Sarcoptic mange, which is also known as scabies or fox mange, is cause by the mange mite Sarcoptic scabei. These mites usually live on the skin of dogs and foxes although they can be transmitted to humans, and to other pets such as ferrets, if there is close enough contact.
Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious, either by mites moving when animals are in direct contact, or via sharing contaminated items such as brushes and bedding. Once the mange mites have infected a ferret, they burrow into the top layer of the skin – this is incredibly itchy, and ferrets often cause themselves damage by rubbing, chewing and licking at their skin. You can generally see angry, red pustules on the skin, which can crust over and become infected.
In ferrets, mange seems to either target the body or the feet. When just the feet are affected, the condition is also known as ‘ferret foot rot’.