Scaly gray or white crusty lesions on the non-feathered skin, especially on the legs, feet, and around the beak. The lesions usually start at the corners of the beak and have a honeycombed appearance. Foot lesions are white, tassel-like projections sticking out from the legs and feet. Lesions may also occur on the cere and around the eyes and vent. In severe cases, the beak, feet, and toes may become malformed. The scaly leg mites may cause itching and feather loss, but no scaly lesions.
The scaly leg mites apparently spend their entire life cycle on the bird. They burrow into the epithelium (top layer of the skin) and form tunnels. The mites are transmitted from bird to bird through prolonged close or direct contact. Mites may be transmitted to the unfeathered offspring in the nest.
Treatment of choice for birds with scaly leg mite lesions, and all birds that have had contact with them, is ivermectin. It may require 2-6 treatments at 10 day intervals to completely eliminate the mites. The ivermectin may be applied on the skin behind the neck, given orally, or injected.
Moxidectin has also been used topically. It is very important to use the proper concentration of both of these drugs, so always check with your veterinarian before treating a bird. Some other treatments are less effective and can be very toxic if they are ingested or get into the eye.
In the past, mineral oil or petrolium jelly has been used on unfeathered areas with success. But, because the mites can be anywhere on the body, just treating the affected area with something like mineral oil will not kill all the mites. If open lesions are present, antibiotics may be given to prevent or treat secondary bacterial infections.
The loft, feeders, water, and other items should be cleaned and disinfected. Items that cannot easily be disinfected should be removed and replaced.