While visiting another forum earlier in the month, the topic of mange was brought up regarding the disease in coyotes. Instead of cluttering up the earlier "coyote" thread here with my response, a fresh wound seemed to be the better route:
"Sarcoptic mange, often called "scabies," is a debilitating skin disease caused by these guys - Sarcoptes mites:
This is a highly magnified image of one under the microscope. They are invisible to the naked eye.
As mentioned earlier, it is more evident and transmissible when coyote and fox populations are high in a given area, causing significant mortality among infected animals in different regions of the country.
I personally have not seen it often where I live, but it has been cyclical here in talking with coyote hound hunters and predator callers in this region.
As a trapper and long retired wildlife research biologist, I have a file on animal diseases in my pc library.
Bobcats do in fact contract mange, but it has a different name and life cycle than that of Sarcopes in canines. I do not know much about it, other than it does exist - how debilitating to a bobcat population? I have no idea.
Here are some extreme cases of the mite infection in both fox and coyotes from Nebraska to Pennsylvania. Where blood is evident in a couple of photos, it is from intense scratching by the animal to relieve the itching. In the northern zones with severe winters, a near hairless, mangey fox or coyote is not likely to survive the winter.
These may be more than or all that you ever care to see with mange, but they illustrate the severity of the disease.
(Bushmaster, Alberta, Canada)
There isn't anything pretty about this disease. However, Mother Nature has her own ways of dealing with overpopulations in most animal species in some manner, shape or form. Sarcoptic mange is one expression, particularly in wild canines.
Mange has been reported periodically in a wide range of animal species, notably - red fox, coyotes, wolves, bear, raccoon, squirrels and rabbits. But, for some unknown reason, it seems to have more of a devastating affect on red fox and coyote populations than on those of the other species mentioned.
There is some speculation and much disagreement among parasitologists involved with mange research that it may be related to some species of mites that are host specific to wild canines compared to those mite species infecting other mammals.
By contrast of "disease" pathways, for example, look at what viral distemper can do to raise havoc once spread in a raccoon population. It can wipe them out in a very short period of time. I saw that happen where I live two years ago - dead raccoons just about everywhere you looked in their habitat.
Similarly, muskrats, when overpopulated, are afflicted with specific viral and bacterial diseases that can knock entire localized populations out almost overnight, taking sometimes 3-5 years for them to recover.
The list is long."
I am certain many T-man members have photos of their personal catches of afflicted coyotes and fox with this disease to add to this portfolio.