Cheyletiella mites cause a type of dog mange known as walking dandruff. Because walking mange is highly contagious, treat all pets in your household even if they aren't showing symptoms. The most common symptoms are itching and flaky white dandruff along the back, though hair loss may occur from excessive scratching or grooming. These skin mites live for up to five weeks, so it's important to repeat treatments as often as directed to completely rid your pet of cheyletiella mites.
Bring your pet to the vet for a firm diagnosis. Dogs, cats and rabbits may all suffer from walking dandruff, and each species requires different treatments to get rid of cheyletiella mites. Depending on the severity of the mite infestation, your vet may prescribe one or several treatments.
Shampoo your pet with selenium sulphide-based shampoo once a week for five treatments. These shampoos are similar to the Selsun brand used for humans. Lather the dog well and wait half an hour before rinsing (if you can get your dog to sit still that long).
Use a pyrethrin dip. Your vet will instruct you on how often to dip the animal and the pyrethrin dosage based on breed, weight, and severity of infestation.
Use a lime sulphur dip. A general guideline is to dip the animal once a week for four weeks, but your vet will instruct you in a protocol if you use this cheylietta mite treatment.
Injections of ivermectin are administered in three doses over a two-week period. Your vet administers the ivermectin shots and can help you decide if your dog's breed is acceptable for this treatment.
Clean your home thoroughly at least weekly until all cheyletiella mites are gone. Vacuum all floors (including hard surfaces) and use the wand to get into corners and along baseboards. Vacuum curtains and furniture. Throw the vacuum bag away immediately into an outdoor bin. If your dog cuddles in bed with you, wash your sheets and pillows in hot water.
- It's thought that these mites die within a couple of days off the host, but female mites may live for up to 10 days. You can avoid fogging or bombing your home with dangerous chemicals by removing all pets from the home for a week or two so the mites die naturally.
- dog image by Bobi from Fotolia.com