Sunday, 4 August 2013

Ringworm... is it really a worm?

 

Have you even heard of a thing called Ringworm? 

I have! I must be in the top 100 luckiest people ever to have got ringworm........on my face! Nope I'm not kidding I got the blessed gift on my chin a few years a go. So for those who don't know about it let me share some knowledge and facts about something that affects quite a few animals & people!


Ringworm also called Dermatophytosis

Well for starters it's not a parasitic worm is a fungal infection of the skin & hair. Its very common in cats, dogs & humans. The top three fungi in pets are: are Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes.

Sometimes your pet can just be a carrier of the fungi, it either spreads it to other pets or after a bout of immunosuppression it can show symptoms itself. Typical signs are red lesions on the skin that are circular in shape, it can also cause hair loss and scaliness. As mentioned above it is most certainly a Zoonotic disease as I myself caught it from a patient that I was retraining!

Standard tests to Diagnose ringworm are:

A woods lamp - Although only 50% of microsporum canis will show and the other fungi don't show at all. Its basically a Ultra Violet light and shows the fungi as an apple greenish colour on the skin and the hair shafts.

Microscope - A hair plucking can be taken from the suspected infected patient and looked at under the microscope. Fungal spores can be seen using this method but you can't tell the species so this hinders choosing the best treatment.

Culture Test - Collect a range of hairs or fungal spores and add them to specific fungal media so that you can see what spores grow. We generally send these off to a lab as the have far better equipment than general practice. From this you can work out specifically what your dealing with and treat as required.

Treatment really varies on the severity! Generally animals you clip the majority of the affected area (not to closely though) and then they have to have weekly dip using medicated solutions. In the UK we tend to use 'Aludex' but other types are available. In more severe cases oral medication can be prescribed.
In humans in my experience some anti fungal cream clears in up but it can take a week or two and believe me its very itchy!

You may also need to disinfect the environment as much as possible to stop it spreading to yourself or other animals. Washing bedding on a high heat will help, and then cleaning as many surfaces as much as possible. Bleach can be used or ask for some disinfectant from your vets as this tends to have a wider action.
 





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