Diseases / List of Parasitic Diseases / Disease description:

Audycoptic Mange in Bears 

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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL INFORMATION

CLINICAL CHARACTERISTICS & PATHOLOGY

INVESTIGATION & DIAGNOSIS

TREATMENT & CONTROL

SUSCEPTIBILITY & TRANSMISSION

ENVIRONMENT & GEOGRAPHY

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General and References

Disease Summary

Parasitic mite infection of the skin. 
BEARS Parasitic mite infection causing skin lesions such as alopecia and pruritus.

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Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Ursicoptes infection
  • Ursicoptes americanus infection
  • Ursicoptes mange
  • Ursicoptic mange

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Disease Type

Parasitic Infection

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Infectious/Non-Infectious Agent associated with the Disease

  • Ursicoptes americanus (Acari: Audycoptidae). (J1.16.w13, J345.3.w, P5.22.w1)
  • A follicular mite, in a special family within the sarcoptiform group. (B10.48.w43)

Infective "Taxa"

Non-infective agents

--

Physical agents

-- Indirect / Secondary

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References

Disease Author

Debra Bourne MA Vet MB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
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Major References / Reviews

Code and Title List

B10.48.w43, B407.w18
D270.VII.w7
J1.16.w13, J4.185.w4
P1.1979.w1, P1.1984.w2, P5.22.w1, P9.2004.w8

Other References

Code and Title List

D252.w17

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Clinical Characteristics and Pathology

Detailed Clinical and Pathological Characteristics

General Variable alopecia, dermatitis and pruritus.

Clinical Characteristics

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BEARS
  • Alopecia, particularly during the winter. (B10.48.w43)
  • Pruritus, with rubbing, scratching or chewing at affected areas. (B10.48.w43)
  • Self-mutilation may cause open, ulcerated lesions. (B10.48.w43)
  • Alopecia, mild to severe, skin crusting and pruritus, particularly of the rump; affected bears may scratch and rub until the skin bleeds. (B407.w18)

Case reports:

  • In two Ursus maritimus - Polar bears at Sacramento Zoo, California, recurrent alopecia, particularly during winter, with some pruritus and apparent hyperaemia of the skin. (P1.1979.w1, P5.22.w1)
  • In an orphaned, wild-born Ursus americanus - American black bear cub, mild alopecia around the eyelids only. (P1.1979.w1, P5.22.w1)
  • In a wild Ursus americanus - American black bear from California, severe dermatitis on the muzzle, lips and face. (P1.1979.w1, P5.22.w1)
  • In an Ursus americanus - American black bear at a zoo, severe periorbital alopecia and milder alopecia of the muzzle and forehead, for several years. (J4.185.w4, P1.1984.w2)
  • In a wild Ursus americanus - American black bear in Idaho, when first captured the bear had chronic mange lesions on the head (90% alopecia, lichenification, light epidermal exfoliation, irregular areas of grey-coloured skin), and acute lesions on the neck, thorax and front legs: heavy skin exfoliation, large scales and rubbing marks indicating pruritus, but less severe alopecia, normal skin colour and no lichenification. The junction between affected and normal skin on the forehead was abrupt. Thirteen months later, when recaptured, on the muzzle and forehead hair had regrown and reached 50-70% of normal length and thickness, and while affected skin had become melanotic, there was general improvement of lesions. Ursicoptes mites were still present. (J1.16.w13)
  • In a juvenile female Ursus americanus - American black bear, large bilateral areas of diffuse alopecia (hair thinning) on all four limbs, especially the flanks of the hind legs, also the ventral thorax and abdomen and ventral to the ears. On the face and spine, alopecia was minimal. Additionally, all over the skin were small crust scabs and associated erythema. (P9.2004.w8)
    • The bear also had moderate to heavy gastrointestinal infections with coccidia, strongyloides, pinworms and Baylisascaris transfuga [Baylisascaris Infection in Bears], and a 4 cm long wound in the left axilla. (P9.2004.w8)
    • The bear was emaciated and dehydrated, and had severe anaemia, severe panleukopaenia, and mildly decreased creatinine and calcium when presented for treatment. (P9.2004.w8)
  • Hand-reared wild Ursus americanus - American black bear cubs rub and lose their fur on the rump, stomach and elsewhere. (D252.w17)

Incubation

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BEARS --

Mortality / Morbidity

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BEARS
  • A few cases have been described in the literature. (B10.48.w43, J1.16.w13, J4.185.w4, P1.1979.w1,  P1.1984.w2, P5.22.w1, P9.2004.w8)

Pathology

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BEARS --

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Human Health Considerations

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Susceptibility / Transmission

General information on Susceptibility / Transmission

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BEARS
  • Highly infectious between bears. (B407.w18)
  • Audycoptic mange has been seen in most bear species. (B407.w18)
  • Orphaned cubs in poor condition are more susceptible. (D270.VII.w7)

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Disease has been reported in either the wild or in captivity in:

Further information on Host species has only been incorporated for species groups for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken). Host species with further information available are listed below:

Host Species List

(List does not contain all other species groups affected by this disease)

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Disease has been specifically reported in Free-ranging populations of:

Further information on Host species has only been incorporated for species groups for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken). Host species with further information available are listed below:

Host Species List

(List does not contain all other species groups affected by this disease)

