Appearance: rounded hairless patches with crusty, scabby skin. The lesions are most common on the face, neck, shoulders, chest or under the saddle or girth, but they can appear anywhere on the body. The affected areas may be sore or itchy, but they often cause no discomfort, and the horse may appear otherwise healthy.
Causes: Despite the name, ringworm is a fungal infection, which can be caused by several organisms, usually members of the Trichophyton or Microsporum families. The fungi, called dermatophytes, consume keratin, the protein that forms the structure of hair and epidermal skin cells. The fungi can survive for months in the environment, on tack or fences, and they can be carried on the skin for up to three weeks before signs of infection are evident---during this time, the fungi can be easily spread to other animals, and sudden outbreaks may affect every horse in a herd.
Do I need to treat it? Yes. Left untreated, the lesions will continue to grow and spread. Although infections might heal eventually on their own, the horses would be highly contagious until they do.
Protocol: If you suspect ringworm, immediately isolate the affected horse from all other animals, including cats and dogs as well as other livestock. Clipping the hair around the lesions and removing scabs and crusty material as much as you can without causing the horse pain will reduce the organisms' food source. Several over-the-counter anti-fungal medications, as well as some human dandruff shampoos, may be effective against ringworm, but you may need to try several products to find one that works best for your horse. First clean the area with a general anti-fungal antiseptic, such as chlorhexidine, and then dry thoroughly before applying an anti-fungal ointment or medication. Repeat the treatments until the infection is resolved. Exposure to air and sunshine will also help kill the fungi.
Prevention: Keep separate tack, equipment and grooming supplies for every horse in your care, and do not share with others at shows or events. Quarantine new horses brought to your farm for at least two weeks to make sure they aren't carrying ringworm or other contagious diseases.
In the case of an outbreak, clean and disinfect any tack or equipment as well as wash stalls and fences in communal areas that other animals may have had contact with. Use a power washer to get disinfectant into all the crevices. Remember that people can get ringworm as well as all your other animals, including cats and dogs. Always wear gloves when handling infected horses and exposed equipment.
This is where a Blue Therapy Light is necessary and will aid in the actual elimination of the fungal problem. After the use of the Low Level Therapy Blue Light and any necessary Essential Oils it will be the time to apply an herbal-based salve to the affected area or areas. Remember to always apply any salves after the completion of use by the treatment torch since it could cause the affected area to heat up and become uncomfortable for the horse.
Any thoughts or input?....
Until Next Time -- “Ride for the Brand.”