SURPRISINGLY high levels of mange in otherwise healthy, good quality pigs have been found in a survey of more than 13,000 fatteners for Merial Animal Health.

The survey involved examination of a minimum of 50 pigs/farm, scoring mange skin lesions on a scale of 0-3. A score of 3 indicates a 99% chance mange is the cause.

While 75% scored 0 and 14% scored of 1, 4.6% scored 2 and 730 5.6% were judged 3. So, skin lesions were found in 24.5%. “That’s almost a quarter of pigs sent for slaughter exhibiting clinical signs of mange. At least double our initial estimate,” says Jake Waddilove of Eastgate Vet Group, Suffolk, who carried out the survey.

For each herd an average dermatitis score (ADS) was also calculated. In 24% of herds ADS was between 0.5 and 1, strongly indicating mange is present. In 16% of herds ADS was higher than 1.

Mange reduces growth rates, lowers feed conversion and causes downgrading of carcasses,” he adds.

While controlling mange in breeding pigs helps reduce it in growing pigs, a control programme should be discussed with a vet, using the range of in-feed and injection-based options available, says Mr Waddilove.

Brian Rice, Merial Animal Health’s swine marketing manager, says control can be achieved at relatively low cost, with treatments such as Ivomec Premix in feed or Ivomec Injection for Pigs in breeding herds.