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Managing Scab in UK Sheep Flocks: There May Be Trouble Ahead

Colleagues from the Moredun Instiutte receive 2018 Vet Record Award for paper higlighting emerging resistance of sheep scab mites to standard drug treatment.

Sheep flock
New paper highlights the risk to UK sheep flocks from the sheep scab mite.

Each year the Veterinary Record gives the “Vet Record Impact Award” to the paper published in the journal that is considered to make the most useful potential contribution to changing veterinary practice. The Vet Record is the official journal of the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

This year the 2018 prize has been awarded to the paper 'First evidence of resistance to macrocyclic lactones in Psoroptes ovis sheep scab mites in the UK'. 

The research was undertaken by Emma Doherty while an MSc student working with Professor Richard Wall in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol and represents a collaboration with co-authors Dr Stewart Burgess at the Moredun Research Institute and Dr Sian Michell at the Animal and Plant Health Protection Agency. The work was supported by Zoetis Animal Health.

Sheep scab is a clinical condition caused by the infestation of sheep by parasitic Psoroptes mites. It is a growing problem of substantial economic and animal welfare concern in the UK. This paper presents the first quantitative evidence showing that scab mites have now developed resistance to one of the macrocyclic lactones – one of the main classes of compound widely used to treat and prevent scab.

The paper highlights the major difficulties that will be encountered by farmers and vets in managing scab as macrocyclic lactone resistance becomes more widely established in the UK.

The prize was awarded at the BVA Member’s Day held on Thursday 20 September at the National STEM Centre, University of York.

Related links

Moredun Research Institute

Sheep Scab