Remedies for Ringworm …
Ringworm is a highly contagious, fungal condition usually found on the head, saddle and girth areas of the body. The skin falls out and the skin is left scaly underneath. Multiple areas of crusty, scaly, hair loss break out, often in a circular pattern, healing first from the centre outwards. The centre may be healing while the outer part of the lesion is still spreading. The rings sometimes run together to form irregular blotches. These areas are rarely itchy, though can be. In the initial stages, small tufts of hair standing on end may be visible and when this hair then falls out, the skin below can form a scab that exudes serum. As this dries, the skin becomes dry and scaly. Lesions may originate on the head, neck or base of the tail and spread to any part of the body.
Horses can be infected from tack, grooming and saddlery equipment, stables, fences, vehicles and other animals (including rats etc). Transition between humans and horses and vice versa is also possible. Horses in poor condition, and young horses more commonly get this disease, and warm, humid conditions increases the likelihood.
Contaminated girths are the most common cause of spread in training stables and riding schools, where the sharing of equipment is common.
If your horse has ringworm, isolate them from people and other animals and disinfect their gear and tack. Add 10 drops of concentrated Thyme Oil and Pine Oil to 5 litres of water to make a disinfectant for equipment. An iodine wash can also be used topically on the lesions. Anything coming in contact with a ringworm lesion should be disinfected or burned.
Ringworm often clears up if left alone, but the infection spreads very easily and is usually best treated topically on a daily basis for 1-2 weeks.
There are several different approaches to treating ringworm with natural therapies. Any one of the suggestions I am offering here will support your horse towards a speedier recovery. I would encourage a holistic viewpoint, including diet and topical remedies suggesting you explore whatever feels best for you and your horse.
Diet: A natural diet and good feed hygiene is recommended. Horses receiving insufficient Copper in their diet are particularly susceptible. Vitamin A and trace minerals of Copper and Zinc can be added to the feed to boost your horses resistance to skin infections.
Herbs: Treat the affected areas with Thuja or Vitamin A ointment to assist hair regrowth and to promote skin health. Alternatively a home brew of garlic, lemons and apple cider vinegar can be made and applied once strained and cooled.
Mix equal parts of Burdock, Cleavers, Echinacea and Yellow Dock and feed morning and night, to encourage hair growth and immunity.
General Tip: Plastic bridles and girth sleeves can be washed in warm soapy water and disinfected daily to prevent infection.
Good grooming, separation of affected animals, careful cleaning of grooming tools and equipment and overall good nutrition and condition are the best measures for preventing ringworm in a stable.
Be aware that some allergy rashes can look a lot like ringworm infection. For example, the uneven shedding of hair in mares due to hormone balance and allergic reactions that may not in fact be fungal in nature.
Tissue Salts: I would suggest 2 Tablets of Kali Sulph twice daily to support your horse’s immune system and resist further spreading of the condition.
Kali Sulph is a good tissue salt for the maintenance of healthy skin, hair and mucous membranes. It is involved with the third stage of inflammation.
The tissue salt Kali Sulph has an affinity for cells forming the lining of the skin and cells forming the internal mucous lining of all internal organs. Together with Ferrum Phos, Kali Sulph carries oxygen to the cells and tissues. A deficiency of Kali Sulph causes a lack of oxygen leading to chilliness, flashes of heat and shifting pains in the limbs. A deficiency causes a yellow, slimy deposit on the tongue, yellowish or greenish discharge from any mucous surfaces and epithelial or epidermal scaling. It is known as the skin salt and cell oxygenator. It is valuable in the treatment of brittle hooves, purulent mucous and discharges, inflammation, thrush and fungal infections, crusty skin complaints and dry, flaky skin, cold weather colic, rattling chest infections and vague shifting leg pains.
Essential Oils: Essential oils can be very helpful for treating fungal conditions. Topical application of Aloe Vera gelcontaining 2.5% dilution of Tea Tree oil, for its fantastic anti-fungal properties can be rubbed onto infected areas. For slow to respond areas you can add Geranium essential oil to your blend.
Homeopathics: If you are in to using homeopathics, Thuja 6C given twice daily can be a useful remedy for addressing Ringworm.
Additional Homeopathic options might be:
- Hydrocotyle 6C – exfoliation of scales (twice daily for 1 week)
- Bacillinum 200C – rough, dry skin (once per week for 3 doses)
- Sepia 1M – unpleasant odour (once per week for 4 doses)
- Pix liquida 6C – scaly and itchy eruptions (twice daily for 1 week)
Flower Remedies: The flower remedies are useful for addressing the emotional aspect of disease, and they will help your horse to feel more emotionally balanced. Select one of these remedies and add to your horse’s water or feed. Alternatively add 6-8 drops into a Aloe Vera base, or into Tea Tree oil and apply topically to your horse’s skin lesions.
Crab apple, Mimulus, Aspen and Holly are good remedies in the Bach Flower Range.
In the Australian Bush Flower Range: Billy Goat Plum, Green Essence, Spinifex, Mulla Mulla,and Emergency Essence(cream or spray) can all be beneficial during an episode of ringworm. Billy Goat Plum is indicated for all skin conditions in horses and it is particularly helpful where there is itchiness or fungal problems. Green essence with Peach Flowered Tea Tree is also an extremely good combination for fungal conditions. Do not give Green essence both internally and externally at the same time.
There is much more depth that could be gone into with this topic, however the application of these remedies will start you on your journey and stand you in good stead for healing your horse’s ringworm.
Look forward to hearing your experiences,