Managing Ringworm Infections in Horses

Understanding Ringworm in Horses. Ringworm, a skin condition caused by the Microsporum trichophyton fungus, is a common issue affecting horses. This fungal infection can affect both the horse’s hair and skin and is highly contagious. In this article, we delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for ringworm in horses.

Causes of Ringworm in Horses

Ringworm is exceptionally contagious and can spread through direct contact with an infected horse or by coming into contact with contaminated equipment. Horses in unclean and overcrowded stable conditions, particularly those that are warm and damp, are at higher risk of developing ringworm. Moreover, young horses with thinner skin are more susceptible to this fungal infection.

Symptoms of Ringworm in Horses

Indications of ringworm in horses encompass intense itching, small rounded lesions that propagate in circular patterns, and skin inflammation accompanied by hair loss in the affected areas. The saddle and girth regions, which frequently encounter contaminated tack, are most commonly affected.

Treatment Options for Ringworm in Horses

Although ringworm can sometimes resolve spontaneously with proper nutrition and exposure to sunlight, treatment may be necessary to expedite healing and prevent infection spread. Here are some treatment options:

1. Topical Treatments: Topical solutions like captan or iodine can be effective against ringworm. Captan, a herbicide found in garden shops, can be applied broadly. A solution of one ounce of 50% captan to one gallon of water can be sponged over the horse’s entire body daily or every other day. Alternatively, a 7% iodine solution can be applied directly to the lesions every other day. Gentle washing with a mild soap before applying captan or iodine can enhance their effectiveness.

2. Iodine-Based Shampoo: In some cases, a veterinarian may recommend bathing the horse with an iodine-based shampoo formulated for ringworm treatment. This can help remove crusts and soothe affected areas.

3. Systemic Therapy: If the infection is severe or unresponsive to topical treatments, a veterinarian may prescribe systemic therapy. Griseofulvin (Fulvicin), an orally administered fungistatic agent, may be prescribed. Griseofulvin concentrates in the skin, inhibiting further fungal growth.

Consult a Veterinarian

For a precise diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan, it is imperative to consult a veterinarian. Only a veterinarian can accurately diagnose ringworm and determine the most appropriate treatment options for your horse. They can also offer guidance on preventing infection spread and maintaining a healthy environment for your horse.


Ringworm is a common fungal infection that can affect horses, causing itching, circular lesions, and hair loss. Timely intervention and proper treatment are crucial for managing and preventing ringworm spread. Consult a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan for your horse.


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