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Feather mites in horses (heel/chorioptic mange)

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    This article has been edited and approved by Karen Coumbe MRCVS, H&H’s veterinary advisor since 1991.
  • Feather mites are among the most stubborn of equine parasites, causing a condition commonly called heel mange (chorioptic mange). This typically affects heavily feathered breeds such as cobs, Shires, Clydesdales and Friesians, and some native ponies.

    When severely affected, horses with an infestation will typically stamp their hooves, and bite or rub at the backs of the legs. With time, some cases can develop severe crusting and scaling of the skin on the lower limbs, with skin thickening and general swelling, which can become infected and quite debilitating. As a result it is important to treat and control the condition effectively in the early stages.

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