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Professional Version

Overview of Mange in Animals


Jennifer K. Ketzis

, PhD, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine

Reviewed/Revised Mar 2023 | Modified Jun 2023
Topic Resources

Mange, a general term for cutaneous acariasis, is an infectious disease characterized by crusty or scaly skin, pruritus, and alopecia.

Infestation with one of several genera of parasitic mites causes mange. These genera include 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 infectiousness. However, widespread use of macrocyclic lactones beginning in the 1990s has provided effective treatment and decreased the prevalence. By 2022, only mange in sheep and goats was listed as a federally reportable disease in the US. 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 weeks is often recommended to prevent or limit transmission of infectious 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). In the following topics, clinical signs and specific treatments are discussed for each animal host and mite genus.

Key Points

  • Mange mite life cycles are completed on the host.

  • Transmission is via direct contact and fomites.

  • Clinical signs and treatment are dependent on the animal host and type of mite.

  • Successful treatment is a multifactorial process and includes animal and environmental treatment.

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