An-Najah National University

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  • Saturday, January 31, 2009
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    Clinical Studies – Faculty of  Veterinary Medicine, An-Najah National University, P.O. Box 7, NablusPalestine.

    e-mail: (1) [email protected] ,  (2) [email protected]




    This study was conducted on total 235 sheep of 1-3 years-old (East-Friesian and Awassi breeds) and 35 goats of 6 months – 3 years old (Anglo-Nubi and Cross Breeds)

    housed in separated pens in Tulkarem Governorate, The rates of naturally infected sheep and goats with sarcoptes scabie were 93.62 and14.92 respectively . The clinical findings of the disease were confined to the head region and were characterized by pruritis of skin, erythema, papules formation, alopecia and scabs formation. Animals were emaciated, weakened and had reduced milk production.  The skin was also thichened and wrinkled . The morbidity rate was 100%. Histolopathologically , there were hyperkeratosis, parakeratosis, Acanthuses  of the epidermis with the presence of mite. The diagnosis of the disease was based on clinical manifestation and identification of  Sarcoptes Scabiei and their developmental stages in skin scrapings.  Infected animals were treated with Ivermectin subcutaneously at a dose of 1ml/50kg body weight .


    KEYWORDS: Sheep , Goats , Sarcoptes Scabiei mite , Tulkarem , Ivermectin .


    دراسات ظاهرية - باثولوجية والسيطرة على جرب Sarcoptes Scabiei  في اغنام وماعز معدية طبيعيا  في محافظة طولكرم

    (1) سلامة برهوم    (2) عبد الحفيظ دلعب

    الدراسات الإكلينيكية – كلية الطب البيطري – جامعة النجاح الوطنية – ص . ب 7 – نابلس - فلسطين

    بريد الكتروني : (1) [email protected] , (2)   [email protected]


    الملخص :

    أجريت هذه الدراسة على 235 رأس غنم سلالة (الفريزين الشرقي والعواسي ) عمر 1-3 سنوات و235 رأس ماعز سلالة (أنجلو نوبي) والخليط عمر ستة أشهر إلى ثلاث سنوات محصورة في حظائر منفصلة في محافظة طولكرم . وانحصرت العلامات السريرية في منطقة الرأس، وكانت نسبة الاصابه في الاغنام والماعز المعدية طبيعيا بالساركوبتس سكابياي93.62 و14.92 على التوالي . وتميزت بوجود حكة في الجلد ، احمرار ، تكون حُطاطات ، تساقط الصوف ، وتكون قشور ،و نحول الحيوانات وضعفها ، وانخفاض في إنتاج الحليب . كما ظهر الجلد سميكا ومجعدا. أما نسبة الإصابة فكانت 100% . أما الفحص النسيجي فأظهر زيادة وفرط في التقرن مع Acanthusis ووجود حلم الجرب . لقد تم تشخيص المرض اعتمـاداً على العلامـات السريريـة والتغيرات المرضية وتصنيف  حلم الجرب Sarcoptes Scabiei وأطواره المختلفة الموجوده بالكشطا الجلديه. وتأكيد ذلك بالاستعانة بالمختبرات المتخصصة . تم علاج الحيوانات المصابة بعقار افرمكتين تحت الجلد وبجرعة 1ml/50kg لكل كجم من وزن الحيوان.


    الكلمات الدالة : اغنام ، ماعز ، حلم ساركوبتك سكابي  ، طولكرم ،  افرمكتين .



        Mange is a form of ectoparasaite dermatitis characterized by encrustation, alopecia, and pruritis of the skin, initiated and maintained by a number of mite species. Sarcoptes Scabiei mite causes Sarcoptic mange ( Scabies ) in mammals including human and marsupials. There are several subtypes of this organism including S.scabiei var. hominis , S.scabiei var, canis  , S.scabiei var. suis , S.scabiei var. equ i, S.scabiei var. bovis ,  S.scabiei var. ovis , some of them are specific to their hosts. Human had proved  to be infested by scabies mite of dog, pigs, cattle, sheep, horse, ferrets, water buffalo, Lamas, camels and some wild    or zoo animals (1). Recent investigation is based on molecular analysis of the ITS-2 of the rRNA gene suggest that the genus Sarcoptes is monospecific (2).


