Ectoparasites of dogs and cats in Albania

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2009
Authors:D. Xhaxhiu, Kusi, I., Rapti, D., Visser, M., Knaus, M., Lindner, T., Rehbein, S.
Journal:Parasitology Research
Date Published:Aug-19-2009
ISSN:0932-0113, 1432-1955
Keywords:Canis, felis, flea infestation, Flea Species, Mediterranean Spotted Fever

One hundred eighty-one dogs and 26 short-hair cats from suburban areas around Tirana, Albania were examined for ectoparasite infestation. The dogs were examined on several occasions from 2005 through 2009 representing three seasons: winter (December-February), spring (March-May), and summer (June-August); the cats were examined in late autumn (November). In addition, deep ear swab specimens of 30 dogs were examined for ear mites. The arthropod ectoparasite fauna of the dogs included two tick species (Rhipicephalus sanguineus and Ixodes ricinus), three mite species (Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis, Otodectes cynotis, and Demodex canis), three flea species (Ctenocephalides canis, Ctenocephalides felis, and Pulex irritans), and one louse species (Trichodectes canis). In the dogs, rates of infestation were 23.8% for R. sanguineus, 0.6% for I. ricinus, 4.4% for S. scabiei var. canis, 6.7% for O. cynotis, 0.6% for D. canis, 75.7% for C. canis, 5.0% for C. felis, 8.3% for P. irritans, and 6.6% for T. canis. Mixed infestation with two or three species of ectoparasites was recorded on 38.1% of the dogs. Fleas infested 75.7% dogs (geometric mean, 3.96; range, 1-80) and were observed in winter, spring, and summer with increasing prevalences of 64.3%, 75.9%, and 100%. Ticks parasitized 24.3% of the dogs (geometric mean, 0.41; range, 1-331). R. sanguineus ticks were recorded on 34.2% and 50% of the dogs examined in spring and summer, respectively, but were absent on the dogs during winter except for a single I. ricinus specimen observed. Prevalence of infestation with R. sanguineus, S. scabiei var. canis, C. felis, P. irritans, and T. canis did not differ between dogs < or = 6 months and dogs > 6 months of age; however, prevalence of infestation with C. canis was significantly (p < 0.01) higher in dogs > 6 months old. There was no difference between the sexes for the prevalences of infestation with those parasites. The examination of the cats revealed infestation with only one species of ectoparasite, C. felis (prevalence, 100%; geometric mean, 2.5; range, 1-9).

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