With the increasing heat and humidity, sheep wool becomes a hospitable place for bacteria and fungus to grow in the form of ringworm. Unfortunately, this fungal growth is extremely contagious from sheep to sheep and can even be transferred to humans. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand the causes of wool fungus and how proper livestock ventilation can help prevent the issue.
What Causes Wool Fungus?
Wool fungus or ringworm in sheep often makes itself known through signs like hair loss, scabbing, pustules, and scarring. Caused by one of two types of fungi—Microsporum or Trichophyton—ringworm is easily transmitted from animal to animal when they come in contact with common livestock equipment, such as clippers, blankets, brushes, or combs. Young sheep that have never had ringworm before are particularly susceptible, as well as those that are washed too often, fed a poor diet, or kept in humid areas without ample livestock ventilation. Feces and flies can also carry the fungi, creating even more opportunities for it to spread.
How Can Farmers & Livestock Exhibitors Prevent This Issue?
To treat infected sheep, sheer wool around the ringworm and use a soapy brush to clear away the scab. Then, apply a topical medication approved by your vet to kill the fungus. Treat infected sheep in isolation until the infection is gone. Keep in mind that ringworm can also be transferred to humans, so always wear gloves and scrub with soap and water after interacting with infected sheep.
To protect the rest of your livestock from further spread, give all your equipment a thorough cleaning with a commercial-grade fungicide. Since frequent washing and grooming puts sheep more at risk for becoming infected with ringworm, do so only when necessary. When showing livestock, never share blankets or equipment with other owners. Have your vet recommend a nutrient-rich livestock feed, and invest in livestock ventilation. Ensuring your sheep are healthy on the inside improves their immunity and ability to fight fungi and other diseases.
If you’re looking for an expert to assist with proper fungus treatments or livestock ventilation, turn to Show Stopper Equipment by Vittetoe, Inc. in Keota, IA, for premier agricultural solutions of all kinds. For over five decades, they has been providing customers across the area with high-quality products, including seed conveyors, livestock feeders and waterers. Their team is passionate about helping farmers adapt and succeed in the face of changing industry demands and always offer competitive pricing to help you stay on budget. To learn more about how their wide variety of products can optimize your operation, give them a call today at (641) 636-2259 or visit them online.