Mites in Cats, Dogs, etc (Mange, Acariasis, Scabies, Demodicosis)

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Normal skin anatomy

Mange (demodicosis) refers to an inflammatory, parasitic skin condition of animals that is caused by increased numbers of microscopic mites that are normally present in low numbers in the hair follicles and sebaceous glands of the skin of otherwise healthy animals. The mites cause irritation of the skin, resulting in itching, hair loss, and inflammation and the condition is highly contagious. Though dogs and cats are very susceptible, horses and other domestic animals, as well as wild animals, including humans, can also be infected.

Human demodicosis caused by Demodex folliculorum

There are several types of mange that affect animals, and they include canine scabies (sarcoptic mange), ear mites (otodectic mange), walking dandruff (cheyletiellosis), and trombiculosis.

3D illustration of a Demodex mite
3D illustration of a Demodex mite

However, as a public health consideration, Demodex sp do not cross species barriers, i.e., they are species-specific. Generally, mites occur only on one type of host and a few closely related species, e.g. on canids such as dogs, wolves and foxes, but not on cats; or on cattle and buffaloes but not on sheep or goats, etc.

Species of Mites in livestock and pets


All species of mites occur worldwide. Demodex mite infestation usually remains asymptomatic but an important causative agent for many dermatological conditions.

Dog & Cat mites

  1. Demodex canis affects dogs (canine follicular mange mite, red mange mite)

  2. Demodex cati affects cats (feline follicular mange mite)

  3. Otodectes cynotis affects mainly cats, seldom dogs; ear mite

  4. Notoedres cati affects cats; feline scabies, cat mange mite

  5. Cheyletiella spp., affects mainly cats, occasionally dogs; walking dandruff

  6. Pneumonyssoides caninum affects dogs; nasal mite

  7. Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis, affects dogs, canine scabies

Cattle mites

  1. Demodex bovis (cattle follicle mite)

  2. Chorioptes bovis (chorioptic mange mite)

  3. Psoroptes ovis (cattle scab mite)

  4. Sarcoptes scabiei var. bovis (itch mite, sarcoptic mange mite)

Horse mites

  1. Chorioptes equi (itchy leg mite)

  2. Demodex equi (horse follicle mite)

  3. Psoroptes equi (horse scab mite)

  4. Sarcoptes scabiei, var. equi (the common mange mite)

Sheep mites

  1. Chorioptes ovis (chorioptic mange mite)

  2. Psorergates ovis (sheep itch mite)

  3. Psoroptes ovis (sheep scab mite)

  4. Sarcoptes scabiei var. ovis (itch mite, sarcoptic mange mite)

Pig mites