Five Merino and five Dorper sheep were artificially infested with the sheep scab mite Psoroptes ovis and the effect of infestation on their haematology, serum protein levels and live mass recorded for a period of 14 weeks. The reaction of the Merino sheep to infestation was more severe than that of the Dorper sheep. Haematological values fluctuated within the normal range during the assessment period. The mean haemoglobin concentration of the Merino sheep declined until antiparasitic treatment was administered 10 weeks after infestation, after which it gradually increased. The lymphocyte counts of both breeds of sheep declined from 2 weeks to 10 weeks post-infestation, but increased after treatment, while the highest eosinophil counts were recorded in the Merino sheep at the height of the acute disease 8-10 weeks post-infestation. Serum albumin values for both breeds and serum globulin values for the Merino sheep were higher than normal during the entire 14-week observation period. A decrease in serum albumin and an increase in serum globulin concentration occurred at the height of infestation in both breeds. The mean live mass of a second group of five infested Merino sheep decreased by 6.4 kg over a 16-week period compared to a gain of 4.56 kg for five infested Dorper sheep.
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