The mite shown is Cheyletiella species, which causes seborrheic dermatitis in dogs. Cheyletiella species mites live on the surface of dogs, cats, and rabbits, feeding on flakes of stratum corneum, and, thus, are found in scurf (loose, dry scales) rather than in deep skin scrapes.12 The condition is referred to as walking dandruff because the flakes adhere to the back of the mites and can occasionally be seen moving across the dog or the examination table as the mites walk around in the environment.13 These mites are zoonotic and readily bite people that come in contact with an infested animal or environment.13
Cheyletiella species can survive in the environment for several days; thorough cleaning of the home to remove the parasites through vacuuming and washing of bedding and other material where the pet spends its time, as well as repeated treatment of the dog with topical or systemic acaricides, may be necessary to eliminate the infestation.12 For symptomatic relief of pruritus, the owner should be referred to her physician.
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