Demodicosis in dogs – juvenile form

Last changed: 24 October 2016

Demodicosis represents a skin disease caused by the dog’s immune system being unable to prevent proliferation of the hair follicle parasite (Demodex canis). As a result, the dog develops skin lesions and inflammation.

Clinically, the dog presents with hairless areas with or without visible skin inflammation. Complications with bacterial skin infection are common, requiring antibiotic treatments. When the disease has an onset prior to 18 months age (juvenile demodicosis) the condition is strongly associated with a genetic predisposition. Pugs, Stafforshire bullterrier and American staffordshire terrier belong to breeds overrepresented with the disease. Demodicosis is a rather common condition and can have a mild and self-limiting course or be severe, more difficult to control and with a long time needed for cure.  The more widespread form (generalized form, when the dog has more than 3-5 small areas or larger areas affected) needs antiparasitic treatment, usually for months.

We have identified genetic risk locus, but results need to be validated with more dogs. Furthermore, DLA haplotype seem to be involved in pathogenesis of the disease, with protective haplotype detected. For further validation of risk haplotypes we need more dogs in the study.


If you have a Pug, Staffordshire bullterrier or American staffordshire terrier that has, or has had, the generalized form of juvenile demodicosis – please contact us for further information. Each dog participating in the study is valuable!


Breeds in the project

Pugs, Staffordshire bullterrier, American staffordshire terrier


Kerstin Bergvall
Lecturer at the Department of Clinical Sciences; Small Animal Unit
Telephone: 018-671304