Ringworm is a type of fungal infection that can affect your pet rabbit. Here are four things you need to know about ringworm.
What causes ringworm?
Ringworm is caused by a fungus, usually trichophyton mentagrophytes but microsporum canis can sometimes be the culprit. The fungus is spread through direct contact with an infected animal. It can also be spread by using objects that are contaminated with the fungus, like a hair brush that was used on an infected rabbit. Rabbits can be carriers of the fungus without showing any signs of disease, so to be safe, keep your rabbit away from other rabbits.
What are the symptoms?
If your rabbit develops ringworm, you'll notice that your pet has itchy sores on their skin. These sores tend to be located on the head, but other parts of the body can be affected. To the untrained eye, the sores associated with ringworm look similar to ordinary wounds, so you will need to see your vet for a diagnosis.
How is ringworm treated?
If the vet diagnoses your rabbit with ringworm, there are two different treatment options. Your vet may give you an antifungal cream to apply to your rabbit's sores. The cream is only applied to the affected area, which is a good option if the ringworm is limited to a small area.
The other option is oral antifungal medication. This medicine is given by mouth and targets your rabbit's entire body, which can be helpful if the ringworm is widespread.
A thorough cage cleaning is also essential. You'll need to disinfect your rabbit's cage and cage contents, including their water bottle and food dish. Items that can't be disinfected easily, like chew toys, need to be thrown out and replaced.
Can you catch ringworm from your rabbit?
Ringworm is very contagious, not just between rabbits but also between rabbits and people. This means that you need to be very careful when handling your sick rabbit. Skin-to-skin contact with your sick rabbit will allow the fungi responsible for ringworm to spread to you. Make sure to protect yourself by wearing gloves while caring for your pet. As an additional precaution, wash your hands after removing your gloves.
Ringworm in people typically manifests as a red, itchy, circular ring on your skin. If you develop this rash after caring for your rabbit, seek medical attention. You can give the infection back to your rabbit so wear gloves while caring for your rabbit until you are healthy again.
If you think your rabbit has ringworm, take them to a vet or animal hospital right away.