Ringworm: a fungal skin infection affecting horses – and humans *H&H Plus*

  • This fungal skin infection comes in many guises and can be tricky to identify, explains Karen Coumbe MRCVS

    IF your horse develops a skin rash or a sore or bald area for which there is no other obvious explanation, it could well be ringworm. This highly contagious fungal infection flourishes in cool, wet weather and can spread rapidly between horses – and also to humans.

    Confusingly, ringworm is not always ring-shaped and has nothing to do with worms. Instead, it grows around the hairs, slowly damaging the horse’s coat and underlying skin, yet is rarely itchy.

    Ringworm that is not rapidly identified and treated is more likely to spread. The classic example is the horse that arrives at the yard with a rough coat with patches of hair standing on end, or other signs not recognised as ringworm. Clipping him to remove such blemishes will result in rapid dissemination of the fungal spores.

    Ringworm can spread to horses from other animals, particularly cattle. While not fatal, it will disrupt riding and training schedules – especially if lesions occur in the saddle and girth regions.


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