Sheep scab is an infection caused by the mite Psoroptes ovis, which spends its entire lifecycle on the sheep. Unfortunately, it can cause significant health and welfare issues within flocks as it is highly contagious. Each year, the Welsh sheep industry loses £5.86m between treatments and loss of production. It also implies serious economic and welfare losses at farm level from reduced stock growth, lower reproductive rate, wool loss and skin damage.
Tackling scab is a challenge as sources of infections are not limited to one farm. Risks of infection are either increased by the presence of scabs within neighbouring flocks or reduced if those flocks are prophylactically treated.