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Navajo vets report mange outbreak in cattle 4-12-07

TWIN LAKES, N.M. (AP) - More than two dozen head of cattle from an area near here on the Navajo Nation have been infected with a mite that causes severe itching and can spread to other livestock, the tribal veterinary program announced Thursday.

Glenda Davis, director of the program, said a total of 28 cattle were impounded over the past week after it was determined that the animals had sarcoptic mange. The cattle will require treatment to get rid of the mites that cause the skin disease.

``The problem is it's open range and the condition of these cattle is very, very poor,'' she said. ``These animals actually have no hair. They're miserable.''

She said one animal was hairless and its hide was purple from the constant itching.

Since the infected cattle were on open range, Navajo officials are requesting cattle owners to check their animals for hair loss and scratching.

Mange can be prevented through routine deworming and vaccinations, but Davis said the mites can be spread to other livestock and horses through corrals, trailers or by contact.

The mite's life cycle lasts about three weeks, meaning the infected cattle must be treated every two weeks until their hair starts to grow back.

``When these parasites get on a calf, you will see a definite hair loss,'' Davis said. ``They developed cracked, dried skin because they're itching all the time.''

Because of the region's recent drought, Davis said the mites will live through the winter if there's not a long freeze.

 

 

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