Ringworm A Real Nuisance To Cure

A very contagious fungal infection, ringworm is a skin infection that actually has nothing to do with worms, nor is it always circular in shape. This misnomer can cause confusion when horse owners see various skin issues from hair loss and scaly plaques to raw, irritated skin–all of which can be signs of ringworm.

Indications that a horse is infected with ringworm are not always clear cut; tufts of hair that seem to be raised from the skin may be the only indication that something is not quite right. Typically these tufts of hair will fall out, leaving the raw, angry-looking skin underneath exposed. Other times there are grey, flaky patches of skin that indicate all is not well.

Ringworm often appears where the horse’s skin has contact with his tack, like the saddle or girth areas. Younger horses with little immunity are more at risk. If it is suspected that the horse has ringworm, it can be beneficial to treat him for the fungus—there is no downside to ringworm treatment even if he doesn’t have it. While the infection spreads through both direct and indirect contact, spores can stay dormant on surfaces for up to a year, making it hard to fully eradicate the problem.

Thought most cases of ringworm will resolve on their own, treatment is recommended to stop the spread of the infection: The goal is to kill the fungus and destroy the spores it produces. Feed-through products, as well as topical creams and sprays, are options. Additionally, blankets, saddle pads, grooming supplies and other items that have touched the horse should be disinfected as well. If the horse was kept in a stall, the walls should be cleaned and bedding destroyed.

Read more at Horse & Hound.

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