Cheyletiellosis is a skin condition caused by a parasite, named Cheyletiella, that lives on the surface of the skin of animals and that feeds on blood and skin debris.
Animals catch the parasite by coming in direct contact with an infested animal or with contaminated hairs present in the environment.
By moving around on the animal's skin, the parasite causes itching.
Skin flakes and dandruff can often be seen at the base of its fur. The disease is also known as « walking dandruff ».
The parasite's hosts, meaning the animals on which the parasite lives, include dogs, cats, rabbits and humans.
It can be obtained in different ways :
- By using a magnifying glass to see the mites on the animal's skin;
- By using scotchtape or by scraping the surface of the skin to collect the parasites and then observe them under the microscope;
- By looking at a stool sample under the microscope to try to see the mites themselves or their eggs that have been swallowed when the animal bit himself to relieve the itching.
The diagnosis is easily obtained when the mites are seen. Otherwise, it might be necessary to use antiparasitic medications to confirm the infestation.
Various effective and safe products are available to get rid of the infestation.
It is very important that all the animals in the house be treated at the same time and it is also sometimes necessary to treat the environment as well.