Mange is typically associated with dogs and cats. However, the mischievous squirrels frolicking in the yard contract the itchy illness. When Notoedres Douglasi mites infest a squirrel, it creates a species-specific mange that is not transferable to humans and pets. (See Reference 1) When a Sarcoptes Scabiei tic burrows subdermally in a squirrel, she develops the sarcoptic strain of mange common in household pets and communicable to humans. Contact between species is infrequent. Therefore, cross contamination is rare, but treatment is similar.
Treatment is controversial. Squirrels cannot be isolated during the medication period. Mites hide in squirrel nests and quickly reinfect them, trivialising the efficacy of the treatment. While treating wildlife poses a challenge, most squirrels in a suburban or urban environment are semi-tame. Observe them and feed them with ease. Restore balding, scratching neighbourhood squirrels to health with these simple steps.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Bird seed or corn cobs
- Squirrel feeder or dish
Purchase ivermectin from your veterinarian or feed store. Ivermectin comes in tablets, intended for canines and small mammals, or in paste. The paste form is marketed as horse wormer.
Measure out the correct dosage of ivermectin. Half the size of a grain of rice is an appropriate amount of paste wormer. For tablets, doling out the correct dosage is less exacting, and may require specialised measuring equipment or estimation as the recommended portion is 200 micrograms per kilogram of animal weight. (See Reference 3) A squirrel weighs between 227gr and 6.8 Kilogram, or up to half a kilogram. Therefore, 100 micrograms is the maximum dosage per squirrel. Cut the tablet then pound into powder form.
Mix the ivermectin with enticing food. Corn cobs and bird seed readily attract squirrels.
Serve the mixture in an area accessible to squirrels, but out of reach of canines or small children. A dish placed on a stump or picnic table, or poured into a squirrel feeder, will attract their attention.
Repeat the formula once per week for three weeks if horse paste is used. Repeat in eight to 10 days if ivermectin tablets are used.
Tips and warnings
- Administering a slightly larger dose is acceptable if the exact portion is difficult to determine or if multiple squirrels feed at the location.
- Wear rubber gloves if contact between squirrel and human is necessary. Humans can be infected by Sarcoptes Scabiei mites. Ivermectin is not harmful if ingested by most canines, with the exception of collie breeds. However, the seeds or corn used as a carrier could upset canine stomachs. Keep food and medication away from pets and small children.
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