Preventing ringworm in cattle

• Difficult to treat

17 February 2021 | Agriculture



Meatco has urged producers to be on the lookout for clinical signs of ringworm in cattle as the disease can have a detrimental financial impact for producers if a herd is infected.

Ringworm is a very common and highly transmissible skin infection passed both from cattle to cattle and from cattle to humans.

The disease is caused by spore-forming fungi called Trichophyton verrucosum.

Highly contagious

According to Meatco's senior manager of safety health environment and quality assurance, Dr Adrianatus Maseke, the disease can spread through grooming utensils such as brushes and severely compromises the health status of animals.

Maseke said it can cause the growth of fungus on the animal's skin and lead to hair loss and scabbing on the infected area.

Furthermore, due to itching, the animal then spends more time scratching itself than eating, resulting in weight and condition loss. The hide also gets damaged because the skin thickens and becomes crusty, flaky and greyish.

“This has a detrimental financial and health impact on our producers, as their animals lose weight and the herd decreases, because the disease is highly contagious. Producers are also susceptible and at risk of contracting the disease because it is zoonotic,” Meatco said.

Hard to treat

The disease is difficult to treat and once infected, an animal becomes resistant to treatments or ordinary cleaning. The animals need heavy disinfection to clear the ringworm.

Producers are urged to treat the disease with anti-fungal agents by dipping animals with these chemicals.

Products farmers can use are Enilconazole, which they can use to wash the animal three times a day, and Betadine.

Vitamin D also helps the skin to recover, while antibiotics prevent secondary infections.

The disease can be controlled, and farmers must look out for clinical signs and report their animals to the nearest state veterinary office for treatment to be administered under the supervision of veterinarians.