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Dermatophytosis, Ringworm in Horses

Dermatophytosis is a superficial fungal infection of the skin in horses. For an infection to establish an entrance is needed, for example little scars, moisture or pressure or rubbing of tack. Several factors predispose horses to dermathophytosis, for example age (young or old immunosuppressed horses), illness, poor nutrition, overcrowding and stress. Symptoms usually start with the development of small papules with erected hairs, followed by the formation of the typical ring-shaped lesions with alopecia and scaling. Lesions are most commonly seen on the tack areas. Some infected horses however do not display symptoms of the condition until their immunologic defense is decreased as a result of illness or stress. The condition is transferred to other horses through direct contact between animals, but also through indirect contact, for example through contaminated fomites or the environment. Dermatophytosis is a self- limiting disease and symptoms will usually disappear spontaneously in 4 to 12 weeks. Due to several reasons however treatment with a topical antifungal agent, for example natamycine or enilconazol, is recommended. Equipment of infected horses and their stables should also be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Affected horses should be kept separated from other animals and each animal should have its own equipment. Please note that fungal infections can also be transferred to humans, and that Trichophyton verrucosum is known for its zoonotic properties.

Additional information

Bovine ringworm is seen mainly in the winter months, in young animals, often in outbreaks. Usually caused by TRICHOPHYTON VERRUCOSUM or T. MENTAGROPHYTES. Ringworm in horses is usually due to TRYCHOPHYTON EQUINUM or MICROSPORUM GYPSEUM, sometimes in outbreaks, with lesions that can be discrete or diffuse, often on the upper body and limbs. Ringworm in pigs must be differentiated from Pityriasis Rosea; TRICHOPHYTON, MICROSPORUM and CANDIDA have been isolated; lesions are initially circular as in many other species. TRICHOPHYTON VERRUCOSUM is the most common cause of ringworm in sheep and goats.
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