The name Ringworm comes from the red ring-like lesion which shows in the human infection, although there are no worms involved at all. Ringworm is caused by a fungal skin infection and is commonly seen first on sites where horses rub, or where tack rubs. It is VERY infectious and usually means having to treat ALL horses in a specific area to effect a cure. Spores will live on wood and soft stone walls as well as tack, buckets, and grooming equipment, which spread the spores if shared, and people can carry the spores too. Lesions are usually dry, bald, grey, thickened and scaly. This can become complicated if the horse rubs the lesions or they become infected with bacteria.

There are good treatments available, which are mainly topical preparations to kill the fungus and more importantly the spores which spread the infection. Tack can be soaked and walls sprayed with these washes as well, to reduce the chances of re-infection.

Hair samples sent to the lab will confirm ringworm, although results can take 3 weeks, so if we suspect an infection we will usually start treatment immediately. Generally the fungus itself is cleared fairly readily, although it may take time for the hair to grow back in affected areas. 

 

It will infect people, so take hygienic precautions. Those people who may have weakened immune systems like the very young or the elderly should stay away from affected yards and horses.