Ringworm is caused by fungus, and is also called dermatophytosis.

Typically ‘ringworm’ will cause round hairless patches of skin that often become scaly.  The hair can be plucked out easily from around the lesions due to the fungus infecting the follicles.  Early lesions might look like raised skin wheals, and horses are not usually itchy.  Most infections in healthy horses will resolve in 2-3 months.

Ringworm is caused by fungal spores that are common in the environment.  Items such as bedding, brushes, stall doors or tack may be contaminated.  How contagious it is depends on the type of fungus and the immunity of each horse.  An infected animal should have their own set of tack and brushes, (which should be cleaned and disinfected regularly) and the horse should be kept out of physical contact with other horses to help prevent spread.

Remember – people can catch ringworm too (known as a zoonotic disease – meaning one that can pass from animal to human). Therefore care must be taken to wear disposable gloves when handling horses with active infections, and thoroughly washing hands afterwards.

Diagnosis: Is usually made on clinical signs, but sometimes might require a skin scraping which is examined under a microscope in the laboratory.

Treatment: Usually involves anti-fungal shampoos and topical anti-fungal creams which should be discussed and can be described by your vet.  Each case is different, so listen to your vet’s advice on what is best for your horse or stable.

Comments are closed.