How to Treat Mange on Goats

By Jane Meggitt

Several types of mange mites affect goats. Signs of mange depend on the type of mite causing the infestation, with differences in the location and appearance of skin inflammation. Since all types of mange are contagious, quarantine any new goats for at least three weeks before adding them to your existing herd.

Sarcoptic Mange

The mite causing sarcoptic mange in goats is formally known as Sarcoptes scabiei var. caprae. Sarcoptic mange usually appears on the neck and head, although it can spread all over the body. Symptoms include hair loss, skin thickening and scaly lesions.

If your goats contract sarcoptic mange, an injection of common dewormers -- ivermectin or moxidectin -- will likely kill off the mites responsible for the skin condition. Even though you can purchase these dewormers over the counter in paste form, your veterinarian must make a definite diagnosis and use the injectable version of the dewormers to eradicate mites.

Demodectic Mange

Demodex caprae is the mite behind demodectic mange in goats. Signs of this mange type include non-itching nodules developing on the neck, face, sides and shoulder area. These lumps contain thick, gray exudate. You can actually see the mites in this discharge. Each lump might contain thousands of them, and when they break open, the mites can find new caprine hosts. Your vet must open the nodules, express the contents and treat the affected area with Lugol's iodine or the pesticide rotenone, mixed with alcohol, the Merck Veterinary Manual notes.

Chorioptic Mange

Chorioptic mange mites often live on caprine skin, and many goats carry these mites without becoming infested. They can, however, spread Chorioptes caprae mites and mange to other goats. Chorioptic mange infestations most often appear in winter, with symptoms including hair loss, crusty scabs and pustules that eventually ulcerate. Affected goats will fiercely scratch the infested areas, which usually consists of the lower legs, genitals and udder. Treat all goats sharing the same pen or housing, even those who remain asymptomatic. Your vet might recommend lime sulfur dips or various miticide sprays, with the dipping or spraying conducted over specific intervals. You must also remove all bedding from goat housing and disinfect the area before returning the treated goats.

Ear Mange

Psoroptes cuniculi, the culprit behind caprine ear mange, causes sores to appear on the goat's ears. The ears may smell bad, and you may notice the goat scratching his ears, tossing his head and otherwise indicating irritated ears. Without treatment, ear mange can spread all over the body. Injectable ivermectin or moxidectin should eliminate the parasite.