Generalized Demodicosis in Three Sibling Juvenile Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2008
Ginger L. Takle1, DVM; Wm. Kirk. Suedmeyer1, DVM, DACZM; James W. Mertins2, PhD
1Kansas City Zoo, Kansas City, MO, USA; 2National Veterinary Services Laboratories, Veterinary Services, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Ames, IA, USA


One female and two male 4-month-old sibling rock hyrax (Procavia capensis) presented with severe generalized dermatitis characterized by non-pruritic, non-alopecic, mildly encrusted, focally ulcerated, pustular nodules over the entire body surface. The dorsum, limbs and dorsal cranium were most severely affected. Skin scrapings and histopathology revealed a novel Demodex spp. mite in various life stages. Scanning electron microscopy was used to further characterize the mites. Due to the generalized nature of infection treatment was initiated with ivermectin (Ivercide, Phoenix Pharmaceutical, Inc., St. Joseph, MO, USA) then changed to doramectin (Dectomax, Pfizer, New York, NY, USA) at a dose of 0.6 mg/kg SC every 7 days.1 Weekly skin scrapings and intermittent blood work including serum protein electrophoresis were performed to evaluate treatment response. A progressive reduction in the number and life stages of mites were observed over the course of treatment as well as the number and prominence of skin nodules. Complete resolution, as determined by two consecutive negative skin scrapings,2 was obtained in all three hyrax within 10–14 weeks. These cases highlight the use of an alternative antiparasitic that allows for longer duration of activity and, therefore, decreased patient handling.


The authors wish to thank Brenda Beernsten, PhD; Clifford E. Desch, PhD; Andrea Lowery, RVT; and Cari Schindel, RVT for their technical assistance, as well as the Kansas City Zoo Savannah keeper staff for their care of these animals.

Literature Cited

1.  Johnstone IP. Doramectin as a treatment for canine and feline demodicosis. Aust Vet Pract. 2002;32:98–103.

2.  Gortel K. Update on canine demodicosis. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2006;36:229–241.


Speaker Information
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Ginger L. Takle, DVM
Kansas City Zoo
Kansas City, MO, USA

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