CHEYLETIELLA: What you need to know
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Cheyletiella - the mange no one's ever heard of!
An infestation of C. yasguri parasitic mites is the critter responsible for Cheyletiella mange, Cheyletiellosis or as it's commonly known, walking dandruff. It got the nickname walking dandruff because of the way the mite maneuvers around beneath the keratin layer, pushing up scales of skin so that they seem to be moving, and leaving a dusty surface of skin scales on the surface of the hair.
Once relatively unknown, these contagious, non-burrowing, non-seasonal, carnivorous parasites are considered under diagnosed epidemic. Alice M. Jeromin, DVM, recently stated, “In our practice we actually see more cases of Cheyletiella mites “walking dandruff” than fleas!”
CauseThe reason dogs get walking dandruff is that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. There’s nothing you did or didn’t do to put your dog in this predicament. These mites are aggressive travelers and hungry opportunists who thought your dog looked delicious.
Cheyletiella are transmitted by direct contact with an infested 2-or 4-legged host or by indirect contact if the victim has visited an area where a host has deposited mites or eggs. The mites lay in wait off of a host for up to 10 days while seeking a new host. During this time they are little tourists that stay busy infesting other territories and laying eggs.
- Zoonotic - highly contagious to people & other pets
- Wildlife are frequent carriers
- Determining source of infestation is difficult (symptoms don’t show up until 3–5 weeks after exposure)
- Reinfestation common if environment is improperly decontaminated
Please note that within each type of mange, every dog reacts a little differently with its own set of signs and symptoms. Your dog may exhibit all, some or none of the following indicators. The level of symptom severity is also all over the lot.
If you suspect Cheyletiella, the primary symptoms associated with it include excessive scratching, skin scales, underlying skin irritation and hair loss. The skin sometimes has small, red raised areas where the mites have bitten and the coat, usually unkempt looking, is scattered with flakes that look like dandruff but are in fact small, pale yellow Cheyletiella mites. You may be able to see the mites on close inspection or watch in terror as skin flakes (dandruff) mysteriously move on the skin’s surface.
If you’re unsure you may want to visit our Symptom Checker page. It can help you narrow down which type your dog has.
- Preferred area of infestation is the back
- Skin irritation & hair loss typically minimal
- Young animals have an increased risk of infection due to their immature immune systems
- Carnivorous, eats keratin debris and tissue fluids
Other conditions with similar symptoms can make it hard to get a confirmed diagnosis. Some of those health issues are dandruff, flea-allergy reactions, infestation by mites other than Cheyletiella, allergic reactions due to food sensitivity, diabetes, and skin allergies that are particular to your dog. If those are not ruled out your dog may well end up being treated for the wrong disorder.
Diagnosing Cheyletiella can be tricky because it depends on finding mites or eggs during the exam and that’s not always possible. Clinical diagnoses are made by close examination of biopsied tissue, skin scrapings, flakes and/or dandruff caught on sticky tape, or anything collected with a fine comb or small vacuum cleaner for the presence of the mites or their eggs. Fecal examination and fecal float tests may also turn up mites and eggs swallowed during self-grooming. However, none of these methods are foolproof and mites may not be discovered even when they are present.
Home diagnostics include reviewing symptomatology and history, close skin examination, tape testing, combings, and if you’re feeling invincible, fecal examination. You are looking for mites, eggs, or moving flakes and a strong magnifying glass or a microscope will help you make a better diagnosis. To do a tape test, use a 6-inch length of clear sticky tape and press the adhesive side repeatedly to the dog’s coat. Mites on the surface can get stuck on the tape. If you attempt fecal examination, dig around and look for hookworm-like eggs in the feces.
Negative results happen in 15 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats with Cheyletiella. Be careful about when you conduct your tests. If the animal has just been groomed or bathed the number of mites will be reduced. Be sure to check other pets in the household too.
- Pale, slightly yellowish in color, chunky, fat-waisted mite
- May be visible with the naked eye
- Symptoms usually develop 3–5 weeks after exposure
- A negative test result is not reliable diagnosis
- Other animals and/or people itch (20–80% contract it after exposure)
Veterinary treatments are the usual chemical insecticides that are licensed for other purposes besides mange. They all contain neurotoxins that systemically spread through the body, turning every cell into a poison bomb. Overall they fail about a third of the time, have consistently high incidences of harmful side effects and recurrence is common because decontamination is not addressed. Side effects can range from digestive upset to wobbly legs to seizures and on rare occasions, death. Some owners have success and are comfortable with chemical treatments, some don’t know they have options and a growing number want nothing to do with them.
Today, more and more pet owners demand safer alternatives and seek a natural route. Sadly this concept is not embraced by clinicians who are grounded in pharmacology and information on natural options is scarce. Many vets are resistant or defensive and do not make their clientele aware that there are other options.
Our natural approach safely kills mites without caustic or toxic chemicals. Mite Avenge’s effectiveness is due to the holistic program that we embrace. Mite Avenge is the most effective natural mite killer you can buy and Happy Dog Naturals is the only source that explains all the facts and offers a proven solution. We also have the supplies (all carefully vetted) to do it right and get them to your doorstep remarkably fast and usually free. We’re honest enough to be up front with what’s involved even though it costs us business from those not willing to undertake a multi-pronged approach. We built this company to help you be the best guardian-advocate a dog could have and the products we offer are selected to give you the expert tools to help you win the battle against mange. We want you to have everything you need throughout your journey.
There is a space for both chemical & natural treatments; the bottom line as to treatment choice is what’s best for you and your dog. When you take responsibility for your pet’s health we want you to be fully informed.
- Herding breeds like Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Old English Sheepdogs, and others known to carry the MDR1 gene mutation should never be treated with chemicals
- Length of treatment with chemicals is indefinite
- Length of treatment following Mite Avenge treatment plan is 4 weeks
- All household cats, rabbits & dogs must be treated
- Household decontamination is required