ISSN 2398-2969      

Demodex cuniculi





  • Phylum: Arthropoda.
  • Class: Arachnida.
  • Subclass: Acari.
  • Order: Prostigmata.
  • Family: Demodicidae.
  • GenusDemodex.
  • Speciescuniculi.

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Clinical Effects



  • Obligate parasite or commensal.
  • Live in epidermis and hair follicles of rabbits.


  • Larvae hatching from the eggs evolve into pronymphs and then to nymphs, then they finally reach the adult stage.
  • Entire life on the host (rabbit).


  • Transmission occurs via prolonged direct contact.
  • Generally, from doe to kitten during the first days of life.

Pathological effects

  • Rare condition.
  • Generally not associated with clinical signs.
  • Associated with clinical signs in immunosuppressed rabbits.
  • Affected rabbits can develop alopecia Dermatology: alopecia and variable levels of pruritus Dermatology: pruritus.
  • One case reported both seborrhea sicca and alopecia in 2 of 9 infested dwarf rabbits. However, an idiopathic dermatosis was considered because clinical signs did not improve after reduction of mite numbers.

Other Host Effects

  • Often carried as a commensal with no apparent interaction.


Control via animal

Control via chemotherapies

  • No licensed treatment.
  • 0.5 mg/kg ivermectin Ivermectin SC weekly for 3 weeks.
  • 0.01% amitraz solution weekly.
  • 0.05% amitraz solution resolved the mite infestation in one reported case.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Benato L (2019) Guide to skin diseases in rabbits. In Pract 41 (10), 488-497 VetMedResource.
  • Bulliot C, Mentré V, Marignac G, Polack B & Chermette R (2013) A case of atypical psoroptic mange in a domestic rabbit. J Exotic Pet Med 22, 400-404 VetMedResource.
  • White S D, Bordeau P J, Meredith A (2002) Dermatologic problems of rabbits. Semin Avian Exotic Pet Med 11 (3), 141-150 ScienceDirect.
  • Harvey R G (1990) Demodex cuniculi in dwarf rabbits (Orytologus cuniculus). JSAP 31 (4), 204-207 Wiley Online Library.

Other sources of information

  • Meredith A (2014) Dermatoses. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine & Surgery. Eds: Meredith A & Lord B. BSAVA, UK. pp 255-263.
  • Hess & Tater (2012) Chapter 18 Dermatologic Diseases. In: Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier, USA. pp 232-244.
  • Bowmann D D (2008) Georgis' Parasitology for Veterinarians. Saunders Elsevier, USA.
  • Paterson S (2006) Skin Diseases of Exotic Pets. Blackwell Publishing, USA.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2002) Skin Diseases. In: Textbook of Veterinary Medicine. Butterworth-Heinemann, UK. pp 244.
  • Scarff D H (2000) Dermatoses. In: Manual of Rabbit Medicine & Surgery. Ed: Flecknell P. BSAVA, UK.
  • Harkness J E & Wagner J E (1995) The Biology and Medicine of Rabbits and Rodents. Williams & Wilkins, USA.

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