What to look for

  •  Rubbing and skin damage around base of tail and along the back
  • Nodules under the skin

Cause - mite infestations

Chorioptic mange mite (Chorioptes bovis) and Demodectic mange mite (Demodex bovis) are the most common types. The mites that cause mange live their entire lives in or on the skin. Chorioptic mange mites live on the skin around the base of the tail and along the back or down the backside of the cow. Demodectic mange mites live in the hair follicles but rarely cause clinical disease. In severe cases, the hides of slaughtered cattle may be downgraded due to nodules under the skin.

Animals likely to be affected

In Australia mange in cattle is usually a very mild disease. Any class of animals can be infested with manage mites but, generally, the signs of skin irritation and damage are mild and confined to a small number of animals.

Other diseases with similar signs

Skin disease such as lice or photosensitisation.

Confirming the diagnosis

Microscopic examination of skin scrapings can be used to identify mange mites.

Spread of the disease

Close animal-animal contact. Demodectic mites are thought to be transmitted from cows to their calves in the first few days of life. Mites may be transferred between animals on grooming tools.

Risks to people

Mange mites that occur on cattle in Australia do not pose any risks to people.


Treatment with insecticides is possible but rarely necessary.


Ensure that grooming tools are thoroughly cleaned between animals. Check purchased animals for skin damage to ensure they are free of disease.