With cold weather just around the corner it’s time to gear up for mange control. Failure to do so can result in decreased cow comfort and milk production.

Two types of mange — Chorioptes bovis (tailhead and udder mange) and Sarcoptes scabie (head and neck mange) — are the two largest nuisances to dairy cattle.

When left untreated, mange infestations can lead to reduced feed intake, reduced milk production, reduced heat detection within a herd, increased stress, and a higher incidence of traumatic lesions, says Joe Dedrickson, director, Merial Veterinary Professional Services.

Mange is contagious and tends to occur in dairy cattle housed in close proximity, especially during the fall and winter. It can spread from animal to animal, or by a cow rubbing against the same post that a mange-infested cow just rubbed against. Chorioptes mange is characterized by dry, itchy skin patches, while sarcoptic mange is characterized by skin lesions.

Although contagious, mange can be controlled with the use of a broad-spectrum endectocide.

Talk to your veterinarian. He can help you determine if your cattle have mange and how to treat.