We hope your flock aren't feeling itchy...
Sheep scab, caused by a skin mite, is an endemic, notifiable, disease that can cause great distress, and death, and although has obvious mature symptoms in the early stages, scab infections are not obvious and animals can spread the disease undetected, jeopardising control and possible eradication.
The SAC are now developing a blood test to test for (sheep) scab, as the standard skin scrape test is not always conclusive. It takes only a few moving scab mites to make a whole sheep itchy and those few mites may not be found before they lay eggs...
Checking for scab and lice currently costs £15 for each scrape. When investigating possible scab infestation 4 – 8 scrapes are normally taken. However, these laboratory fees will be waived if we're allowed to take a blood sample of all scrape tested animals and a few of non-affected animals. This offer from SAC stands until the end of June, so if you have a suspicious itching check it out!
Click here to go to the SAC website where you can view the updated technical notes: TN636 Control of Sheep Scab and other Ectoparasites of Sheep.