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Ask the Vet: Pets Can Develop Compulsive Disorders

Dr. Lee Pickett on

Yet another treatment option is a permethrin-containing dog insecticide applied to the skin, such as Vectra 3D.

Finally, your veterinarian can prescribe an oral or topical medication that kills Cheyletiella and other parasites.

Cheyletiella mites easily infect dogs, cats and rabbits. If Tara is infected, she probably has flakiness along her back and rump, and perhaps also itchiness, reddened skin and hair loss. The flakes of skin sometimes move slightly as the mites tunnel beneath them, so the disease is called "walking dandruff." A magnifying glass will help you find the mites.

These mites are extremely contagious, even to people, where they cause an itchy rash. Transmission is through exposure to an infected animal or bedding, upholstery or carpeting that holds the mites or their eggs.

To get rid of them, all pets in your home should be treated, and pet bedding needs to be washed. Fortunately, treatment is very effective.


If Tara's flaky skin persists, have her examined by her veterinarian, because excessive skin flakiness can result from conditions other than walking dandruff.


Lee Pickett, VMD, practices companion animal medicine in North Carolina. Contact her at

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