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The Annual Cost of Sheep Scab is around £8.3m in Great Britain 1

The Best Advice

Sheep scab is caused by the mite Psoroptes ovis, and is a major source of economic loss in affected flocks and is a serious threat to sheep welfare.
Scab is highly contagious with mites passing easily between animals. The disease is typically encountered during the autumn/winter months, when gathering is common, with most cases occurring between September and April.
Sheep scab mites can survive off the sheep for up to 17 days, survival being longest when the weather is cold and damp. Therefore, choose a product which will guarantee persistency for longer than 17 days.

Impact of scab:

  • Rapid weight loss, debilitation and death.
  • Low birth weight of lambs born to affected ewes.
  • Cost of prevention and treatment.

It is impossible to be certain if a sheep has sheep scab without a diagnosis.

Action check list:
Test to confirm it is definitely scab, and treat accordingly.
1. Establish where the scab came from. If it was from purchased or incoming sheep, review quarantine protocols.
2. Contact neighbours with sheep in adjacent fields to warm them and/or suggest they treat at the same time as you for maximum effect and protection.
3. Check common fence-lines for gaps/shared rubbing areas. Consider double fencing any in contact with high risk neighbours.

The Correct Product

Treatment options are currently organophosphate (OP) plunge dipping or injection with macrocyclic lactones (MLs).

When deciding between injectables or dipping consider whether you need to target internal parasites or only external. Selection may depend on integration into the flock’s current worming strategy.
Treat all sheep within the affected flock.
ZERMEX® offers 60 day scab treatment and prevention from a single injection.
Only moxidectin offers:

  • Flexibility – no need to treat the whole flock on the same day.
  • Flock Management – treated sheep can be returned to the same pasture.
  • Scab Control Satisfaction Guarantee.2
The Best Value

Treat ewes and lambs (3) as a single injection for long acting scab control or prevention as an alternative to routine dipping.

All treatment options should be discussed with your animal health adviser.

1 Nieuwhof, G.J. and Bishop, S. C. 2005. Animal Science, 81: 23-29
2 All Sheep must be treated with a full dose of Zermex® 20mg/ml LA Solution for Injection for Sheep in strict accordance with label instructions, for further terms and conditions contact Downland Marketing Ltd.
3 Only treat lambs >15kg and those more than 104 days from slaughter.

ZERMEX® 20mg/ml LA Solution for Injection for Sheep contains moxidectin, POM-VPS. May be prescribed by any Registered Qualified Person (RQP – a veterinarian, a pharmacist or an appropriately qualified SQP). For further information see the SPC, farmers should contact their animal medicines supplier SQP, veterinary surgeon or Downland Marketing Ltd, Warwick Mill Business Centre, Warwick Bridge, Carlisle CA4 8RR. Use medicines responsibly: MM-06062


29th September 2020

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