Three species of cheyletiella mites exist. Pet Education.com lists these as C. blakei, C. parasitivorax and Cheyletiella yasguri. Cheyletiella yasguri is most likely to infect dogs, according to The Merck Veterinary Manual. It is possible to observe the movement of these mites on an animal's skin, which is why cheyletiella is sometimes called "walking dandruff." Transmission occurs from contact with infected dogs or from contact with infected objects. Signs of infection include scaly skin, itching and hair loss.
Many flea and tick products contain insecticides called pyrethrins. The Merck Veterinary Manual and PetEducation.com list these insecticides as a common and effective treatment for cheyletiella mites. Pyrethrin extracts come from chrysanthemum flowers. They work by attacking a mite's nervous system. Allergic reactions to pyrethrins are rare, with the most common symptoms of toxicity being vomiting, excess salivation, tremors and seizures. The Merck Veterinary Manual suggests dipping a cheyletiella-infected dog with pyrethrins on a weekly basis for six to eight weeks.
Permethrin is a type of pyrethrin. (See References 3 and 4) Unlike regular pyrethrin, which occurs naturally and is relatively safe, permethrin is man-made and more difficult for an animal's body to break down. (See References 4) Like regular pyrethrins, permethrin works by attacking a cheyletiella mite's nervous system. It generally comes in a topical form that you apply monthly to your pet's skin. Common problems that occur with permethrin use include rashes, skin irritation, hair loss, lethargy, excess salivation and itchiness. PetEducation.com advises pet owners to contact a veterinarian if their dogs begin to vomit, have diarrhoea, have seizures, become overly excited or have problems with coordination after an application of permethrin. (See References 4)
Products like Frontline and Frontline Plus use an insecticide called fipronil. The product, which comes as a topical spot treatment or a spray, paralyses a mite by attacking its nervous system. Apply fipronil once a month. During this time, the insecticide collects in skin and hair follicles, where it is gradually released onto the dog's skin, according to Pet Education. Dogs may drool if they ingest fipronil. It may also cause skin irritation. The Merck Veterinary Manual states that while fipronil is has been reported as an effective treatment for cheyletiella mites, it is not yet approved for primary use in treating the condition.
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