This parasite, known to cause 'walking dandruff' is a rare parasite. Pathogenic species affecting dogs include:
- Cheyletiella yasguri
- Cheyletiella blakei
- Cheyletiella parasitovorax
This disease is very contagious, especially in animal communities. Human infestation is frequent. Mite infestations are rare in flea endemic areas, probably due to the regular use of insecticides.
These mites have 4 pairs of legs and prominent hook-like mouthparts. They live on the surface of the epidermis, and their entire life cycle (3 wk) is spent on the host.
Clinical signs of infestation include alopecia, pruritus and occasional dermatitis. Asymptomatic carriers may exist.
Diagnosis is based on identification of the parasite on adhesive tape impression, hair plucking, skin scraping and vacuum cleaning. The mites and eggs may not be easy to find, especially in animals that are bathed often. Acetate tape preparations, superficial skin scrapings, and flea combing can be used to make the diagnosis.
Treatment is aimed at acaricidal drugs, used as washes. Fipronil and ivermectin are effective treatments. The environment should also be treated with a good acaricide, especially in animal communities (eg, breeding colonies, kennels), given the fact that adults may survive off the host for several days or even weeks.
- Saevik BK et al (2004) Cheyletiella infestation in the dog: observations on diagnostic methods and clinical signs. J Small Anim Pract 45(10):495-500
- Fisher MA & Shanks DJ (2008) A review of the off-label use of selamectin (Stronghold/Revolution) in dogs and cats. Acta Vet Scand 50:46
- Merck Veterinary Manual