How do dogs get Cheyletiella mites? Here’s What to Expect

What Are Cheyletiella?

Cheyletiella are small mites that infect dogs, cats, rabbits, and people. Five different species of this type of mite exist, but since each is usually host species-specific, Cheyletiella yasguri is the only species that infects dogs. An infection of cheyletiella mites is referred to as cheyletiellosis.

Symptoms of Cheyletiella in Dogs

Cheyletiella mites bite dogs and live in the keratin layer of their skin instead of burrowing into it as some other mites do. Symptoms of infestation include:

  • Itching
  • Dry skin
  • Dandruff/flaky skin
  • Red or irritated skin
  • Cheyletiella cause a dog to itch and scratch its skin in an attempt to get rid of the pest. Unfortunately, this wont do anything but cause skin irritation and inflammation. Dry skin and excessive skin flaking, also known as dandruff, are the most obvious symptoms of these external parasites.

    The flaking and dandruff can get so bad in dogs with cheyletiella that it looks like they have snow on their backs. For some dogs, you can even see the flakes of dandruff moving around as they are carried by the mites, hence the nickname “walking dandruff.”

    How do dogs get Cheyletiella mites?

    Affected AnimalsCheyletiellosis affects dogs and cats as well as rabbits and humans. There may be a higher incidence in Cocker Spaniels.

    The prognosis for cheyletiellosis is good.

    Treatment of cheyletiellosis involves weekly treatments with pesticides like lime sulfur dips or prescription spot-application pesticides. Household or environmental treatment is usually not necessary.

    Cheyletiellosis is usually not a problem in pets that are routinely treated with flea control products.

    The definitive diagnosis of cheyletiellosis is made by identifying the mites or their eggs. Scale can be collected by clear tape impressions, flea combing, or superficial skin scrapings which is then examined under the microscope. Cheyletiella mites may be impossible to find in cats. If cheyletiellosis is suspected in your pet, treatment may be recommended even if no mites can be found.

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