Ringworm can be a big nuisance in your household and farm. Ringworm is an uncomfortable fungal skin infection that can cause discomfort for humans and animals. Common symptoms of ringworm include itching, scratching, reddened skin with hair loss and possible infection that results from the animal's repeated scratching and irritating the damaged area of skin.
The Spread of Ringworm
Ringworm can affect all types of animals, including your farm livestock and yourself. Ringworm spreads when animals who are already suffering from the fungal infection come into contact with those who are not. Ringworm is spread when your livestock touch skin or hair of an infected animal. The fungus is located in the skin and hair follicles and will spread to infect the new animal. Ringworm is more common in animals that are either old, young or suffering from a compromised immune system.
Ringworm is a fungus, and fungus thrives in the moist, dirty conditions that are common in many areas where livestock live. Your best protection against the spread of ringworm is to keep everything in your barn as clean as possible. Fungus thrives in less than sterile conditions, so spend time maintaining your barn. Keep your stalls clean and dry. Change bedding frequently to avoid the buildup of potentially diseased physical matter. Avoid keeping your animals in close quarters where they will spend a significant amount of time touching each other because they do not have adequate room to move around.
Disinfecting Your Facility
Use a cleaning solution that is 1 part bleach and 10 parts water to disinfect any areas where you believe an animal with ringworm may have been sleeping, eating, laying or using the bathroom. This means you need to clean your barn and barn walls, replace all bedding, and sterilize your feed troughs and water buckets if you suspect any of your animals might have ringworm. Regular cleaning and maintenance is essential for keeping healthy animals, even when ringworm isn't a visible threat to your livestock.
Treating Ringworm in Livestock
When you identify ringworm among your animals, isolate infected animals and keep them separate from the rest of your animals. Do not use any of the same supplies, such as brushes or leads, on an animal with ringworm that you use on your healthy animals. Your veterinarian can prescribe an anti-fungal treatment, usually a skin cream, to get rid of the ringworm. Do not release infected animals back into the herd until after your veterinarian has given you the go ahead to do so.
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Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.