Cheyletiella and cats

by catfood

Cheyletiella on-skin mites are the source of itching, dandruff, and pain. One distinguishing feature of this particular mite species is its enormous, claw-like mouthparts. These mites are usually carried by cats, dogs, rabbits, and other mammals. Although humans are not the parasite’s natural host, Cheyletiella mites can live contentedly on them for a while, causing an itchy rash.


What Is Cheyletiella, Exactly?

Cheyletiella is a type of mite. A typical adult’s length is 0.385 millimeters. They don’t have claws; they have eight legs. The mites stay on the keratin surface rather than entering the skin. Cheyletiella can only survive for 10 days without a host and has a 21-day life cycle on one.

Because the mites’ movement among the skin flakes provides the impression that the dandruff is moving, Cheyletiella infection is occasionally and frequently referred to as “walking dandruff.” The term “cheyletiellosis” in medicine refers to a mite infestation. The Cheyletiella mite, often known as the “rabbit fur mite,” really has several different species that prefer different host species. Despite the fact that Cheyletiella mites normally dwell on the skin, they have occasionally penetrated and remained in the nose.

The precise Cheyletiella species involved, however, is irrelevant because all Cheyletiella species share the same symptoms and treatments, and the mites occasionally jump from one host species to another if given the opportunity. Although they can also infest people, human infestations are only temporary since they cannot complete their life cycle there.


Cats’ Cheyletiella symptoms

Various Cheyletiella signs can be seen in animals. Some animals won’t exhibit any symptoms at all, while others will exhibit a range of them. The back of the animal will be primarily affected by any skin-related problems.


  • Scaly skin (dandruff)
  • (Itching) Scratching (itchiness)
  • Rose skin tone
  • Tiny bumps on the skin
  • Body bruising slight baldness
  • Sneezing while clawing one’s face (if mites enter the nose)

The Cheyletiella ancestry

Affected animals are regularly exposed to the mites in close proximity to humans. They commonly occur in places like farms and pet shops where there are many different animals living together. Due to the fact that the mites and their eggs can only live in the environment for a short amount of time, infestations can be acquired indirectly by coming into contact with bedding, toys, or other items containing the mites (days to weeks).

Understanding Cheyletiella

Cheyletiella mites can occasionally be seen crawling across your skin, however they are generally very difficult to see. All of these methods are not infallible. Their eggs can occasionally turn up in fecal samples because they are consumed during self-grooming activities. On scrapings of the skin, samples of dandruff obtained using a fine comb or sticky tape, or both, the presence of the mites or their eggs can be examined. Even if the mites are present, it’s possible that no one will detect them because of how hard they are to find. It can be particularly difficult to identify them in felines.

Your veterinarian may still suggest treating for Cheyletiella even if the mites cannot be seen because the signs and symptoms are highly suggestive of the disease. Trial treatment is a great way to rule out Cheyletiella before looking at alternative, harder to pinpoint causes of skin problems.


Treatment and Prevention

Your veterinarian will recommend a Cheyletiella treatment that is appropriate for your pet and family circumstances out of the many available options. The need for treatment stems from the fact that sensitive humans and canines occasionally experience unpleasant reactions to the required doses. Your veterinarian can offer advice on how to maintain the home environment. Since Cheyletiella mites can be carried even by animals who don’t show any symptoms, all pets in the home should be treated at the same time. There are various therapy options.

  • Selamectin, a topical parasite preventative available under the brand name Revolution, can be used to treat cheyletiella.
  • Cheyletiella in cats has also been treated with milbemycin (trade name Interceptor), an oral parasite preventative.
  • Ivermectin is an anti-mite medication that can be given intravenously or orally. Along with the pet, the home environment (floors, bedding, toys, etc.) should be treated.
  • Sprays, shampoos, and dips—topical treatments for mites—can be effective (e.g. pyrethrin-based products, lime-sulfur dips). It’s important to pay attention to your veterinarian’s advice on the best products to use on cats and how to apply them correctly. These procedures take time, and topical medications won’t be as effective if mites hide in the nasal passages as the aforementioned medications that are taken internally.

Cheyletiella infestations on people are self-contained because the mites are unable to proliferate there. Symptoms in humans should go away once mites have typically been removed from the household pets.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your family pet, know the pet’s health history, and may make the best recommendations for your dog.

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