Esther van Praag, Ph.D.
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Dermatoxys veligera is a nematode worm, belonging to the Oxyuridae. It infests essentially wild lagomorphs throughout the USA, and is occasionally found in house rabbits, D. vlakhaasi parasites hares in South Africa, while D. hispaniensis is found in Spain. Dermatoxys sp. does not represent a public health danger.
The biology and life cycle of D. veligera is not well understood, but is probably direct. The eggs are oval (110 * 50 um) and slightly flattened on one side. The embryo starts to develop as soon as the eggs are oviposited (laid). The L4 stage larvae are usually found attached by hooks to the mucosa of the cecum. The males (8 - 11 mm long) are characterized by a small spicule, while the females (16 mm long) have a vulva located in the cranial half of their body. The worms live free in the intestine and the lumen of the cecum.
The clinical sign of Dermatoxis sp. infestation is typhlitis (inflammation of the intestine and cecum), due to the attachment of the L4 stage larvae. No clinical signs are ascribed to the infection by adult worms. Their presence can be identified by fecal flotation for the presence of the eggs in the feces.
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2. Wetzel R. (1931) On the Biology of the Four-Stage Larva of Dermatoxys veligera (Rudolphi, 1819) Schneider 1866, an Oxyurid Parasitic in the Hare. J. Parasiltol. 10: 40-43.
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