    Female Sarcoptic mite  burrows tunnel within the epidermis of the infested host. The entire four – stage life cycle is spent on the host. Over 10-15day period, the female deposits 40-50 eggs within the tunnel. 3-4 weeks after egg deposition , the female dies. Larvae emerge from the egg in 3-5 days and escape from the tunnel and wander on the skin surface , but some remain in the parent tunnel or side pockets of it and continue  there development there as far as  the nymphal stage. Nymph becomes sexually active adults in 12-17 days , the adult female remain in the pockets until it becomes  fertilized by a male  and the life cycle begins again . The disease caused by Sarcoptes sabiei is contagious . The parasites pierce the skin to suck lymph and epidermal cells , thus  causing marked irritation which causes intense itching  and scratching . The resulting inflammation of the skin is accompanied by an exudate which coagulates and forms crusts on the surface , and is further characterized by excessive keratinisation and proliferation  of connective tissue , with  the rustle that  the skin becomes much  thickened and wrinkled . There is a concomitant loss of hair (3 ) .        


    A firm diagnosis of scabie or mange must be based on the recovery and identification of the mite from the affected hosts by taking skin scrapings from the edges of visible lesions (5). The present study tried to diagnose an outbreak of skin lesion infesting   four flocks of sheep and goats in Tulkarem where clinical, pathological and parasitological studies were conducted.


     Materials and Methods


    Flock history: An outbreak of skin lesion  in four flocks of total 235 sheep and goats ( A ,B ,C ,and D ) was  investigated. All animals  were vaccinated annually against the following enzootic infectious diseases : Sheep pox , Pest Des Petit Ruminants, Foot and Mouth Disease This study  was conducted in April 2007 in Tulkarem Governorate, north Palestine.


    Clinical and Parasitological examinations : Complete clinical examination was preformed on the affected  flocks. Specimens from the edge of the lesions from different parts (head, ears, face and lips) were taken by scalpel and collected in Petri dishes containing 70% alcohol. Parts of them were sent to the department of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine JordanUniversity of Science and Technology. Irbid P.O Box 3030.Jordan for mite identification and  classification.


    Histopathological examination : Biopsy  from the lesions were  collected  and fixed in 10 % neutral buffered  formalin for routine  histopathology , Hematoxlin –Eosin stain (7) .


    Control measures : All animals  were injected subcutaneously with  Ivermectin ( A macro-Cyclolactone produced from Sreptomyces avermitilis . Merc sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories, Rahway, N.J.H.SA.)  at a dose rate 0.2 mg/kg .body weight, animals that showed poor clinical recovery received a second dose after 3 weeks from the first one       


    Results  : The present study showed that 220 out of 235 sheep (93.62) and 35 out of 235 of goats (14.92 ) suffered from Sarcoptic mange  ( table 1)    


    Table 1 : Illustrates number of animals ,breeds , species and ages which affected by sarcoptic mange.



    Number of affected  animals


    Age in years



    East-Friesian Sheep




    East-Friesian Sheep





    East-Friesian Sheep



    Awassi sheep





    Cross breed goats



    Anglo-Nubi goats



    Clinical findings :  Animals suffered from intense pruritis , and los of hair , they rubbed the affected area against wall of the pen , the lesions appeared in non-woolly portions of the body mainly confined to the face, emaciation, weakness and reduce milk production were also recorded . Morbidity rate was 100% in both adult animals and their offsprings. The lesions were characterized by the presence of small red papules and general erythema which started near the mouth (lips, nostrils) and spread to other parts of the face and then to the skin of head and ears. Later on the animals showed much scratching and biting of the skin ,  were also seen as well were thick brown scabs formation and thickening accompanied with wrinkling of the surrounding skin. ( Fig. 2.  )



    Parasitological examination: Skin scrapings examination reveals different developmental stages of mites which were diagnosed according to (7) as sarcoptes scabiei  (Fig.1. )










    Fig.1. Adult sarcoptes scabiei mite. Showing globos body , short legs , unregimented  pedicels (stalk), with suckers on the end .











