Ringworm is a disease caused by infection of the hair and surface layers of the skin by a fungus. Ringworm can occur in many animals, especially cattle. The disease is infectious and can easily spread from one animal to another. It forms ugly patches on the skin which indicate hair loss in those areas. In cattle and horses, ringworm causes many grey-colored lesions.
Ringworm is not known by any other name because the name perfectly describes the infection which spreads from the center in a round fashion. This leaves a ring on the hairless area in the center of the skin.
Ringworm infection of the skin and hair of cattle is due to Trichophyton verrucosum. This is a spore-forming fungus which can withstand extremes of temperature and environment. The spores can remain alive for many years and still not infect the cattle in a barn.
- Liquids come out of the affected areas on the skin
- Scabs that are white-greyish in color
- Lesions are mostly found in the head and the neck
- Hairless areas form in rings
- Young and old animals are mostly attacked by the disease
How it Affects Cattle
Ringworm disease is mostly seen during the winter. The microbes responsible for the disease never attack living tissue. The disease spreads when the microbes feed on the outer layers of the skin and hair. This causes damage to them and as a result circular ringworm patches are formed. The skin becomes dried up with hair loss and crumbling scales on the skin surface.
Ringworm is a herd health hitch. It is commonly found during winter. The cattle in temperate climate zones are infested with this disease.
Risks & Dangers
Fortunately the disease does not result in a huge economical loss or reduce yield in any way, but the ugly spots make the cattle look unhealthy. Also the risk of transmission of the disease from animal to human cannot be ruled out.
Application of substances like 2% solution of iodine and Whitfield's ointment is quite effective. Thiabendazole ointment is also very effective. Griseofulvin can be given orally, but its prolonged use may make it useless.
Vaccines & Prevention
Vaccines are not available for ringworm. For prevention, regular washing of the barn and adjoining areas with bleach or a 4% solution of formaldehyde is a must. Animals should be kept a specific distance apart. The cattle pens should also give exposure to sunlight. The areas should be kept dry to avoid spread of infection.
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