MANGE IN RABBIT

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Rabbits have been regarded as key livestock, which are increasingly being raised in many countries worldwide. (Meenakshisundaram A. et.al.,). These animals are also a source of meat and fur production (Elshahawy I et al.,). However, Mange is a major challenge facing the sustainability of rabbit farming. Mange in rabbits is an emerging and highly contagious disease and zoonotic. Animals can get mite infestation through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated fomites. This disease causes severe economic losses in the production system of rabbits due to loss of productivity, poor leather quality, decreasing conception rates, loss of weight, and high mortalities. (Shang X et al.,). This disease is of public health importance and is characterized by its zoonotic importance.

All ages and both sexes of rabbits are susceptible to mite infestations (Elshahawy I et al.,). However, severe infestation with high mortalities has been observed in young and debilitated animals (Bornstein S. M. T et al.,). However, there is a higher incidence of mite infestation in young rabbits compared with adult ones. All breeds of rabbits can get mite infestation. However, some breeds are more susceptible than others, which may be explained by the genetic differences among breeds. Rabbits in poor conditions appear to be more susceptible than others (Bornstein S. M. T et al.,).

Causative agent

Aetiology:

·           Sarcoptes scabiei

·           Psoroptes cuniculi

·           Cheyletiella parasitovorax

·           Notoedres cati

It can be caused by:

·       The main route of infection and transmission of mites is the direct contact between infected and healthy rabbits or indirect contact with contaminated fomites or environment (Panigrahi P. N et al.,)

·       Overcrowding and poor hygiene are significant factors for mite infestation (Mc Carthy J. S et al.,).

·       The disease is common in subtropical countries, especially during the rainy and winter seasons due to the low temperature and high humidity (Narang A et al.,), (Borkataki S et al.,) 

·       Notoedres cati is likely to be transmitted from infected cats to rabbits and vice versa (Fain S. et al.,) (Sharma M et al.,).

·       Rabbits reared out of the house were suggested to get mite infestation from domestic cats. Moreover, wild animals may transmit sarcoptic mange, either naturally or experimentally, from dogs to rabbits or rabbits to dogs (Arlian L. G et al.,)

·       Kids could be infested during the suckling from adult-infested rabbits (El-Ashram S et al.,).

Signs/Symptoms

Some of the signs to look out for are:

·       Redness of the skin

·       Swollen skin

·       Pus

·       Presence of crust on the skin

·       Flaky scales on the skin

·       Ulcers on the ear

·       Itching

·       Severe restlessness

·       Irritation

·       Head shaking

·       Foul smelling discharges

·       Loss of appetite

·       Loss of weight

·       Death

Prevention and Control Strategies

Many strategies have been applied to control mange in rabbits including the;

·       application of hygienic measures and the use of acaricides, natural products, and vaccines (George D. R et al.,)

·        Thorough disinfection of rabbit cages and surroundings is very critical for effective control of mite infestation (Darzi M. M et al.,)

What to do when farmers observe signs/symptom

The rabbit farming industry is subject to several challenges that make it difficult to manage. One of the main constraints that still encounters rabbit farming is the mange disease. Many strategies have been applied to control mange in rabbits. The application of restricted hygienic measures surrounding the animals is crucial to prevent such infestation. Farmers also must take all precautions during handling rabbits to avoid zoonotic transmission. It is always advisable to call your veterinarian.

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