Mange outbreak reported among Asiatic wild dogs in Mudumalai

News Excerpt:

The forest department is monitoring an outbreak of mange among a pack of Asiatic wild dogs in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the Nilgiris, which they strongly suspect has spread to the animals through the local feral dog population.

More about News:

  • Three animals from a pack of Asiatic wild dogs (dholes) around Bokkapuram in  Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), a high human-wildlife interface area, are believed to have been affected by mange, a skin disease caused by parasitic mites.
  • The Field Director of MTR, acknowledged the outbreak and stated that field staff have noticed the occurrence of mange among the pack during each summer,
    • From their experience, they say that it clears up as the season progresses.
    • The forest department was monitoring the situation with the help of forest veterinarians.
  • Conservationists from the Nilgiris highlighted the need to remove free-ranging feral dogs from high interface areas shared by humans and wildlife, as well as protected areas like tiger reserves, as 
    • They pose a threat to wildlife and can spread diseases like mange, canine distemper, and rabies.
  • Conservationists called for Animal Birth Control (ABC) programs to be implemented in villages around Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and the removal of feral, free-ranging dogs from the landscape.
    • Conservationists propose capturing and treating affected animals before releasing them to curb disease spread.
  • The Department of Animal Husbandry has vaccinated feral dogs in areas within and surrounding Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and has also treated a few animals for mange recently.
  • The forest department has placed camera traps around Bokkapuram to monitor the pack of wild dogs and has formed teams to keep tabs on the animals.
    • The pack was reported to have made a deer kill, indicating that the animals seem to be doing well.

Mange disease:

  • Mange can be caused by two types of mites: Sarcoptic and demodectic.
  • Demodectic mites naturally inhabit a dog’s skin, but cause infections when the mites overpopulate on a dog with a weakened immune system. 
    • This form of mange is not contagious to other dogs or humans. Most demodectic mange cases happen in puppies under 12 to 18 months of age.
  • Sarcoptic mange, also referred to as scabies, is contagious to both dogs and humans. 
    • It occurs when a dog comes into contact with the sarcoptes scabiei mite, and it mostly affects stray dogs that aren’t on preventative medication.

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