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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

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Cheyletiella are parasitic mites that infest and cause skin disease in several species including cats, dogs and rabbits. It is a worldwide disease.  The mites can be transmitted to humans and cause an itchy rash, so they are a potential zoonosis.

ere are 3 common species of Cheyletiella mite :

  • Cheyletiella yasguri - most commonly found on dogs
  • Cheyletiella blakei - most commonly found on cats
  • Cheyletiella parasitovorax - most commonly found on rabbits
  • All species of mite can be transmitted to other animals or to humans

The mites are large (385 mm) live on the skin surface and their eggs are attached to hair shafts. The mites lifecycle lasts 21-35 days on the host animal, but the adults are reported to be able to survive off the host for  2-14 days, so infestation can be contracted from the environment as well as by direct contact

Breed Occurrence
There is no breed predisposition.


These mites cause a variety of clinical signs including the following :

  • Scale (scurf or dandruff) formation. 
  • Large numbers of small white Cheyletiella mites moving about on the surface of the skin is often called "walking dandruff" !
  • Itchiness (pruritus) - usually mild
  • Inflammation of the skin (reddness)
  • Crusts
  • Small swellings/spots (papules)

Failure to cure cheyletiella infestation can be due to them living intranasally 

Diagnosis can be difficult and it is made by taking :

and finding mites or their eggs under a microscope. Eggs can also be found in faecal samples. The mites have 4 pairs of legs with combs (not claws) and accessory mouthparts with terminal hooks.

A variety of antiparasitic preparations can be used to treat cheyletiella mites, including :

  • Selenium sulphide-based shampoos applied once a week for up to 5 weeks
  • Dips in pyrethrin - following manufacturers instructions - dogs, cats and rabbits
  • Dips in lime sulphur  - following manufacturers instructions, usually weekly for 3-4 weeks- dogs, cats and rabbits
  • Dips in amitraz - 3 dips at 2 week intervals - dogs only
  • Injections of ivermectin (0.2-0.3g/kg for up to 3 doses given at 2 week intervals) in breeds of dog (only) in which it is not contraindicated. Some authors do not recommend the use of Ivermectin in dogs at all, and it should NOT be used in Beagles, Collies, Shelties or Collie-crosses as clinical signs of toxicity have been reported to occur at the following doses :
    • Beagles - 2.5-40mg/kg
    • Collies - 0.1-0.2 mg/kg

The environment should be treated by using a vacuum and use of an environmental flea control spray


Long term problems



Updated January 2016