Description of Equine Ringworm
Equine Ringworm is also referred to as girth itch or dermatophytosis. Ringworm is not actually a worm but contagious fungi - two of the most common being Trichophytrm and Microspmztm. These ringworm fungi live in soil, manure and other dark damp materials and conditions. Horses are constantly exposed to these conditions so it is difficult to prevent exposure. When ringworm fungi attach themselves to a horse, they will live on the horse's skin and in the hair follicles trying to feed on dead tissue. Ringworm is more likely to be present in horses under three years of age and in older or delicate horses.
Ringworm infection is highly contagious and whole groups of horses can become affected in an outbreak. It can also spread from horses to humans.
Symptoms of Ringworm
• Small raised circular patches of hair loss
• Scabbed flaky skin
• raised welts
• crusty patches of skin and hair
• lesions of broken blisters with scabs typically around girth and saddle areas, face, eyes and legs
• itch on the chest or hindquarters
Causes of Ringworm
• infection by some groups of fungi
• spread of infection through use of common tack
• habitation in damp, dark, and crowded conditions such as prolonged confinement to a stable
Treatment of Ringworm
It is good practice to inform your vet about your horse's condition. The following steps are recommended.
• isolation from other horses
• soothing ringworm ointments which to fight the fungus and relieve itch, irritation, redness and swelling
• disinfection of all tack and grooming equipment with solutions of one part bleach to ten parts water
Treatment of Atypical Myoglobinuria:
• Nolvasan and Dermazole animal shampoos contain active ingredients effective against ringworm
• Homeopathic remedies are considered beneficial for ringworm
Wear gloves and burn any removed crusts to avoid ringworm re-infection.