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Environment/Geography

General Information on Environmental Factors/Events and Seasonality

  • Clinical signs may be more severe in winter. (B10.48.w43)

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Regions / Countries where the Infectious Agent or Disease has been recorded

  • North America (J1.16.w13, P1.1979.w1)

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Regions / Countries where the Infectious Agent or Disease has been recorded in Free-ranging populations

  • North America (J1.16.w13, P1.1979.w1)

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General Investigation / Diagnosis

General Information on Investigation / Diagnosis

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BEARS
  • Detection of audycoptic mites in deep skin scrapings from affected areas of skin. (B407.w18, J1.16.w13, P1.1979.w1, P1.1984.w2, P9.2004.w8)
    • Scrapings should be taken from the edges of lesions. (B10.48.w43)
  • Note: detection of mites can be difficult in bears with diffuse pruritus. (B22.32.w15)
    • Pruritus and alopecia may occur at least partially as an allergic response to infection, therefore a generalised response may occur while mites may be present only in a limited area. (B10.48.w43)
  • Detection of Ursicoptis mites in skin biopsy. (J4.185.w4)
    • In a juvenile Ursus americanus - American black bear, on the skin surface and in hair follicles, golden brown pigment, interpreted as mite faeces, was found. Also on the surface and in some hair follicles partial profiles of mites, generally round, with cuticular spines were found. Additionally, large numbers of yeasts and some mixed bacteria were present. (P9.2004.w8)
  • Infection in two Ursus maritimus - Polar bears was detected initially from the presence of mites in faeces. (P1.1979.w1, P5.22.w1)
  • Diagnostic treatment (B10.48.w43) by spraying with amitraz. (B22.32.w15)
Related Techniques
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Similar Diseases (Differential Diagnosis)

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BEARS Other mange mite infections:

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Treatment and Control

Specific Medical Treatment

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BEARS
  • Amitraz. (B336.51.w51)
  • Spraying with amitraz. (B22.32.w15)
    • Spray with amitraz in a 250 ppm solution (one 10.6 ml bottle of Mitaban, Upjohn Co. liquid concentrate) in two gallons of warm water. (B10.48.w43)
  • In an orphaned, wild-born Ursus americanus - American black bear cub, treatment of affected areas of mild alopecia around the eyelids with pyrethrin insecticides was effective. (P1.1979.w1)
  • In an Ursus americanus - American black bear at a zoo, severe periorbital alopecia was treated successfully by thorough scrubbing of the affected areas with amitraz at a standard dilution, repeated at two to three-week intervals for four treatments. Scrapings for mites were negative at the third and fourth treatment. (J4.185.w4, P1.1984.w2)
    • The eyes were protected with ointment prior to treatment. Amitraz was applied vigorously using a cloth towel. (J4.185.w4)
  • Subcutaneous injection of ivermectin at 0.2 mg/kg; the efficacy is debated. (B22.32.w15)
    • Not effective. (B10.48.w43)
  • Repeated injections of ivermectin can be effective. (B407.w18)
    • Note: reinfection may occur from other bears or from the enclosure. (B407.w18)
    • Removal of the skin debris is important to prevent apparent failure of treatment due to the high residual load of allergens. (B407.w18)
  • In a juvenile female Ursus americanus - American black bear, treatment included ivermectin, 0.3 mg/kg subcutaneously, repeated at two weeks (orally), three weeks (subcutaneous injection) and six weeks (subcutaneous injection), with additional trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazol treatment 32 mg/kg orally twice daily to treat a secondary pyoderma. (P9.2004.w8)
    • At three weeks, there was no clinical improvement; treatment of the secondary pyoderma was initiated at this time. At six weeks, fur growth was evident and there were only occasional crusted areas on the skin; the bear's skin and pelage continued to improve over the following four months, and there were no signs of pruritus. (P9.2004.w8)
  • In hand-reared Ursus americanus - American black bear wild cubs, ivermectin by injection of orally, every 3-4 weeks from four months old to hibernation. (D252.w17)
Related Techniques
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General Nursing and Surgical Techniques

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BEARS
  • In Ursus maritimus - Polar bear, supplementation with retinol at 1.0 - 1.5 g/day (vitamin A, 3 - 5 million IU/day) is recommended, since polar bears with skin disease commonly have an underlying vitamin A deficiency. (B22.32.w15)
  • In association with miticidal treatment (ivermectin), the skin debris should be removed by scrubbing with a sebolytic shampoo; failure to do this may lead to apparent failure of treatment since there may be a high residual load of allergens leading to continued clinical signs. (B407.w18)
Related Techniques
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Preventative Measures

Vaccination --
BEARS --
Prophylactic Treatment

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BEARS
Related Techniques
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Environmental and Population Control Measures

General Environment Changes, Cleaning and Disinfection --

BEARS

  • Maintain clean, dry conditions, particularly for orphaned cubs. (D270.VII.w7)
Population Control Measures --
BEARS --
Isolation, Quarantine and Screening --
BEARS
  • Quarantine newly-arrived bears. (D270.VII.w7)
  • Bears should be checked for mite infections while in quarantine and any infection eliminated before they are translocated, reintroduced or introduced to a new enclosure or collection. (B407.w18, B433)
Related Techniques
WaterfowlINDEXDisInvTrCntr.gif (2325 bytes)

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