Ringworm is a highly visible, high contagious skin disease that can infect horses. Ringworm has a very distinct shape and recognizable characteristics. Knowing what it looks like will help you detect it early if your horse catches it so you can stop the spread to other horses and begin treatment.
Ringworm is a skin disease that can appear in horses of any age, although it is most common on very young horses and elderly equines. This is because foals and older horses may have weaker immune systems that leave them more vulnerable to infections. Despite its name, ringworm is actually caused by a fungus rather than an actual worm. It's a very contagious condition that is transmitted from horse to horse through contaminated saddle blankets, brushes and other shared items. It can also spread rapidly through a barn when a large number of horses are kept together in close quarters.
As its name implies, ringworm on a horse typically shows up in a circular patch. The horse will lose its hair in a small circular area, and the exposed skin will be flaky or scabby. Over time, the bald spot will grow, and the horse will develop scabby blisters. The circles contributed to the name of this condition, since the rounded spots are so uniform that it's easy to imagine a curled-up worm underneath the skin.
Ringworm patches on a horse are most commonly found on the animal's back and belly in the areas where the saddle blanket and girth strap would be positioned. This is because so many horses catch ringworm as a result of wearing contaminated tack. The lesions can spread down the horse's legs. Ringworm can also show up anywhere on the horse's face, including the areas around its eyes.
Even though ringworm has a very distinctive look at is easy to recognize, you may want to contact a veterinarian to make a definitive diagnosis. Once you have confirmed that your horse has ringworm, you must treat it with a shampoo containing miconazole to kill the fungus. Give the horse a bath every day for one full week. Then you can cut down the frequency to once a week until all of the patches heal up.
Ringworm is a highly contagious condition. Not only can it easily be spread between horses, but it can also be passed along from a horse to a person. You should take great care when handling a horse with ringworm, wearing gloves when bathing or grooming it. Keep the horse away from other equines, and clean all of the blankets, halters, and grooming equipment you have used on it with a bleach and water solution.