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This article was published in 1958
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Skin Scrapings in Itch Mite Infestations

C. D. GEE, B.V.Sc., Veterinary Inspector, Condobolin

On occasions veterinary field officers have found themselves in the position of being asked to examine sheep for Psorergates infestation; and of not having curved scissors and scalpel blades with them.

In just such a position as this the writer found one or two safety razor blades quite suitable and sufficient for the job. Since then this method has been used in preference to other techniques.

Mr. E. G. Lowe, Veterinary Officer, Coonamble, has indicated at an area conference that safety razor blades are very suitable for Anthrax diagnosis, as they can simply be thrown on to the carcase after use and burnt. This avoids unnecessary contamination of post-mortem knives.

The technique for Psorergates diagnosis is briefly as follows:

After a suitable site has been located for examination of wool and skin, the wool is parted and the edge of the blade is placed on the skin along the parting of the wool. The blade may be held in a slightly convex position by holding the index and middle fingers under the ends of the blade and the thumb pressing down on the middle of the blade.

With a firm shaving and cutting action it now will be found quite simple to remove the fleece from an area of suitable size.

The blade then is turned to give a fresh edge; and scrapings taken by continuing the shaving action on the bare skin.

This method is suitable for dry or paraffin oil scrapings.

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