"Mitey" Alopecia in Prairie Dogs Nine prairie dogs from different owners in the Czech Republic were presented for progressive hair loss. Bilateral symmetrical hair loss was present in all 9 animals; hair loss was noninflammatory in 8 animals. One animal had a pruritic and pustular eruption. As the lesions progressed, the skin became hyperpigmented. Skin scrapings revealed 1 to 10 Demodex mites and/or slender eggs. The mites were morphologically similar to D critei or D gatoi. The animals were successfully treated with amitraz (250 ppm) for 3 to 5 minutes at 4-day intervals for 2 months. Posttreatment skin scrapings were negative.

COMMENTARY: Demodicosis has been documented in many species, and it should be no surprise that this mite is present in prairie dogs. Other skin parasites that have been found include fleas, ticks, lice, and a sarcopitiform mite. Prairie dogs gained national attention in the United States in 2003 after the discovery that they spread monkey pox to more than a dozen people. -- Karen A. Moriello, DVM, Diplomate ACVD

Demodicosis in nine prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Jekl V, Hauptman K, Jeklova E, Knotek Z. VET DERMATOL 17:280-283, 2006.