Cheyletiellosis or walking dandruff is actually a form of mange, a skin disease caused by the Cheyletiella mite. The mites move around under the scales of a cat’s skin, giving an appearance of dandruff that is actually alive and moving. Though mites can inhabit the entire body, they are most noticeable on the back of your pet.
Cheyletiellosis is a contagious and zoonotic disease, meaning it can be spread from dog to cat to person by close contact or via a shared environment.
Symptoms are varied and may include:
• Dandruff or scales, especially along the back
• Hair loss
• Redness of the skin
To make a diagnosis, we will perform a physical exam, looking for the characteristic dandruff and mites on your cat’s skin. We may use a magnifying glass or microscope to examine your pet’s skin or fur, looking for dandruff flakes that appear to have legs. We may also perform a skin scraping to rule out additional diseases, such as scabies.
To treat walking dandruff, you need to get rid of the mites on your cat and in the environment. We can prescribe a very effective treatment for this problem, so contact us as soon as possible. Parasite-control products are usually effective if used appropriately and for a prolonged period. To prevent reinfection, make sure to treat all animals in your home.
There are some simple steps you can take to prevent walking dandruff. These include reducing your cat’s exposure to infested animals, keeping her bedding and environment clean and free of parasites, and checking her often for anything out of the ordinary.