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Look Out for Psoroptic Mange

13 February 2018

Image from Nadis

In November we diagnosed severe Psoroptic mange in a bull.  This is a very unusual diagnosis in Scotland with previous cases, reported from the Borders in 2014 and 1984, linked to cattle imports from Ireland and France.

The situation changed recently with 25 outbreaks of Psoroptic mange confirmed between 2007 and 2012.  Cases were mainly confined to Wales with purchased cattle the likely source of infection.  Concern remains that there may be ongoing spread of disease from this Welsh cluster of cases through animal movements.

Psoroptes sp. mites cause a severe allergic dermatitis with disease more likely to occur during winter.  Resolution of clinical signs in summer, and subclinical infection at all times of the year, mean that farm to farm spread can occur via the movement of clinically normal animals.

When clinical signs develop scab formation, crusting, bleeding, and secondary infection can occur over the back, shoulders, ventrum, hindlegs, and tail.  Symptoms may be more severe if nutrition is poor and animals have concurrent disease such as liver fluke.  Deaths have been recorded in animals with extensive skin lesions.  Most outbreaks have been reported in suckler herds.  Diagnosis is by examination of skin scrapes which we can carry out free of charge for Scottish herds.  A prompt, accurate diagnosis is important due to the difficulties in successfully treating this condition in cattle.

Psoroptic mange in cattle is not currently notifiable in Scotland.

Heather Stevenson,


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