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Ringworm in Horses Disclaimer

Ringworm is a superficial fugal skin disease transmitted by contact with infected horses, brushes, tack, riding boots and rugs. It is most common in racing stables and riding schools where horses share equipment. Transmission from man to horse, and vice versa, is uncommon, but may occur.

Young animals, and those in poor condition seem more susceptible, particularly in warm humid conditions. Contaminated girths are the most common cause of spread in training stables, with up to 90% incidence in young horses in an outbreak.

Symptoms of ringworm   Top
  • Multiple areas of hair loss, scaling and crusting that enlarge outwards, and then heal in the center
  • The lesions are not usually very itchy, but it is best to avoid putting tack over areas with actual lesions
  • Your vet may confirm diagnosis by taking skin scrapings if the lesions are unusual in their distribution

  • Treatment of ringworm   Top
  • Minimise cross infection by allocating separate brushes, saddlecloths etc. for each horse
  • Alternatively, plastic coated bridles and plastic girth sleeves may be washed after use with warm soapy water and disinfectant daily
  • Saddlecloths and girths may be washed in a non-irritant disinfectant (e.g. iodine wash)
  • Avoid foam rubber pads, which cause sweating and harbour the ringworm fungus
  • Shampoo daily with a topical antifungal treatment, such as Hexocil wash or iodine/soap preparations
  • Rinse off and dry with a separate clean towel for each horse
  • For single lesions, apply Sea Minerals Dermal Spray or an iodine wash as a drying agent daily for 5 – 7 days
  • If an outbreak persists, tack may be disinfected by formaldehyde fumigation to stop reinfection. Consult your vet for advice
  • Skin resistance against infection may be improved by supplementing with a vitamin and mineral supplement including Vitamin A, and trace minerals such as copper and zinc (e.g. Feramo-H).

    Article courtesy of Dr John Kohnke from ‘Health Care and problems of Horses, 9th edition’ published by Virbac-Vetsearch.

    Dr John Kohnke has over 20 years of experience in the health care and management of horses. He is well known for his ability to give sound, practical and up-to-date advice, which is sought by trainers and horse owners worldwide. As Technical Director of Vetsearch for 20 years, John had an opportunity to pursue research in equine nutrition, parasite control, lameness and respiratory problems.

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