Cheyletiellosis in dogs

Cheyletiellosis in dogs

Cheyletiellosis is a skin disease in dogs caused by a mite named Cheyletiella yasguri. When cats are infected, the culprit is a related species named Cheyletiella blakei, while Cheyletiella parasitivorax infests rabbits.  Puppies are more likely do get Cheyletiellosis than adult dogs, and the disease is especially common in facilities where a lot of dogs are living together without proper sanitation. This disease is therefore quite common in dogs from crowded, unkempt puppy mills. Poor nutrition can also make a dog more susceptible to Cheyletiellosis.

Cheyletiellosis symptoms in dogs

Cheyletiellosis is an itchy, scaling skin disease and the prime symptoms are accordingly itchiness and a skin that becomes flaky and scaly. The hair can also be affected. The entire skin of a dog can be infected with Cheyletiella yasguri, but the scaling and itching is often worse over the back and this is typically where dog owners notice the firsts symptoms of Cheyletiellosis in their dog.  

Cheyletiellosis is known as walking dandruff disease since you can see “moving dandruff” if you take a closer look at a dog suffering from Cheyletiellosis. The itchiness can cause extensive scratching and make the dog injure itself. Sometimes lesions will appear.

Cheyletiellosis often appear after adding a new pet to the home. In many families, more than one pet is affected since Cheyletiellosis is highly contagious.

Walking dandruff mites can infest people, but only temporarily. If you become infected, you will develop itchy rashes, especially on your arms, chest, belly and back.

Cheyletiellosis treatment for dogs

If you use treatments against fleas on your dog – such as flea sprays, flea powders and flea shampoos – you might notice a significant improvement in your dog but unfortunately this improvement will only be temporary since a more targeted Cheyletiellosis treatment is necessary to remove the walking dandruff mites for good. It is also important to treat all pets in your household simultaneously, and preferably talk to the owners of any pet playmates to make sure that these pets are checked as well. Walking dandruff mites can live in bedding, brushes, combs, carpets, upholstery etcetera and such items must therefore be thoroughly cleaned. It is also a good idea to spray the house with flea premise spray.

There exist several types of Cheyletiellosis treatments for dogs and Ivermectin, Lime sulphur, Selamectin and Amitraz are among the most popular ones. Ivermectin comes in two varieties: oral medication and subcutaneous injections. Ivermectin should be administered every 1-2 weeks for at least one month. If you have a herding breed, such as a collie, your veterinarian might refrain form using Ivermectin since these dogs are known to be especially sensitive to Ivermectin, at least to high doses of Ivermectin. Lime sulphur (lime sulfur) dips are another alternative, but with this treatment you might have to clip the hair coat if you have a dog with medium to long hairs. Lime sulphur dips should be given once a week for at least 6-8 weeks to get rid of all the walking dandruff mites. Selamectin is a topical drug that is applied to the skin between the shoulder blades of your dog. This Cheyletiellosis treatment needs to be applied once a month for at least two months. Amitraz dips have also shown to be effective as Cheyletiellosis treatment.  Examples of dog medications where Amitraz is the active ingredient are Mitaban® (Upjohn), Preventic® (Allerderm/Virbac), and Taktic® (Hoechst/Roussel).

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