Cheyletiella are mites that live on your dogs skin, causing irritation,
dandruff, and itchiness. A particular feature of this mite species is the large,
claw-like mouth parts. These mites can be found quite commonly on cats,
dogs and rabbits, and other animals. Human animals are not a natural
host for this mite, but they can live on
human animals for a while, causing a itchy rash.
Infestation with Cheyletiella is also called "walking dandruff,"
since it appears the dandruff is moving while the mites move among the flakes.
A infestation with Cheyletiella mites is called Cheyletiellosis.
Sometimes Cheyletiella is called "rabbit fur mite,"
but there are actually several species of Cheyletiella
that tend to prefer different species of animals.
Identifying the Cheyletiella species involved is irrelevant, however,
as the symptoms and treatment are identical,
and the mites sometimes cross over to other hosts given the chance.
They will also move onto human animals, but do not complete their life cycle
on people so human animal infestations are considered transient.
Cheyletiella live on the skin, there have been reported cases where
they enter the nostrils and hang out in the hosts nasal passages.
The mites are often picked up from contact with a infected animal.
The mites and eggs can survive for a short time (days to weeks)
Infestations can be picked up indirectly by contact with bedding
or other objects carrying the mites.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of Cheyletiella varies between animals
(some have no symptoms)
and occur primarily on the back:
Flaky skin (dandruff)
Small bumps on the skin
Scabs on the skin
Mild hair loss
if the mites go into the nose, sneezing and scratching may also be present
Cheyletiella mites can sometimes be seen moving about on the skin,
in many cases they can be quite difficult to find.
Scrapings of the skin, or samples of the dandruff
caught on sticky tape or gathered by a fine comb,
can be examined for the presence of the mites or their eggs.
Their eggs can also be found in fecal samples because
they are swallowed during self-grooming behavior.
However, none of these methods are foolproof and the mites
may not be detected even when they are present, especially in cats.
Cheyletiella may be strongly suspected based on the signs and symptoms,
so even if the mites can't be found, your may still treat for Cheyletiella.
Trial treatment is a good way to rule out Cheyletiella before moving on
to investigate other causes of skin problems, which can be difficult to sort out.
There are several options for treating Cheyletiella,
In addition to treating the pet,
the household environment (floors, bedding, toys, etc.) must be treated as well.
All pets in the home should be treated at the same time,
as it is possible for them to carry Cheyletiella without showing symptoms.
Human Animals and Cheyletiella
Cheyletiella infestations on people are self-limiting
since the mites won't reproduce on humans.
Symptoms on people should resolve once mites are cleared from the household pets.
John A Sampson I
00 + 1 + 989-662-6230 International
"The Dog Training