What is Chorioptic Mange?
The most telling side effects of leg mange are foot stomping, crusty rash, and inflammation of the affected leg. Horses with feathered legs such as Clydesdales, Shires, and other draft horses are more susceptible because these mites like long hair.
An adult chorioptes bovis mite is less than one millimeter long so you cannot see them with the naked eye. However, your veterinarian can find them by testing tissue samples taken by scraping around the lesions in the affected areas. The female can lay about 50 eggs over a period of two weeks; therefore, within a short time, your horse may be severely infested with the little bugs. Although they do not cause any serious damage, they can be incredibly annoying and tough to get rid of. In many cases it can take up to five treatments to get rid of them all and you have to clean and sanitize the areas where your horse has been and the items used such as saddles, brushes, and tack.
Leg (chorioptic) mange is the most common type of mange and is caused by the chorioptes bovis (formerly Chorioptes equi) mite. This kind of mange usually only affects your horse’s legs below the knee, but can also affect other parts of the body such as the tail and anal area.
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Symptoms of Chorioptic Mange in Horses
The symptoms of leg mange depend on the severity of the infestation and how long the mites have been there. The sooner you get treatment, the easier it is to successfully get rid of the chorioptes bovis mites. Signs of leg mange that are reported most often include:
- Extreme itchiness
- Foot stomping
- Rubbing legs on objects
- Crusted and scabby lesions
- Flexing legs
- Thickening skin
- Hair loss
- Swollen legs
Causes of Chorioptic Mange in Horses
The chorioptes bovis (formerly Chorioptes equi) mite is what causes leg mange, but there are some risk factors that you can avoid to prevent it from happening again such as:
- Compromised immune system (from chronic illness or other issues)
- Crowded living conditions
- Inadequate grooming
Diagnosis of Chorioptic Mange in Horses
An equine veterinarian is the best choice for getting the best care for your horse because they are more familiar with horse illnesses and disease. However, any veterinary professional can give you a definitive diagnosis of leg mange by giving your horse a detailed inspection and performing several diagnostic tests. The veterinarian will first ask you about your horse’s medical history, which includes immunization records, type of work your horse does, symptoms, recent illnesses or injuries, and any medication you have given your horse in the past 24 hours. Then, the veterinarian will perform a comprehensive physical examination including reflexes, weight, height, respiration and heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Also, the veterinarian will need you to walk your horse around to watch the way the joints and muscles work while in motion.
In addition, a standing examination is done in which the veterinarian will check your horse’s body from head to tail, checking breath sounds and palpating the abdomen and chest. Some tissue samples are needed for microscopic examination. The veterinarian will use a scalpel to carefully scrape some skin tissue in the affected areas. Next, the veterinarian will do a complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry analysis, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), packed cell volume (PCV), urinalysis, and blood glucose. Lastly, radiographs (x-rays) will be done to be sure there are no underlying illnesses.
Treatment of Chorioptic Mange in Horses
The veterinarian will clip the hair and feathers in the areas that are infested, clean and disinfect, apply medicated shampoo, and prescribe medication.
Clipping and Cleansing
Clipping the area is the first step to remove as much hair as possible in the affected areas. Also, the veterinarian will disinfect and clean the area with warm water.
Your dog may be given an injection of corticosteroids to relieve the swelling and itch, antibiotics for infection and one of several topical drugs such as diazinon, fipronil, sulfiram, benzyl benzoate lotion, and ivermectin cream.
Some of the oral medications include moxidectin, bromocyclen, milbemycin oxime, amitraz, and ivermectin.
There are several medicated shampoos that kill chorioptes bovis mites like lime sulphur shampoo, keratolytic shampoo, and selenium sulphide.
Recovery of Chorioptic Mange in Horses
Because chorioptes bovis mites are so hard to get rid of, you will probably have to treat your horse several times. You also have to treat the other horses and pets that have been around your horse. If your horse shows signs of skin irritation with the repeat treatments, consult the veterinarian before applying any more products.