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Cheyletiellosis. (Walking Dandruff) Anyone dealt with this?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I think one of my cats is suffering from cheyletiellosis.


Freya has always been prone to allergies and sensitive skin. She was feral born, TNR'd in the autumn of 2013 when she was about 5 months old. After I had her spayed I put a collar on her so that people would know someone was taking care of her. She developed an allergy to the nickle plated link that attached the tag to the collar and scratched a big bloody patch on her neck. The vet prescribed a steroid cream and I removed the collar.


Every year at the start of winter she starts to scratch herself raw. It gets really dry here in the winter so I have a humidifier in the house, which helps a bit. She is treated regularly with Frontline between May and October. I've never seen any fleas on her or any of the other cats. They are groomed almost every day with a flea comb. However, there are a lot of mosquitoes and deer ticks around and the Frontline stops them getting bitten by those. It's too cold for bugs in the winter so I only treat them during the summer.


All the cats have outdoor access to an enclosure, but they don't come into contact with any other animals.


She's been scratching a lot these past few weeks and this morning I was finally able to get her into a carrier so the vet could take a look. (Always a challenge with the semi-feral cats) She tested negative for the mites that cause demodectic, notedric and sarcoptic mange. The vet said that it is common for cats to have a few mites and they don't usually cause any problems. He thinks that Freya is just hyper-sensitive to getting bitten by anything, so we're trying to get rid of whatever mite is causing her to itch.


I've treated the whole gang with Frontline. All bedding, cat and human, has been taken to the coin laundry and put through on the hot cycle. I've had anything that won't fit in a washing machine hanging outside all day in the hope that our frigid mountain air will kill whatever is there. I've also ordered a pet-safe flea, mite and tick killer spray to zap the sofa and mattresses. We don't have any carpet and I vacuum twice a day most days.


Is this enough? Do I need to throw all the bedding out or is a hot wash and a spray enough to kill the mite? 


Freya is the only one scratching, the rest of the cats don't seem to be bothered by whatever is making her itch.


If you've dealt with this with any of your cats I'd be grateful to hear what worked for you.



post #2 of 12

Did the vet look at a mite under the scope and tell you it is that species of mite or you are thinking this yourself?

If so did he give her a treatment?


All have mites, but a cat's immune system keeps the number controlled.

When a cat's system is unable to, whether from a weakened system, or unhealthy eating longer term, for instance an unowned cat who struggles for food, or a long term illness, the mites are able to multiply out of control, which causes mange/scabies and needs treatment.

Even exposing a cat with mange to another cat, while the other cat may get mites from the mange cat, his system will not allow them to multiply out of control. 

So all cats have mites.


Some cats, as my Krissy was, are extra sensitive to bites of any kind, and those cats will often have allergies show up on their skin seen by intensive scratching.


So while he mentions mites, this is actually normal, I'd say she has a sensitivity to something else, whether soap used for laundry, environmental, but in my opinion most likely from a food source.


Not an easy find either, I know......

Especially when there is more than one cat in the home, it can be a challenge!


If you believe this is what is going on (mites) the best way to make yourself feel better is to go ahead and treat her with revolution, 3 times in a row consecutively with 2 weeks in between treatments.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply @catwoman707


Yes, the vet took a skin scraping and found cheyletiellosis mites, but said that it was only a tiny amount and not what he would consider a serious infestation. However, as Freya is prone to allergies he suggested we dose her with Frontline as this would kill the mites if that is what makes her itch.


I've ordered enough for all of the cats off the internet as it's cheaper than buying from the vet. It should be arriving tomorrow.


I have thought about food allergies. They get the same diet year round. I rotate brands and flavours,but a case of food doesn't last that long so it's a weekly rotation. She only seems to itch in the winter so I think it must be either because of the cold, dry air or the fact that I only use flea treatment in the spring and summer. She tested negative for FIV and FeLV when she was TNR'd. She's always been a bit on the chubby side.


Anyway, I'll see if the extra doses of Frontline make any difference.


Do you think I need to throw all their bedding out or will putting it through a hot wash be enough?


