Ringworm Fungus Skin Infection
Despite it's name ringworm is not a parasite but a fungus. Ring worm is a fungal skin infection. The correct term for a ringworm infection is Dermatophytosis.
Dermatophytosis: is caused by a group of fungi known as Dermatophytes these have the ability to utilize keratin as a nutrient source. Keratin is a hard protein found in hair, nails, and the epidermis layer of the skin. These organisms can cause disease such as ringworm.
The incubation period is 10-14 days. Ringworm is highly contagious and can very easily spread from one part of the body to another. The infection is spread around the body by the animals grooming procedure. Ringworm is not exclusive to animals as ringworm can be passed to humans from animals. However, humans are fairly resistant to infection unless there is a break in the skin. The symptoms of a ringworm infection are scaly red patches on the skin. These can vary in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter.
It can be prevented in humans by hand washing with an anti fungal soap after handling a suspected infected pet. Transmission is by direct contact between an infected individual to a non infected individual. In the case of pets it can be transmitted from an infected environment by the use of clippers, combs, brushes, or from the bedding of an infected animal.
Cats, or kittens are common carriers of ringworm. Hair or fur loss may also be associated with ringworm. Though ringworm is very rarely seen in hamsters it is not uncommon.
The patches are typically round hence the ringworm, but they may be irregularly shaped. The edges are usually raised red and scaly. The centers may be a little dry and scaly but look like normal skin. If you observe any animal to have small scaly patches with small rings of fur loss it is more than likely they have ringworm. A veterinarian check would be advisable. There are four fungal species that can cause ringworm. An accurate diagnosis of the infecting organism is essential. Avoid touching the infected areas as the fungus infection can easily be spread by hand. Treatment with Griseofulvin is often recommended but this does not work well with an already established infection. Sometimes Griseofulvin is used together with a wash called Malaseb. Treatment is usually 18-21 days before the hamster is clear.
Although Griseofulvin is one of the many drugs used to treat animals with this type of fungal skin infection but it can have serious side effects. It may cause diarrhea and other health related issues. Griseofulvin should never be used on a pregnant animal. Any animal that is about to go on to Griseofulvin should have a full blood check done to make sure it is safe for them to do so prior to starting medication. There are other medications available
Spores are released from moulds and fungi these spores are microscopic. They are then released into the environment from the fungi, the ringworm. These spores can survive for an extended period of time. They can then become active again when conditions become favorable. The fungal spores have the potential to live in bedding or carpeting for up to 2 years. The spores can be killed with a diluted chlorine bleach solution.
In the case of pets and home furnishings there is a much safer alternative. Once your pet has been treated for ringworm by a veterinarian. Using Pet Virkon to shampoo and disinfect your pet and their environment will rapidly kill any remaining spores from any fungal disease such as Ringworm Virkon is a unique disinfectant and shampoo. It can be applied directly onto the animal’s fur and skin, and is 100% safe.
Fungus skin infection