Cheyletiellosis is caused by several different species of Cheyletiella and have been affectionately nicknamed “walking dandruff”. They are just large enough to be seen by a very keen eye, or with the use of a hand lens. These mites do not burrow but rather feed on the superficial debris present on the skin surface. They are contagious to other animals as well as people. It is more commonly seen in cats than dogs. This mite, unlike scabies or Demodex , is capable of living in the environment for an extended time, perhaps up to 10 days.
The clinical presentation is very variable and some animals may have no signs of problems, others have dandruff, and others may be intensely itchy. A crusting dermatitis of cats referred to as “miliary dermatitis” can also be due to cheyletiellosis in some cases.
The diagnosis is not as difficult as for sarcoptic mange, although the mites are not always easy to find. They can be collected by skin scrapings, acetate (Scotch) tape impressions, or even a modified vacuuming technique.
The treatment options for cheyletiellosis are the same as for sarcoptic or notoedric mange.