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Development of a real-time PCR to detect Demodex canis DNA in different tissue samples

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The present study reports the development of a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect Demodex canis DNA on different tissue samples. The technique amplifies a 166 bp of D. canis chitin synthase gene (AB 080667) and it has been successfully tested on hairs extracted with their roots and on formalin-fixed paraffin embedded skin biopsies. The real-time PCR amplified on the hairs of all 14 dogs with a firm diagnosis of demodicosis and consistently failed to amplify on negative controls. Eleven of 12 skin biopsies with a morphologic diagnosis of canine demodicosis were also positive. Sampling hairs on two skin points (lateral face and interdigital skin), D. canis DNA was detected on nine of 51 healthy dogs (17.6%) a much higher percentage than previously reported with microscopic studies. Furthermore, it is foreseen that if the number of samples were increased, the percentage of positive dogs would probably also grow. Moreover, in four of the six dogs with demodicosis, the samples taken from non-lesioned skin were positive. This finding, if confirmed in further studies, suggests that demodicosis is a generalized phenomenon in canine skin, due to proliferation of local mite populations, even though macroscopic lesions only appear in certain areas. The real-time PCR technique to detect D. canis DNA described in this work is a useful tool to advance our understanding of canine demodicosis.

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L. Ferrer was supported by a mobility grant from the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (PR2009-0133) of the Spanish Government for a stay at the Université de Montréal while carrying out this study.

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Correspondence to Lluís Ferrer.

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I. Ravera and L. Altet contributed equally to this work.

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Ravera, I., Altet, L., Francino, O. et al. Development of a real-time PCR to detect Demodex canis DNA in different tissue samples. Parasitol Res 108, 305–308 (2011).

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