Cheyletiella Mange in Cats

Although mange is more common in dogs, mange in cats is possible as well. Cats suffering from mange are actually playing host to a parasite of some kind. As the parasites feed off of your pet’s skin or blood, skin damage, changes in coat sheen and luster and hair loss may occur. Cheyletiella mange is one of the most common types of mange affecting cats. Continue reading for more information about the cause, symptoms and treatments of this condition.

The Cheyletiella Mite

Cheyletiella mange refers to mange in cats caused by one of three types of cheyletiella mite. These mites are small and light in color, and consequently appear in some cases to be moving dandruff upon examination. Cheyletiella mites are often called “walking dandruff.”

These mites feed off of dead skin cells on your pet’s body. They don't pose a significant health risk to your pet, but can cause some discomfort and other symptoms of mange. The life cycle of the mite is about 3 weeks from egg to adult stage. Infection occurs when adult mites pass from one animal to another. Female adults then lay eggs on the new host animal. Infection can also occur without direct contact, as adult mites and eggs can both be spread through bedding, fabrics and other parts of the environment.

Symptoms of Cheyletiella Mange

Once your pet has contracted the mite infestation, he will start to display symptoms of cheyletiella mange. These symptoms include the following:

  • Irritated and red skin
  • Flaky skin
  • Mild hair loss
  • Excessive itchiness

If your pet appears to be scratching excessively, and it is accompanied by some irritation and hair loss, he may have cheyletiella mange. In this case, have your pet examined by a veterinarian.

Diagnosing Cheyletiella Mange

A proper diagnosis of cheyletiella mange requires a skin scraping and examination. Your veterinarian will conduct a physical exam to determine your pet’s overall health, and will then search for signs of mites. The mites are small, but are still visible to the naked eye. Identification may be easier with a magnifying glass or microscope, however. Your veterinarian will take a small skin sample and will search for signs of mites and eggs.

Treatment of Cheyletiella Mange

Cheyletiella mites are not particularly resilient, and can generally be eliminated with a standard flea treatment or approved insecticide. Topical ointments are also helpful in relieving irritated skin and other symptoms of infestation. Your veterinarian can help to direct you toward the cheapest and safest treatment plan for your pet.

If left untreated, cheyletiella mites will continue to grow and infest your cat’s skin, and his condition may worsen somewhat. The mites can and do infest human hosts as well. Prompt treatment will ensure that both your cat and you remain free of cheyletiella mite infestation.