Here's a picture of her at 6 months and at 3 years old.


post #4 of 12

She is just gorgeous, look at that irresistible tummy! Just begging for kisses. :love:


It may very well be as simple as not using flea treatment during the winter, as most topicals will not only take care of fleas but aid in reducing mites too.

She's just a sensitive little cookie.


Upon first glance of her pic, not knowing how long ago the first pic was taken I felt some concern for her eye color, clicked on the pic to blow it up bigger and get a clearer look and don't see what I thought I did.

She has a very unique color. Are her eyes the same now as they were at 6 months?

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the compliment.




She does have striking eyes, doesn't she? They changed colour as she got older. Here's a more recent picture.



Actually, a lot of kittens born into that colony were brown-eyed to start with and then became green-eyed.


Freya's litter-mate Henry Lee.




My lovely George. :rbheart: when he was a kitten.



The kittens seem to be brown-eyed and then green-eyed or blue-eyed points. I'm not sure why.



post #6 of 12

What gorgeous pictures, you have either an amazing camera or stunning subjects, or both!

I'm thinking both :)


I have never seen an older cat or teenager cat have such a drastic change of color, and tried researching this but can't get around the kitten changes......

Yours change later, which is a mystery.  :think:

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you. It's a pretty standard camera, I think I'm just blessed with some very pretty cats.




Well, I've managed to get Frontline on all of the cats. Even the wild ones. I cornered them when they were asleep in their boxes. The Pet Friendly organic mite spray came and it smells really good. I'm hoping that works.


The bad news is that Freya is still scratching. She can't have any mites left. I've cleaned the house from top to bottom and all the bedding is going through the hot wash every other day now.


I guess I'll give it another few weeks and a second dose of Frontline and then take her back to the vet.



post #8 of 12

Fleas became immune to Frontline here as well as my all time fave advantage 11, so revolution is now the med of choice, but if Frontline still works where you are then better since it's not as costly as revolution is.

Frontline can be repeated after 2 weeks too, a couple days after her 2nd dose if she hasn't stopped scratching I would consider this a food allergy.

Or try a different flea med just on her in case frontline is not doing it's job.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Freya has been doing really well lately. I gave her the second dose of Frontline two weeks after the first and she seemed to stop scratching herself for a while. This weekend she decided to lick all the fur off of her lower belly and the inside of her back legs.




I have an appointment with the vet first thing Wednesday morning. I'll let you know how it goes.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well, this morning was eventful. I just could not catch Freya, Usually if I distract her with a bit of cream cheese or mayonnaise I can scoop her up in a net and get her into the carrier, but today she refused to co-operate. She stayed at the highest point of the Kitty Highway, right out of reach. We tried to sneak up on her with a blanket, but she was having none of it. She did a flying leap from the highway, shot out the cat door and ran up the closest tree.




Instead I took Susy and The Mu down to see the vet. They've both been over-grooming lately and they have little bald patches on their tummies, the same as Freya. The vet said there was nothing at all on the skin scrapings he took from them. He thinks that all three are over-grooming because of stress.


I can understand that. We have  a Feliway diffuser on 24/7, but when the weather gets really cold and the enclosure is full of snow they all spend a lot of time cooped up indoors. I guess that is stressing them out.


I've now got some Prednisolone for all three of them. It must taste really nasty. I managed to get Mu and Susy to take it by popping a tablet in their mouth and following it with a syringe full of water, but they're both furious with me now. Freya still won't come near me. I might have to get some Pill Pockets.

post #11 of 12

When I was giving Krissy the pred, I found that crushing the pill and using the small syringe to add water to it then draw it up and give as far back in her throat as possible, it seemed to be the lesser of the 2 evils, pilling with a wash of water vs both at the same time.


Are they able to go outside snow and all if they wanted to or are they kept inside only during the snowy/winter months?

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks, I'll try crushing the pill.


Yes, they can go out if they want to. They all go out for about ten minutes at a time, but it's below freezing here and the snow's really deep. They don't stay out there long. When it's warmer they spend most of the day out there, but they don't want to be out there in this.


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