They are an uncommon scourge that needs immediate attention once they have found their way into your living spaces. Cheyletiella mites are a highly contagious parasite. They can look like dandruff that shifts around on the hair of the family dog or cat.
There are a few ways to rid them from your furry friend or yourself if the mites have traveled. A homemade remedy is easy to prepare. There are many commercial cleansers for cheyletiella mites as well.
Symptoms of Cheyletiella Mites
The mites move in and rapidly begin to multiply. As they expand their territory on the skin, they will start to irritate the dermatitis. The itching will start before the rash. This is when people will first begin to notice that the mites are even there.
Symptoms of a mite infestation can include:
- Scale or crust on the skin surface
- Intense scratching
- Lesions on joints, elbows and ankles
- Hair loss
- Unnecessary inflammation and redness
How to Identify Cheyletiella Mites
When the dog begins to scratch mercilessly, or the cat rubs its back and hindquarters continuously against any vertical surface, you should investigate for mites. The cheyletiella mites look like large, whitish flakes.
They move along the skin surface. Take time to watch the white specks on the animal's fur to be sure they are cheyletiella mites. They have a claw-like mouth that bites skin.
Most Common Hosts for Mites
Our four-legged, thick-furred friends tend to bring the mites into the home. If they aren't noticed immediately, they can quickly spread to humans via upholstered furniture, bedding and clothing. It's not terribly common, however, for them to leave their cozy fur home for human skin.
They are transferred from animal to animal. This can become a rampant problem among farm animals, groups of dogs and cats at pet shops or in rescue groups. It is less likely that the little pests will transfer from human to human.
Keeping Mites at Bay
The mites and eggs can live for days and even weeks on areas other than skin or fur. This is why it is important to thoroughly wash all fabric items, clothing, bedding, collars and carpets after an infestation is discovered.
Ways of Finding Mites
The mites' eggs can show up in a pet's fecal matter. If you have any questions, have your veterinarian check the pet's poop. You can also scrape the skin and press a piece of tape against the skin. Look for the miniscule mites on the tape or take it to be analyzed.
Cheyletiella Mange Home Treatment
Also called "walking dandruff" mites for their odd appearance, cheyletiella mites can look like mange. The tiny pests can be eradicated by treating the skin with:
- ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup of borax
Mix these in a gallon of warm water. Gently sponge it on the animal's fur, making sure you get down to the skin, along the neck and under each leg joint.
"Walking Dandruff" Home Treatment
While the creepy mites prefer the thick fur and skin of animals, they will transfer to humans if the conditions are ripe or right. They will cause an itchy rash that looks like dandruff, hence the name "walking dandruff" mite.
Traditional Treatments for Cheyletiella Mites
Commercial chemical insecticides for mange work well for curing an animal of cheyletiella mites. They contain neurotoxins that spread throughout the body. This is pretty invasive and unfortunately only works about one out of three times.
The side effects from using these can include:
- Unsteady gait
- Gastral issues
There are some commercial nontoxic remedies as well that work wonders in ridding the animal of the pests.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.