Lynxacarus radovskyi mites in feral cats: a study of diagnostic methods, preferential body locations, co-infestations and prevalence.
Background - Lynxacarus radovskyi (fur mites) are ectoparasites found on the hair shafts of cats living in tropical environments. Diagnosis is via microscopic examination of hairs. Various anatomical areas have been reported to harbour these mites. Objectives - To assess adhesive tape impressions and trichograms for detecting L. radovskyi and co-infestations; to determine host body predilection sites and affected gender; to determine prevalence of L. radovskyi in a feral cat population. Animals - 121 feral cats in a trap, neuter and release programme. Methods - After cats were premedicated for surgical sterilization, hairs from seven to nine body sites were removed from each cat using adhesive tape impression and trichogram techniques. Samples were examined at 10-100× magnification using compound or stereo microscopes. Results - The prevalence of L. radovskyi was 71% (86 of 121) within the feral cat population. Tape impressions identified 75 cats; trichograms identified 56 cats. There were fewer false negative results with tape impressions. Caudal body sites were more likely to be positive, with the perianal area being the most commonly affected. Males and females were infested equally. Tape impressions identified more Cheyletiella blakei infestations and both methods identified some Felicola felis infestations. Conclusions and clinical importance - Tape impressions were easier to perform and identified more L. radovskyi positive cats and more co-infestations. Hairs from the perianal area and other caudal body sites are most likely to harbour L. radovskyi. Within this feral cat population, L. radovskyi was a common infestation.