Cheyletiellosis, Walking Dandruff, Cheyletiella Mange

Cheyeletiellosis is a parasitic disease caused by Cheyletiella mites that can affect dogs, cats, and people. These mites are not associated with hair follicles (like demodex mites), or burrow (like sarcoptic and notoedric mites). They move rapidly on the surface of the skin in pseudotunnels of epidermal debris and spend their entire life cycle on the host. Unlike louse nits that are much larger and firmly cemented to hairs, mite eggs are small and loosely attached to hairs. The most common signs of Cheyletiella mange is pruritis (itching) that can vary from mild to moderate and is not as intense as in sarcoptic mange. Dry white scales (seborrhea), pimples and crusts can also be present. In cats the infection can manifest as miliary dermatitis or symmetrical alopecia from excessive grooming. Cats can have itching without lesions and can be carriers of the parasites without developing clinical signs of the infestation.

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Although definitive diagnosis is usually made by examining the mites with a microscope, a tentative diagnosis is often possible based on the presence of mites and examination of the animal's skin. The mites and eggs are hard to find, especially on animals that are bathed often. In many cases veterinarians will prescribe weekly dipping in an insecticide, which should be repeated 6 to 8 times at weekly intervals. Amitraz dip weekly for 6 treatments is effective for dogs, while fipronil (Frontline flea spray) should be sprayed twice at two week intervals (dogs and cats). The environment should be cleaned, sanitation improved, and the area thoroughly sprayed with a good residual insecticide every 2 weeks during the treatment period.


  1. Scott, Miller, Griffin: Parasitic Skin Diseases. In: Small Animal Dermatology, 5th ed.
  2. Paradis, M., Vileneuve, A.: Efficacy of ivermectin against Cheyletiella yasguri infestation in dogs
  3. Paradis, M., et al.: Efficacy of ivermectin against Cheyletiella blakei in cats
  4. McKee, J.W.: Recurrent infestation of a cat by Cheyletiella

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