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Chorioptes bovis


Sophie Mahendran

Mike Taylor

Synonym(s): Chorioptic mange mite, Barn itch mite, Chorioptes equi, Chorioptes ovis, Chorioptes caprae, Chorioptes cuniculi




  • Class: arachnida.
  • Sub-class: acari.
  • Order: astigmata (Sarcoptiformes).
  • Family: psoroptidae.

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Clinical Effects



  • Surface mite.
  • Live at the base of the hair, and feed on skin debris.
  • Affects cattle, horses, goats, sheep and rabbits.


  • Females mites lay eggs on skin surface:
    • Females can lay 15-20 eggs.
  • Eggs hatch after 5-6 days into hexapod larvae.
  • First nymph turns into second octopod protonymph stage; followed by tritonymph and adult.
  • The whole life cycle takes about 3 weeks.


  • By direct contact with an infected animal.
  • Can also be transmitted in contaminated bedding and housing.

Pathological effects

  • The feeding mites cause irritation and microscopic skin abrasions to the skin, which can become contaminated with mite faeces and secretions. 
    • Most infestations are subclinical, but can result in pruritus in the affected animal, especially if the animal is allergic.
      • Can result in thickening of the skin, scabs, serum exudation and alopecia.
  • Generally seen in adult cattle towards the end of the winter housing period.
  • Location on body is the skin around the neck, tail head, udder, scrotum and limbs.
    • Clinical signs and lesions generally regress and resolve spontaneously during the summer.

Other Host Effects

  • Heavy infestations may result in reduced production such as a drop-in milk yield or growth rates.
  • Occasionally animals may suffer hypersensitivity reactions to the mite, causing severe debilitation: very uncommon.


Control via animal

  • Mild infestations will often spontaneously resolve during the summer period, generally once turned out from contaminated housing.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Topically applied macrocyclic lactones (Ivermectin Ivermectin, doramectin, eprinomectin Eprinomectin and moxidectin Moxidectin) are effective; injectable formulations only aid in control of this mite. 

Control via environment

  • Avoid overstocking of sheds as crowding increases spread of the mite through physical contact, as well as increasing humidity which favours mite development.


  • No vaccines are available.


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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Villarroel, Aurora & Halliburton M K (2013) Control of Extensive Chorioptic Mange Natural Infection in Lactating Dairy Cattle without Milk WithdrawalVet J 197 (2) 233–37 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • NOAH (2017) Data Sheet Compendium [online] Last accessed 21st November 2017. Available at -
  • Taylor M A, Coop R L & Wall R L (2016) Parasites of Cattle. In: Veterinary Parasitology. 4th edn. Ed: John Wiley & Sons. 
  • Wall R & Shearer D (2012) Veterinary Entomology: Arthropod Ectoparasites of Veterinary Importance. Ed: Springer Netherlands. 


  • National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS).
  • National Office of Animal Health (NOAH).

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