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Cheyletiella Mites or Walking Dandruff

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Last Updated on 25/05/2021 by Dochlaggie. Post first published on June 12, 2016.

Does Your Pomeranian Have Walking Dandruff or Dandruff mites?

Is your Pomeranian puppy scratching and biting himself? Does your Pomeranian puppy have bad dandruff, especially in the tail area? Your Pomeranian may have dandruff mites or walking dandruff.

What Are Cheyletiella Mites?

Cheyletiella was first diagnosed in 1878 in a rabbit. The first dog case appeared in Austria. Since that time, there have been diagnoses in: badgers, foxes, cats, dogs and even people. It’s also believed that some wild animals may have it but they’re harder to test, of course.

Cheyletiella Mites (aka Walking Dandruff)
Cheyletiella Mites (aka Walking Dandruff)

There are different types of Cheyletiella: dogs have yasguri; cats have blakei and rabbits have parasitivorax types, also called rabbit dandruff. All species can infect people as Cheyletosis.

One of the first theories was that mites actually were regarded as predators of various other ectoparasites including lice, fleas and flies. However, now the main belief is that Cheyletiella is an actual rabbit, cat and dog parasite.

One publish report claims most domestic rabbits aren’t symptomatic but do carry this mite. These mites are very contagious via direct physical contact. They don’t burrow. Instead, they directly feed on the layer of keratin on the epidermis. These mites are big and measure 466-500 microns by 300 microns wide. Some can even be seen by the naked eye. They have eight legs and heavy, curved palpal claws. These mites are yellow and would stand out easily. The mite eggs measure 190 to 260 microns in length, are sometimes in an embryonic state and are connected to hairs via strands that are cocoon-like in nature.

Often wrongly identified as the eggs of hookworms, they’re three times bigger. Their life cycle lasts 21 days and has five separate stages: egg, pre-larva, larva, first-stage nymph, second-stage nymph and adult. After an animal is exposed, infestation will take anywhere from three to five weeks.

The female of the species can live in the host’s environment for 10 days. Puppies are more susceptible to these mites. Due to the highly contagious nature of the Cheyletiella mites, be very careful when choosing a groomer or kennels where your pet would mingle with other dogs.

It’s also critical to check all pets in case any are asymptomatic carriers of the mites. This walking dandruff easily affects dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds and genders. It’s often referred to as a zoonotic condition. This means the mites can move from your affected pets to you and others around you.

Cheyletiellosis causes various symptoms in humans including: intensely itchy red bumps on the skin (aka papules) that mainly appear on the arms, butt, abdomen and body. Once your dog is treated and recovers, then you’ll get better.

Cheyletiella Mites Treatment

Because flea-controlling pesticides are very commonly used today, this dandruff issue is much less common. The mites are usually killed by the pesticides.

If your Pomeranian appears to have persistent areas of dandruff, especially under the tail and on the ears, have your veterinarian do skin scrapings to test and diagnose the cause of the problem.

Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your dog. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on ANY website.

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References and Further Reading:

[1] Denise Leo “The Pomeranian Handbook”.

The Pomeranian Handbook


Denise Leo

Pomeranians are my passion, and I have shared my life with these darling little dogs for many decades. The creator and face behind this website is published author and Pomeranian breed authority Denise Leo of Dochlaggie Pomeranians.

Denise Leo
Denise Leo