While this site discusses many things to do with skin allergies, as the home page mentions, allergy to inanimate things and contact allergies, food allergies tend to be the major issues for well kept dogs. But this doesnt mean that a properly supervised and cared for dog cant pick up a parasite.
Hence the concern for Cheyletiellosis (mites) in Dogs
The issue being that many of the symptoms of itchiness etc that these mites cause are very similar to the regular ones of dog allergies from food and contact allergies/ airborne allergies.
As mentioned previously you should always rule out the most obvious things first, and they usually are the parasites or orgain issues such as thyroid (that blood tests can check for).
You might wonder why we are talking about mites when this parasitic skin condition is similar to a flea infestation, and is even treated with the same products. Well its because mostly its smaller and can be harder to find and eradicate (often hiding below the skin). that said, the same environmental methods used for exterminating fleas are used with this mite too. Its also important because they can be very hardy, transfer to other pets and to humans.
Now the scary stuff: This kind of dog allergy or infestation of mite parasite is also known as “walking dandruff”. And this is because the mite manoeuvres itself around UNDER the keratin layer of YOUR or YOUR DOGS SKIN. IT pushes up scales of skin on the host so that they seem to be moving, leaving a dusty surface of skin scales on the surface of the dog hair.
The trick with identification is that mites are smaller than fleas, often lighter in colour and often under the skin layer. While some mites might make a low irritation, when combined with poor immunity systems or in conjunction with other allergies they can be quite debilitating, and of course they are sucking nutrients out of your dog and laying waste products in them.
Typical signs of dogs mite infestation
- Alopecia (hair loss)
- Excessive scratching and Lesions on the back
- Visible scaling of the dog skin
- Dusting of skin flakes (dandruff) on the surface of the hair
- Underlying skin irritation (may be minimal)
- Small yellow skin mite may be visible on close inspection (but are often translucent)
Testing for Cheyletiella and other mites on dogs
A vet will take samples of your dog’s skin, and debris from the top layer of the skin and hair for examination. Usually this is by the non invasive collection of using a piece of tape, or by a skin scraping rather than biopsy.
The reason that faecal exam was mentioned in the title is that if the mites cant be easily diagnosed by tape (ie they are under the skin or parts of the body not easily accessed because of hair – They can also be found in a stool sample. This is because a dog can easily lick them off their skin and they will pass through their digestive tract whole. That is some trick considering a dogs stomach acid level can easily digest bone and meat.
Note if your dog is completely infested the mite is still large enough to be discovered with a simple magnifying lens looking either at the skin or the tape.