This study was designed to investigate the prevalence of external parasites that infect stray cats at Alexandria Province, Egypt. Between May 2013 and April 2015 a total of 70 cats were captured and examined thoroughly for the presence of external parasites. Results showed that 60 cats (85.71%) were found to be infected with at least one ectoparasite species.
Fleas were the most frequently recovered ectoparasites, with an overall prevalence (78.57%); the flea species were identified as Ctenocephalides felis (57.14%) and C. canis (18.57%); Nosopsyllus fasciates was also recorded in 2 cats (2.58%). In comparison, the prevalence of mites was much lower (7.41%). Mites recorded were identified as Otodectus cyanotis (5.71%) and, on a single cat, Sarcoptes scabie (1.42%). Neither ticks nor lice were found.
Infection with a single species of ectoparasites was most prevalent (80%); the prevalence of infection with two species was 5.7%; infection with 3 or more species of ectoparasites was not found. Female cats were slightly less infected (84.37%) than males (86.84%). Ectoparasites were found somewhat less prevalent on smaller cats, with body weight ≤ 1.4kg (75%) than on cats that were bigger, with body weight> 1.5kg (90%). Younger cats of ≤ 1 year old were less infected (81.3%) than adult cats of > 1 year old (87%).There was a marked seasonal prevalence detected, with the infection most prevalent in summer (100%), followed by autumn (95%), spring (80%), and significantly less in winter (50%).
The current study shows that ectoparasites are highly prevalent on stray cats at Alexandria Province, Egypt. It reports new and updated results that may be of help in controlling these parasites. Further investigations into external parasites on cats in Egypt are strongly recommended.
Key words: Cat, Ectoparasites, Prevalence, Egypt