Covid-19 Coronavirus

Sheep Scab

February 2024 - Sheep Scab (Psoroptic scab)

Sheep scab is a condition seen in sheep within Great Britain and also on the Isle of Man. It is caused by the scab mite Psoroptes ovis.  Symptoms include rubbing and itching on fences and walls, head turning, pulling on their wool, chewing affected limbs, and wool loss.  If left untreated, it can eventually lead to welfare issues and death in some severely affected animals. It does not pose any threat to public health.

Sheep scab used to be thought of as a disease of autumn and winter, but it is now seen throughout the year. However, the majority of outbreaks still occur between September and March.

Psoroptes mites can survive off-host for 16-19 days and sources of infestation include anything the infested sheep has contacted, e.g. fence posts, trees, equipment, trailers and anyone handling the sheep.

Good biosecurity, such as well-maintained double fencing, can prevent the introduction of sheep scab into a flock by preventing direct contact with neighbouring flocks.

Imported sheep must be isolated and treated for sheep scab within 10 days of arrival with an approved method, either dipping or injection. Dips must be used at the recommended concentration for clinical sheep scab and only purchased by a licensed person. Injection requires accurate dosing to ensure correct administration. See the Importing Sheep & Goats into the Isle of Man webpage for further information on importing sheep.

The disease is notifiable in the Isle of Man and all suspect or confirmed cases must be reported immediately to the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture. Telephone +44 1624 685844 or email

Further information is available on the Moredun Sheep Scab webpage

Back to top