Sheep Scab

What is Sheep Scab?

Sheep Scab is a form of allergic dermatitis caused by the infestation of the skin surface with the scab mite and is considered the most contagious endemic disease affecting sheep in the UK. It can lead to reduced animal performance and poor animal welfare.

See AHWNI Sheep Scab Bulletins for details of the clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment and control.


NI Sheep Scab Scheme

A BBSRC-funded NI Sheep Scab Project ran from August 2022 to October 2023. The aims of the project were to assist in sheep scab control in NI at the farm level working in partnership with private vets, to identify the extent of the disease geographically and within flocks, to explore how stakeholder cooperation could be achieved in dealing with the disease and to investigate the barriers to progress.


The project provided an engagement incentive in the form of a free veterinary visit to participating farms, free diagnosis and treatment, thereby aiming to connect with sheep farmers. Veterinary oversight of the use of OP dips and injectables was a feature of the initiative, allowing tailored treatments to be prescribed and advice to be given. The project also aimed to improve general farmer knowledge and awareness of the disease.

In summary, the project has demonstrated a significant level of interest in dealing with sheep scab and the widespread geographical location of the disease across NI. Farmers willingly engaged with the project to avail of the knowledge exchange opportunities and veterinary involvement. Tailored treatments were prescribed and repeated blood sampling carried out where necessary, with successful outcomes. Farmer feedback received following the project was highly favourable.

The report can be viewed at the following link: AHWNI releases report on findings of Sheep scab research project


Contact us

Animal Health and Welfare NI (AHWNI) was formally launched in 2012. It is an industry-led, not-for-profit partnership between livestock producers, processors, animal health advisers and government.


Unit 49
Dungannon Enterprise Centre
2 Coalisland Rd
Co. Tyrone
BT71 6JT