A client who is the owner of a small Clydesdale breeding operation calls for an on site consultation after a several week cold spell. Recently, she has noticed that the horses seem agitated because they are stomping their feet and biting at the pastern area. Upon closer examination of the distal limbs you notice matted hair, thickened skin, and dried scabs. The parasite pictured below was recovered from coat brushings of the distal limbs of several of the horses.
Many thanks to Katie Huffman, 4th year veterinary student at Virginia Tech for providing case content.
This is a Chorioptes sp mite, and the horses have the condition known as chorioptic mange. Chorioptes equi is transmitted through direct contact with other carrier horses and fomites. Carriers of the mite may be asymptomatic, and can be responsible for recurrent infestations. Adult mites can survive off the host for up to 2 months depending on environmental conditions. Close living quarters, poor environmental conditions, and/or inadequate nutrition can also increase the likelihood of an infestation.
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