Cheyletiella Mites (or walking dadruff as they are often known) are Zoonoses. Zoonoses are diseases that can be transmitted between vertibrate species, including man, which means they are not restricted just to our furry friends.
As with the Harvest Mite, “walking dandruff” lives on the surface of the skin and feeds on skin cell debris. It can cause a scaly coat and some, but not all, dogs find this condition itchy.
Detecting walking dandruff mites can be achieved by brushing the coat onto a dark surface and, as the mites themselves are pale in colour, they show up on the dark background and can be seen walking about – and thus the reason for their charming name! Alternatively, a visit to the vet can see the use of the sticky tape method of detection where the vet may simply use a clear sticky tape on the dog’s coat to pick up any adults or eggs and then examine them under the microscope for confirmation.
Insecticidal preparations obtained from your vet, including sprays and shampoos, are an effective way to treat these mites. This parasite has a long life cycle and therefore it is important that all dogs who have been in contact with the affected animal should also be treated. Please take care to thoroughly clean any bedding and vacuum the house. It is often prudent to treat soft furnishings and carpets with treatments sold for flea prevention due to the fact that these mites can continue to survive off their hosts for a short time.
If you would prefer NOT to go down the chemical route for treatment, Diatomaceous Earth is another good alternative – see earlier blog.