Ringworm in Cattle/Horses


Ringworm is a condition that is caused by a fungus that occurs on the surface of the skin and on the hair follicles. It can happen in several animals and is particularly prevalent in cattle and horses. This condition causes patches of hair loss on the animal and in some cases will cause lesions that are grey in color. This condition can be spread from animal to animal easily.

The type of ringworm that appears on cattle and horses is because of Trychophyton Verrucosum which is a fungus that forms spores and can continue to live in extreme temperatures and environments. These types of spores might live for several years and still might never infect the animals that surround them.

Some of the symptoms that are associated with ringworm in cattle and horses are:

  • Liquids oozing from the areas that are affected
  • Grey or white scabs
  • Sores on the head or neck area
  • Round patches of hair loss

The majority of ringworm causes are found during the winter months. The microbes which cause the condition do not attack tissue that is living; spreading occurs when the microbes begin to feed on the outside hair and skin layers. This skin will eventually dry up which results in the scaly sores and hair loss.

Fortunately for those who raise cattle and horses, there is not much economic loss in any way, unless the “appearance” is one of the sale factors. The spots will make the cattle appear unhealthy and the risk that the condition can still be transmitted to other animals and to other humans can still occur.

You can normally treat an animal with ringworm at home using iodine and Whitfield’s ointment. Using Thiabendazole ointment has also been shown to be extremely effective as is Griseofulvin, however, using it for an extended period will cause it to become useless.

There are no vaccines which are available for preventing ringworm. The best solution is to clean out the cattle and horse living area with bleach or formaldehyde regularly. Keeping animals spaced out properly can also decrease ringworm infections. Make sure that the animals have ample sunlight and keep their areas dry to keep the infection from thriving or spreading once it has begun.

Once you realize that your cattle or horses have ringworm, treating it immediately will decrease the chances that it will spread to your other livestock or to any family members that may come in contact with the animals.

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