Faster new test for Sheep Scab

The Scottish Farmer

Following infection with scab mites (psoroptes ovis), it can take a number of weeks before affected sheep start to scratch and rub, which allows time for the mites to spread to other sheep.

Scab is not the only cause of itchy sheep, so it is important to get the diagnosis confirmed to allow treatment with the right product. Pour-ons will not kill sheep scab mites and injections of 3ml wormers (eg Ivomec, Dectomax, Cydectin) will not kill lice.

Samples of skin and scab material need to be examined under the microscope in order to detect the mites, so that the appropriate action can be taken. They can be difficult to find so ask your vet to collect skin scrapings from affected sheep. Wool samples are not ideal for the diagnosis of sheep scab.