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Ringworm: What should you do?

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Ringworm (Microsporum trichophyton) is probably the most commonly seen of the skin condition caused by fungal infections. It affects both the hair and skin, and can be transmitted either directly by contact between animals, or indirectly by contact with contaminated tack, blankets, etc. Ringworm is most prevalent in saddle and girth areas, where contact with contaminated tack is most likely to occur.

Ringworm is characterized by the following signs:

1. intense itching

2. small, rounded lesions which spread in circular patterns

3. inflammation of the skin accompanied by breaking or shedding often hair in affected areas.

Dirty, overcrowded stable areas, particularly if warm and damp, are a predisposing condition for ringworm, as are dietary deficiencies. Young, thin-skinned horses are especially susceptible to this skin condition.

Dermatomycotic skin diseases such as ringworm will often spontaneously regress, particularly if the horse receives good nutrition and plenty of sunlight. Captan, a herbicide available in garden shops, may be used to treat generalized areas. A solution of one ounce of 50% captan to one gallon of water can be sponged over the horse's entire body daily or every other day. A 7% solution of iodine can be used, instead of the herbicide, directly on the lesions every other day. For best results from both these treatments, the crusts should be removed by gentle washing with a mild soap before the captan or iodine is applied.

Occasionally, the veterinarian will recommend bathing the horse with a "tamed" iodine-based shampoo. If systemic therapy is considered necessary, the veterinarian may prescribe the oral administration of Griseofulvin (Fulvicin). This fungistatic agent is believed to concentrate in the skin to a level that will prevent the further growth of the fungus.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Griseofulvin

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