Walking Dandruff, Demodicosis And Trombiculosis In Dogs

Walking Dandruff (Cheyletiellosis)

Walking dandruff in dogs is caused by Cheyletiella yasguri mites. The term ‘walking’ is used because the dandruff seen on the skin of the dog is really mites moving about. In most cases, these mites live on their preferred hosts, though it’s possible for cross-species infections to occur. It is also possible for humans to be infected with these mites. This condition tends to be highly contagious, particularly in multi-pet homes, catteries, and kennels. There are certain insecticides commonly used to eliminate flea infestations; some of them have the added advantage of controlling the mites responsible for walking dandruff. Walking dandruff mites may stay on their host for their life cycle, which is about 3 weeks.

Common signs of walking dandruff include infestation along the spine and scaling of the skin. Most animals develop an intense itch, though there are others that do not. Those animals that don’t exhibit any signs can spread the mites to humans and other pets. A tentative diagnosis can be made simply by checking the animal’s skin for the presence of mites. However, examining the mites under a microscope is how a definitive diagnosis is typically made.

It is difficult to find the eggs and mites on animals that are routinely washed. A majority of veterinarians will prescribe dipping the affected animal in an insecticide every week so as to kill the mites. Additionally, it is crucial that mites in the animals kennel, bedding, carpet, and other areas are eliminated by treating the pet’s environment, especially if it’s a multi-pet community.

Owners of affected pets should confirm with their physician on the appropriate steps and medication to take, in order to manage mite infestations in themselves, their family members, and the home. The mites can easily spread from pet to owner.

Canine Demodicosis

Canine demodicosis is caused by mites that gather in small numbers in the sebaceous glands and hair follicles of all dogs. Such a condition is normal and does not result in disease. On the other hand, for unclear reason, there are dogs that develop hair loss and inflammation due to large numbers of Demodex canis mites. Some dogs have shown a genetic inclination for this condition, and it is assumed that the immune response to these mites may have been suppressed.

Two clinical varieties of canine demodicosis exist: generalized (all over the body) and localized (restricted to a small area). Generalized demodicosis is a severe disease with extensive skin inflammation, commonly resulting in secondary bacterial infections (pyodemodicosis). Other signs include inflamed foot pads, pus-filled inflammation of the deeper layers of skin, enlarged lymph nodes, fever, and lethargy.

Localized demodicosis usually affects dogs younger than 2 years of age. Areas affected usually tend to be red or densely pigmented, hairless, with raised bumps similar to pimples. Itching is mild to absent. Though most cases of localized demodicosis resolve without treatment, there are some cases that advance to the generalized form.

Verifying a diagnosis of demodicosis requires laboratory investigation of deep skin scrapings. On top of that, your dog will be tested for other infections that may have caused the immune system to be suppressed.

Generalized demodicosis is a serious disease that needs medical treatment. On the other hand, localized demodicosis usually resolves with no treatment. Methods of demodicosis treatment include medicated shampoos and dips, and prescription drugs to exterminate the mites. Antibiotics may also be recommended whenever secondary bacterial infections occur. Scrapings of the skin are taken every month to keep an eye on the number of mites on the dog.

It is important for owners of affected animals to understand that treatment of generalized demodicosis can take a number of months. The anti-parasitic treatment approved must be taken continuously until there are at least 2 successive negative skin scrapings test results.

Dogs with demodicosis should not be used for breeding, as this could be a genetic condition.


This type of mange results from the parasitic larval stage of mites that belong to the Trombiculidae family. The nymphs and adults resemble small spiders and reside on decaying matter. The larvae are picked up by dogs whenever they lie on the ground or pass through mite-infested areas.

The larvae fix themselves to the animal, and then spend a few days feeding and engorging before leaving the host. They look like small, oval, orange-red, immobile dots. Common body parts that they are found gathering on include the ears, head, stomach, or feet. Signs of Trombiculosis include crusts, redness, loss of hair, and bumps. It is common for severe itching to persist even after the larvae have moved on. An effective diagnosis is founded on symptoms and medical history. Other skin disorders that might cause the itching (e.g. respiratory allergies) should be excluded by your veterinarian. Careful examination of the affected areas is done in order to verify the presence of larvae. Scrapings of skin may be analysed under the microscope to verify or detect the 6-legged mite larvae.

Trombiculosis treatment for dogs and other pets is similar to that for the regular treatment of mange. However, medication given to eliminate these mites on your pet could be dissimilar from those recommended for other types of mites. Your veterinarian’s treatment program is crucial, and should be followed. Extreme or extended itching may require prescription of antibiotics or other medications so as to manage secondary infections due to bites and scratches.

It is quite difficult to avoid re-infestation of your pet. However, if possible, you should keep pets away from areas that could be harbouring mites.

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