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First cattle scab case in 30 years confirmed

THE first case of cattle scab for 30 years has been confirmed in Scotland following test by vets.

The disease, which can cause death in extreme cases, was found on a Borders farm in a calf recently imported from outwith the UK with its suckler cow mother.

Otherwise known as psoroptic mange, cattle scab is caused by mites that pierce the skin to feed and cause the cattle immense irritation.

The signs are similar to those of sheep scab, which is also caused by a mite.

Scotland's Rural College said the disease could have serious welfare implications if not treated quickly.

Clusters of cattle scab cases have been found in Wales, South West England, Yorkshire and is also present in mainland Europe and Ireland.

It is more common in beef cattle in Europe, but dairy herds have also been infected.

It is said to have severe welfare and economic consequences as it causes severe dermatitis and intense itching.

Affected animals inevitably lose weight and, in "extreme cases", death can occur.

Helen Carty, of SAC Consulting, veterinary services, said: "Cattle scab is a severe skin disease, with serious welfare implications for cattle if not quickly identified and treated correctly."

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