Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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Pet Talk

March 23, 2012

Ringworm is quite contagious


CNHI News Service —

Community swimming pools, used towels, health clubs, steam rooms and showers are common areas where athlete's foot can be contracted.

“Rarely humans can transmit the disease to animals. An example of this might be if a person with athlete's foot comes home, takes their shoes off, and scratches or rubs ol’ Fido with their bare foot,” says Russell.

Livestock such as cattle or horses are more likely to have ringworm when they are kept inside their stalls in the winter because of the rubbing up against wood and other stall materials.

“These cases are seen more in the northern parts of the United States where the weather is colder. Generally, when the weather becomes warmer again and the animals are turned outside into the sunshine of pastures, the disease begins to clear up,” says Russell.

In horses ringworm is seen usually in places where rubbing may occur, such as where a saddle or bridle might touch. Adults are more likely to contract ringworm from a horse rather than children, due to occupational exposure and handling.

The effects of ringworm tend to be superficial ones of appearance, though, if not treated in animals it can easily spread and cause scar tissue.

Some people, mostly children, who contract ringworm from a pet can sometimes have a reaction with their skin tissue resulting in bulgy lesion-looking patches on the skin called Kerions.

“The treatment for ringworm in humans or animals is usually going to involve a topical medication. Oral medication may be needed if the ringworm is chronic. It is certainly not a reason to get rid of a dog or cat because it can be treated,” says Russell.

If a pet is diagnosed with ringworm it is best to take steps to disinfect objects that the animal has been in contact with, using chemicals like chlorine diluted in water.

It is important to bring your pet, especially young pets, in for their vaccinations and checkups to ensure that diseases such as ringworm are not causing any problems.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.

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