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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Overview of Mange

By Mason V. Reichard, PhD, Associate Professor, Oklahoma State University ; Jennifer E. Thomas, DVM, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University

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Mange is a contagious disease characterized by crusty or scaly skin, pruritus, and alopecia. Mange is a general term for cutaneous acariasis and is the result of infestation with one of several genera of parasitic mites, including Chorioptes, Demodex, Psorobia (formerly Psorergates), Psoroptes, Sarcoptes, and others. The term "scabies" most appropriately refers to infestation with Sarcoptes sp mites (ie, sarcoptic mange); however, this term is commonly misused to refer to any type of mange.

Historically, mange in large animals was a reportable disease because of the severity of clinical signs and contagiousness. However, widespread use of macrocyclic lactones beginning in the 1990s has provided effective treatment and decreased the prevalence. As a result, mange is no longer a federally reportable disease in the USA. However, some types of mange in large animals remain reportable to certain state agencies, although this may change as the lists are revised.

Successful mange treatment is a multifactorial process, including treatment of the affected animal(s), treatment of contact animals, and environmental control. Isolation of affected animals for 2 wk is often recommended to prevent or limit spread of contagious mites. Care should be taken to prevent contact of naive animals with potentially infested fomites (eg, animal bedding, feed and water buckets, tack and other equipment). Specific treatments are discussed for each species below.