Treatment for Ringworm

I have consulted with three local veterinarians about the best way to treat ringworm. Each one gave me a different treatment recommendation. What is the most effective way to treat ringworm?
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Q. I have consulted with three local veterinarians about the best way to treat ringworm. Each one gave me a different treatment recommendation. What is the most effective way to treat ringworm? —Mary

A. Ringworm, which is not actually a worm but a fungal infection, is most likely a normal inhabitant of the skin. It can be introduced into the skin through abrasions or inflammation to create the crusty, flaky, round, hairless areas that are typically associated with the disease. There are many treatment options, which is why you have received the variety of recommendations. Your veterinarian will make a treatment plan that is most likely going to be safe and effective for your horse and also fit into your management situation.

Usually, the first part of treatment is to remove as much loose hair and crust as possible. This will decrease the number of fungal elements available that can re-infect the skin and spread to other objects, such as brushes, saddle pads, and blankets. Povidone iodine, used in frequent daily treatments, is a common agent used to disinfect the surface of the skin. Other agents may include chlorhexidine (Nolvasan), diluted bleach (watch out for irritation), and anti-fungal shampoos. In some cases, this may be all that is needed

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Written by:

Jeffrey T. Berk, VMD, is a partner in Ocala Equine Hospital in Ocala, Fla., and he is a Director-At-Large of the AAEP.

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