Calves, and sometimes cows, break out with round scabby sores caused by the fungus “ringworm”.
- Ringworm is treatable, although the complete sores may take several days to weeks to completely disappear.
- Ringworm is very easy to spread to other animals and humans – wear gloves when working with animals and wash your hands – your calf can give YOU ringworm!
- Once an animal gets ringworm, their immunity usually prevents them from getting ringworm again.
Here are photos from a friend’s cow. See how the spots are fairly round? At this point, the cow had not yet been treated, so the scabs hide most of the infection:
- Fungus thrives in wet, dark places. DRY & AIRY solutions solve this problem!
- Wear gloves!
- Remove the scab forming over the top of the ringworm by scraping the scab off with a curry comb or a stiff bristle brush (an old toothbrush, for example – throw away once done treating).
- Scrub the exposed wound with a brush or rag soaked in diluted iodine (dilute 3% iodine until it’s the color of iced tea). The wound will bleed – this is a GOOD sign – you’ve reached the base of the infection.
- Ample sunshine and fresh air help substantially (shots of Vit A & D can help as well). Leave the sores open to breathe.
- Repeat as needed. Usually 2-3 times for the full protocol should be sufficient.
- You know you’re on the mend when the scab stops forming in a thick crust and eventually the edges shrink & hair regrows.
A note: When we housed our dairy heifers inside a barn without access to pasture or outdoor lots, they almost always came down with ringworm. They would heal and usually not get ringworm again in their life, as they built up resistance.
Now, our heifers are housed either outdoors (in wooded lots) or in airy freestall housing with access to pasture or dry lot. Knock on wood, we haven’t had a case of ringworm in over 5 years…
If your animal(s) get ringworm, check them all and treat any found sores. The problem usually resolves within a few weeks and should not bother your farm much more, unless you frequently bring in outside animals.