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. Foxes may act as a natural reservoir of infection for these lice.
In tropical urban environments, prevalence rates in dogs can approach 10%.
Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:
- Trichodectes canis
Clinical symptoms are usually limited to superficial dermatitis and secondary self-trauma due to the pruritus associated with lice activity on the coat.
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, moxidectin, ivermectin as well as other drugs such as imidacloprid, milbemycin oxime and insecticidal shampoos.
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