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Home:Equine Diseases: Equine Ringworm


Equine Diseases

Equine Diseases - Ringworm




Ringworm is not actually a worm but contagious fungi - two of the most common being Trichophytrm and Microspmztm. Ringworm is also referred to as girth itch or dermatophytosis. Soil, manure and other dark damp conditions encourage the ringworm fungi. It is very difficult to prevent horses becoming exposed to ringworm, as the conditions outlined are fairly common equine living conditions.
A horse’s skin and hair follicles are ideal receptacles for the ringworm fungi. Once they get a foothold, they will then live on these surfaces for a considerable time. Young horses under the age of three years and older more debilitated animals are more prone to ringworm.
Ringworm is hugely contagious, spreading from horses to humans and causing outbreaks with little difficulty. It is therefore very important to wear gloves and discard safely any removed scabs, scaly skin and crusts to avoid ringworm cross-infection and re-infection.

Symptoms of ringworm are small raised circular areas of hair loss which lead to scabby flaky crusty patches of skin and hair which in turn become lesions of broken blisters. Check the saddle and girth areas for these ringworm signs as well as the face eyes and legs. You may also notice itching on the chest and/or hindquarters.

The causes of ringworm are usually infection by some groups of fungi followed by spread of this infection through use of saddles, halters, grooming equipment and other tack. The horse’s environmental conditions can be a contributory cause of ringworm, especially if the horse is confined to a dark damp or crowded stable.

Luckily, there are many reliable tried and tested treatments for ringworm. It is important to isolate the horse with the ringworm infection. Your veterinary supplier will recommend a topical balm which will relieve itch, redness, swelling and scaliness as well as fighting infection. All of your horse’s equipment will need disinfecting. Try 1 part bleach to 10 parts water for this. Animal shampoos such as Nolvasan and Dermazole contain excellent active ingredients to fight ringworm. Surf online to check out homeopathic ringworm remedies.
Although ringworm is not an emergency requiring immediate veterinary care, you should inform your vet about your horse's condition.