2):769-773