Hog mites burrow through a pig's skin resulting in a condition called sarcoptic mange, which is highly contagious and causes excessive itching. Lesions usually appear on the hog's face and ears and without treatment, spread over his body. Secondary bacterial infections are common.
Demodectic mange, caused by a mite less common in hogs, causes nodules in the hair follicles that eventually burst. These nodules may become infected or develop into an abscess.
Several anti-parasitic sprays and dusts and injection ivermectin are effective to eliminate hog mites. In addition, ranchers must treat any secondary infections.
Separate any new hogs joining the herd until they have been treated with anti-parasitic medications. This prevents mites from infesting the herd. If the herd has severely infected hogs, they should be separated from the herd to prevent the mites from spreading. These hogs can be treated, although if the infection is severe, euthanization may be advised.
To prevent a mite infestation, hogs should be treated before entering the herd. Females should be treated approximately 30 to 45 days before giving birth. Males should be treated before the breeding season.
If multiple hogs are infected, treatment of the entire herd is recommended to get rid of mites.
Ranchers can spray hogs with anti-parasitic chemicals and medications such as amitraz, lindane or permethrin. These medications are also effective at treating lice, another common external parasite in hogs.
Injectible ivermectin can be used in conjunction with or as an alternative to the sprays. Farmers give two doses of ivermectin approximately two weeks apart.
Remove any bedding used by infected hogs and replace it with clean bedding. In addition, the area can be sprayed with pesticides to remove any remaining mites from the environment.