The prevalence of Sarcoptes scabiei in pigs in the Netherlands, and the causal relationship between infestation and dermatitis in fattening pigs were assessed in a survey in 1988. In the first part of the survey 400 fattening pigs from 88 farms and 200 sows were examined. In the second part of the survey 193 fattening pigs with normal skin and 201 with dermatitis were examined; the dermatitis was characterised by small round, slightly thickened skin lesions, mostly on the rump, flanks, abdomen and buttocks. Ear scrapings were collected from all the animals after slaughter and examined for the presence of sarcoptic mites. In the first part of the survey, 33 (8.25 per cent) of the 400 fattening pigs and nine (4.5 per cent) of the 200 sows were positive for S scabiei. Mange was detected in fattening pigs from 21 (23.9 per cent) of the 88 farms. In the second part of the survey, six (3.1 per cent) of the 193 fattening pigs with normal skin and 30 (14.9 per cent) of the 201 pigs with dermatitis were positive for S scabiei. This difference was statistically significant (P less than 0.001). Histological examination of the skin lesions revealed an eosinophilic perivasculitis compatible with an allergic reaction, and consistent with infestation with S scabiei. The results of this survey indicate that mange is common in the Netherlands, and that sarcoptic mite hypersensitivity can be a cause of the skin lesions seen in fattening pigs at slaughter.
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