Caused by microscopic parasites in your goat’s skin, mange can develop into serious skin problems if you leave it untreated in your goat herd. According to Dr. Justin Talley, an assistant professor in Oklahoma State University’s Entomology Department, goats suffer from four main types of mange, namely demodectic mange (caused by the Demodex caprae mite), sarcoptic mange (caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite), psoroptic mange (caused by the Psoroptes cuniculi mite) and chorioptic mange (caused by the Chorioptis bovis mite). A highly infectious condition, mange spreads quickly to other goats in your herd if you fail to identify and treat it promptly.
Identify the type of mange affecting your goat. Look for the bumps or papules sprinkled around the skin on the neck and udder area that accompany demodectic mange. Check for distinctive dry, scaly skin across the body, as well as facial hair loss on a goat that you suspect has sarcoptic mange. Use a flashlight to check your goats’ ears for the crusty discharge caused by the mite responsible for psoroptic mange. Examine your goats’ legs for the small, less noticeable bumps and lesions that accompany chorioptic mange.
Isolate mange-infected goats from the rest of your goat herd to minimise the spread of this highly contagious infection. Check the rest of your herd daily, watching closely for signs of mange, especially in thin animals or those with weakened immune systems, such as pregnant does, which are more susceptible to mite infections.
Discuss with your veterinarian possible treatment options, including acaricides in the form of topical sprays and injections; he’ll make suggestions regarding the most appropriate medication, based upon the type of mange infecting your goats, the severity of the infection and your goat’s overall health.
Open demodectic mange lesions with a sterile scalpel, cleaning the drainage from the opened papules before infusing them with Lugel’s iodine, an antiseptic solution typically available from your veterinarian. Generally, you can treat mange-infected goats with injectable ivermectin or a topical spray containing pyrethroids, but be sure to talk to your veterinarian to make sure the medication is approved for use in goats.
Wear rubber gloves when applying topical sprays on your mange-infected goats to keep your body from coming in physical contact with the strong chemicals in the spray. Wash your goat with soap and hot water during warm seasons, which helps soften the skin and increase the penetration of the medication into your goat’s skin, according to C.P. Peacock, author of “Improving Goat Production in the Tropics.” Spray your goat in a well-ventilated area.
Re-treat your infected goats 10 to 12 days following the first treatment to prevent reinfection from newly hatching mite eggs. Keep your infected goats in isolation until signs of the mite infestation disappear completely.
Let your veterinarian know if you’re milking your goat or your goat is pregnant, since certain mange medications should not be used in lactating or pregnant goats.
Mange can infect humans; exercise caution when working around infected goats. Wear gloves and avoid skin-to-skin contact.