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Ectoparasites - Psoroptes

Psoroptes communis ovis, var. bovis: Psoroptic mite or common scab mite. Eradicated from New Zealand before 1900

General Description: All legs project beyond the margin of the oval body. The first two pairs of legs are stout while the last two pairs are thin. The surface of the mite´s body is crossed by wavy lines. Pretarsi are present with long jointed pedicules.

Life Cycle: Life cycle takes 9 days.

Location: Any part of animal´s body, especially areas of dense hair; ie. Withers, back and root of tail.

Geographical Distribution: Most areas of the world.

Significance: Psoroptic mange is a widespread, serious disease in cattle. Animals in poor condition die more readily from other causes. Skins of infested animals, if useable, are of a lower quality. Cattle may transmit Psoroptes communis bovis to sheep and vice versa. Wool loss is significant in sheep.

Effect on Host: Mange mites puncture skin, causing an exudate, or fluid, to ooze. This dries to form a scab and the mites move outward to fresh skin, expanding the lesion. These lesions cause the loss of hair referred to as mange. The condition leads to serious loss of weight. Mites may be seen microscopically in scrapings taken from skin at the edge of lesions.

Control: Repeated treatment with miticide solutions may be effective. Ivermectin has been found to be effective against this parasite.

Psoroptes – female, nymph and larvae   Psoroptes – pretarsus with long jointed pedicule
Typical skin lesions – psoroptic mange   Scanning electron microscope photo – Psoroptes

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