Cheyletiellosis, also called Cheyletiella dermatitis, is a parasitic skin disease caused by a relatively large mite, which sometimes can be seen even without a microscope. Often referred to as "walking dandruff," cheyletiellosis is most often a problem of kittens and adolescent cats. While Cheyletiella mites can survive somewhat longer in the envioronment than scabies mites, they too are relatively easy to treat, being responsive to not only to medications used to treat scabies, but also often to flea-control products. Himalayan and Persian cats are believed to be more susceptible to this mite infestation than other cat breeds.
Species of Cheyletiella mites are parasites hosted by dogs, cats and rabbits. This mite lives on the surface on the animal's skin and is readily transferable through direct or indirect contact with the affected animal. The mite has a typical four-stage life cycle: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. The dandruff is present in the form of scaly skin, which may or may not be itchy. Enlargement of nymph nodes may occur.
If not treated, this mange can affect the whole cattery or kennel and can be spread to humans as well. Treatment of Cheyletiellosis involves the use of shampoos and miticidal dips, the latter being applied every five days for a total of four applications. All cats in coantact with an affected cat or dog should be treated as well since some of them may be harboring mites with or without accompanying clicnical signs. The premises should be thoroughly cleansed to remove any residual mites. Fipronil (Frontline spot-on for cats) in a topical formulation is highly effective for the elimination of an existing Cheyletiella mite infestation following a single topical application. Topical selamectin is a practical and well-tolerated means of treatment for cheyletiellosis in cats as well. Clinical signs subside by day 60 with no signs of recurrence. No adverse reactions are usually observed.