In this complete guide to mites on goats, we answer the most common questions that farmers ask about this serious condition, including what it is, symptoms, treatments, and more.
What are Mites on Goats?
Formation of the crust on the irritated skin of goats that consist of wrinkles, get thick, having hair loss without a thick hair coat under the legs, udder, scrotum, anus, ears, face or other areas of the body. It may indicate that goat might get attacked by mange mites. It is also known as ‘scabies’. Scabies is a Latin word which means ‘to scratch’.
This external parasite should not be getting confused with the word ‘scrapie’ which is an inoperable disease of the brain. Arachnid is a class where mites belong to, basically to their subclass which is known as acari, so the other name given to mites infection is ‘Acariasis’. This disease is contagious in nature and spread from one goat to others through direct body contact.
What Causes Mites on Goats?
There is various type of mites species and all of these species have different causes. But mostly, mite’s activity is mainly affected by environmental changes. They are more common in winter but can attack during summer as well.
During the period of heat and drought, mite’s infestation penetrates. Also, the areas where the goats live with a small distance and are managed extensively, mite’s attack those places more quickly. So, change in the environment is the leading cause for mites to affect the goats.
Symptoms of Mites on Goats?
Mites usually have two types:
Burrowing mites are those known as scabies, and they mostly attack in those areas which are less hairy or hairless like goat ears or goat’s face. Whereas the non-burrowing mites usually start in the parts of the goat that has more hair such as the tail. They get attached to the skin so hard that skin gets punctured and start releasing fluid from it.
The main symptoms found in burrowing mites and non -burrowing mites are:
Itching, thickened the skin, hair loss, cause abrasions during rubbing, reduced growth rate and also encrusted lesions.
Non- burrowing mites
Skin damage causes crusty patches and hair loss.
Mites on Goats Treatments
For killing mites from their roots, a complete aggressive treatment is necessary. No temporary or one-time-use treatment will give any productive output. Several things are required to be regained to make the treatment effective. The hair should be grown again on the body parts before treatment.
The goats with long hair must be shaved for complete mite destruction to be successful. Bedding and shed areas must be frequently get cleaned as mites can live for days off the goat before they die.
After taking these measurements, the next step is to give the proper treatment of mites to goats. Different products are used to kill mites on the goats. A product knows as Ivermectin can be given in subcutaneous way (SQ), i.e. under the skin at the dose rate one to two cc for 50 pounds of body weight, for consecutive three weeks.
Take an 18 gauge needle to reduce discomfort because this product stings with the skin and inject under the skin with 1% strength of ivermectin.
Another effective treatment for the mites is to give goats a dip in the Lime Sulphur. For this, the lime sulphur dip is required with the strength percentage of 97.8% in concentrated form and follow the label directions.
A spray is required to apply this lime sulphur, and it should continue for at least three weeks and even for six weeks if the skin is not clearing up.
The best product which is preferably suitable for killing mites is ‘Pierce’s All-purpose Nu-stock’. It’s a tube with a mixture of mineral oil, sulphur and pine-oil-based cream in a tube and it should be applied using gloves because it does not have a pleasant smell. The reason behind recommending this is that it ‘suffocates’ the mites and stays longer. For best results, apply at least three weeks continuously.
Can Humans Get Goat Mites?
Goat mites are known as ‘scabies’ which means ‘to scratch’, infest the mammals which also include man or human beings. In both cases, goats and human beings, it always spread by body-to-body contact with each other and also can transfer from animals to humans and humans to goats. Thus mites are contagious to humans.
Mites have a lot of types and scabies is one of those, and scabies further does have subtypes and each type have host specie which reproduces mites. In human, scabies is the most essential and common mite infestation.
Scabies usually makes long tunnels of one centimetre in length below the surface of the skin and then lay eggs. Moreover, this cycle goes when they have a host specie; without the host, they can only survive a few days. The signs are mostly itching and irritation on the skin specially at night.
Goat Mites Pictures
Preventing Mites in Goats
Specific precautionary measures are required to prevent the occurrence of mites in the flock of the goats. First of all, when buying and purchasing the goats, it is mandatory to have a complete look that they should not have those symptoms on their body like skin lesions or any itching issues or some hair loss problem.
After purchasing the animal, the second thing to do is to isolate or quarantined the animal for several weeks to examine it thoroughly. As, a precautionary measure, it is required to avoid the neighbouring stock communal grazing, which will create fewer chances to spread mites in one’s own herd.
Several chemicals are available to prevent mites, so those chemicals should be given to all the animals before introducing the new goats to the herd. Cleanliness plays an essential role in preventing disease, so the stalls and tools should be cleaned and well monitored. Most importantly, if any signs show itchiness or irritation on the skin or hair loss, immediately contact the veterinarian to check the animals in the herd.