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Notoedric Mange in Western Gray Squirrels from Washington

Category: Wildlife Research and Management - Wildlife Research

Date Published:  2001

Number of Pages: 4

Author(s): Todd E. Cornish, Mary J. Linders, Susan E. Little, and W. Matthew Vander Haegen

From February 1998 to July 1999, 65 western gray squirrels (Sciurus griseus griseus) were trapped at three sites in Klickitat County, Washington (USA) as part of a home range and habitat use study. No squirrels (0/9) with mange lesions were identified in the initial trapping session (February and March 1998). During all subsequent trapping sessions (August 1998 through July 1999), squirrels with lesions consistent with notoedric mange, caused by the mite Notoedres centrifera (douglasi), were captured or recaptured at all three study sites. The diagnosis was confirmed by histopathology and examination of mites obtained from skin scrapings from two affected squirrels. Of the 56 squirrels captured from August 1998 to July 1999, 33 (59%) had characteristic mange lesions, and 14 (42%) affected squirrels died directly of mange or of secondary complications of mange. Only four breeding females of 22 radio-collared animals (males and females) in the study population were known to have survived the mange outbreak (12 died, 6 missing). Factors potentially contributing to this mange outbreak include a mast crop failure in the fall of 1998 and transmission of mites from animal to animal during trapping and processing sessions.

Suggested Citation:
Cornish, T. E., M. J. Linders, S. E. Little, and W. M. Vander Haegen. 2001. Notoedric mange in western gray squirrels from Washington. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 37: 630-633.