    Fig.2.  Head of sheep  showing thickened and wrinkled lesions covered with crusts due to sarcoptes scabie infestation .


    Histopathological examination: There were hyperkeratosis, parakeratosis and Acanthuses of the epidermis  with presence  of mite . Thick crust as result of large number of dead and viable neutrophils serum and keratin were present adjacent to the












    Fig.3. Hyperkeratosis of the epidermis of skin with the presence of sarcoptes scabiei  mite  .


    Control measures: administration of Ivermectin had proved to improve thegeneral condition of the skin  and disappearance of the crust were noticed.




    Sarcoptic or head mange in sheep, caused by Sarcoptes scabiei var.ovis had been recorded in Europe , Africa, The middle East, The Balkan , India and South and Central America but has never been recorded in UK (8). Poor conditioned animals appeared to be the most susceptible to infection . Overcrowding ,  poor feeding , and general mismanagement appeared to be  the main cause of scabies among sheep and goat in the presents study . In sheep  Sarcoptes scabiei var.ovis was rare and affected only sparsely haired parts of the body such as face and ears (8) . In the  present study , clinical findings in sheep and goat wrer similar in the four  flocks , and were confined to the head region . The lesions were characterized by pruritis , papules formation, scratching of the skin , alopecia , scab formation and thickening, wrinkling of the skin . These findings were in agreement with those reported by  (3 and 9) , The diagnosis of sarcoptic  mange in sheep is based on clinical manifestations and demonstration of Sarcoptic scabiei in skin scrapings (10 and 11 )  . The gross and histopathological findings in this study were agreement with those reported by (12 ) .   the causative  agent was referred to Sarcoptic scabiei mite, The infection rate  in the present study was 93.62% among sheep and 14.9 among goats . this great range between  sheep and goats infection  was referred to  the susceptibility of the species and subtype of the causative agent . Concerning control measures , Ivermectin  had proved to be the drug of choice to eradicate  the infection . It  acts  by inhibiting signal transmission at the neuromuscler junctions , As causing paralysis to mites which then die .   


    References :


    1-     Office International Des Epizooties. 2005. Manual of diagnostic tests and vaccine for terrestrial animal Acariaisis. Last update may 1, 1-9.

    2-     Zahler M.,Essig A., Gothe H&T Rinder H. 1999.Moleculer analysis suggests monopecificity of the genus Sarcoptes ( Acar:Sarcoptidae) . Int.J.Parasitol, 29,759-766.

    3-     Solusby E.j.1982.Helminths, Arthropods and Protozoa of Domesticated animals. Billary Tindell.7th edition, 482-484.

    4-     Barker A.S1999.Mites and Ticks of domestic animals. An identification guide and information source. The Natural History Museum .London. Her Majestys stationary office, UK.

    5-     Andersonn G.Gordon KC 1999. Tissue Processing, Microtomy and paraffin section, In:Bancroft J.D,Sterense A.Theory and practice of histopathological techniques, 4th ed.Edinburgh,Churchill livingstone :47-86.

    6-     Bates P.G.2000 Ectoparasites In: Diseases of sheep, Marten W.B, Aitken I.D. Black well Sciarco.205-296.

    7-     Radostots.O.M , Blood D.C,&Gay C.C.1997 Veterinary Medicine. Atext book of the diseases of cattle , sheep ,pigs , goats and horses .8th edition . WB Sauders company Ltd London, Philadelphia, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, 1305-1307.

    8-     Coles , F.H.,1986.Veterinary clinical pathology W.R, Saunders company Philadelphia , Toronto second edition .P 488

    9-     Kettle D.S.1995. Medical and Veterinary entomology. Second edition. CAB international, Walling ford, Oxan ox 108 DE, UK.

    10- Donald Mc Gavin M. and Zachary J.I. Pathologic basis of veterinary diseases. Fourth edition Elsevir Mosby, 2007: 1300.


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