(Dan) Hey folks, welcome to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson here from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. We have a great show lined up today. Dr. Matt Meisner from the Veterinary Health Center in the Ag Practices Section will be talking to us today about ringworm in cattle. We’re gonna talk about what ringworm is, how to treat it and some of the things that go along with it such as checking in at the fair. Thanks for joining us. We’ll be back right after these messages.
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(Dan) Matt, welcome to the show. (Matt) Always happy to be here. (Dan) Well folks, this is Dr. Matt Miesner. Matt is a boarded veterinarian that is boarded in internal medicine for food animals and food and fiber animals. And teaches here at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He’s in the clinic. He is seeing cases. You’re teaching students and you see everything. You see walk in cases, and you see referral cases. (Matt) Right. (Matt) Everything from common to the weird stuff and sometimes working through those can be difficult. And today we’re gonna talk about something that’s extremely common and that’s ringworm. (Matt) Very common and a nemesis for a lot of people, in multiple ways. It’s one of those, you know, ringworm is one of those unfortunate common diseases that have a misleading name in that it’s not a worm. (Dan) Right. (Matt) It’s actually a fungal type organism. And there’s multiple types. So, every species has their own type usually, from cats to dogs to horses to cattle and even small ruminants. So, they all have their own type of this fungus that affects them. They can cross a little bit but for the most part they’re specific to the species. (Dan) Yea. And as I’d mentioned before, I can still remember a young lady coming into the clinic and she had a kitten that had ringworm infection and she said, “The husband says, there’s a fungus among us.” And I said, “Yea it’s not just on the kitten.” It was tracking all the way up her arm. (Matt) Right. (Dan) So, getting the kids away from those animals and your spouse and getting a definite diagnosis is important. (Matt) Yea, so that crossed species, not just between individual animal species that we think of, but people as well. So they can be a zoonotic infection to some degree. (Dan) And you know one of the times that you and I see a lot of these cases is fair time, people wanting to get ’em cleared up and that. And they can prevent an animal from being allowed to show, right? (Matt) Right. So that’s probably one of the common diseases that will get an animal turned around at the door. When we’re checking in animals and we see ringworm, often times it’s something that can’t come in, depends on the regulations. But it’s animal to animal transmission, close contact, but also gets in the environment. So an infected animal that’s rubbing on pens, posts, panels can leave that for the next one to come by and then transmit it that way. So, we worry some about that. (Dan) So, it’s not just an animal to animal, it’s potential animal to people that are just enjoying the fair. (Matt) Sure, right. I mean and some of the food animal species less so to people, but it can be. You know, so that’s a risk as well. So any fomite. (Dan) So, highly contagious? (Matt) Highly contagious. (Dan) OK. So, let’s talk about the clinical signs. Go ahead… (Matt) One thing that I would say, it’s highly contagious but usually it’s the young animals with less of an immune system or animals that it’s contagious but often
times we won’t see every single animal spread through a herd. And there’s some susceptibility there. (Dan) Right. Why do we see those round patches? (Matt) Hair loss. So, it’s a fungus. It’s on the skin. It affects those hair follicles and we lose hair. (Dan) And it starts in the middle and… (Matt) Yep. So, they actually… (Dan) Blossom out. (Matt) So, the actual stuff just blossoms on the edges. (Dan) Well, I’ll be danged. (Matt) And those hair losses can mimic a lot of things and so it’s nice to know some clinical signs to try to get it confirmed as ring worm. (Dan) Well, let’s take a break. And when we come back from messages, we’re gonna talk more about ringworm with Dr. Miesner. And we’re gonna talk about clinical signs and diagnosis. You’re watching Doc Talk and we’re glad that you joined us.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to the show. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Matt Miesner. And we’re at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University where Matt is a veterinarian over in the Ag Practices Section in the Veterinary Health Center. And he is a boarded internal medicine specialist for food and fiber animals. Specifically today we’re talking about ringworm in cattle. Something that maybe is something that is extremely common and not something that we’re gonna get a boarded… (Matt) You don’t need an internist for this. (Dan) For this one, but maybe a dermatologist, but let’s talk about you know, the clinical signs of ringworm and kind of the timing and some of the diagnostics. (Matt) You know, it’s one of those diseases we see often times in young animals and it has to do with immune recognition, so the more immature the immune system is, the more likely they are to come up with clinical signs and then have to fight it off. And the clinical signs are such that we’ll see hair loss or patches of hair that’s lost, but also in cattle it’ll look kinda crusty. And so you can kind of get a crust around the face, the eyes, the head. And probably one of the most common confusions between ringworm and another disease, which will be kind of warts where we’ll see also see papilloma-type things, but they look kind of crusty. They can look pretty similar. But crusty lesions, or hair loss lesions, often times the face head, neck is the most common place that we’ll see ’em right off the bat. (Dan) Well, some of the times, these can be pretty aggressive. (Matt) Right. Oh yea. (Dan) I mean you can see almost like a scaling of the… and a keratosis type of lesions around the head and neck and the warts can be pretty aggressive too. (Matt) Sure. I mean it can just go from one small spot to full blown in an instant and that has to do a lot with the animal’s individual immune system. (Dan) OK. (Matt) So if they’re fighting something else. Maybe early on they were a little bit deprived of immunity. (Dan) Cause I see some of ’em that just have the focal pinpoint lesions and then some of them that just phew… (Matt) Just spreads across. And so one of those other differentials would be lice or mites or mange, you know those other things that maybe that’s what it is, but ringworm looks a lot like all those. And so it can… but then we get into trying to diagnose it and try to figure out which one it is. (Dan) OK. Well, let’s talk about that cause I think that that’s one of the things that you know, a lot of times a producer walks out there and says, “Well it’s got ringworm.” (Matt) Right. (Dan) But we gotta get a diagnosis, get a veterinarian out there. Get a diagnosis so you treat it properly. (Matt) Yea. I mean, we try to do various cultures. The thing about some of the cattle versions of ringworm, it’s a little harder to grow. You know we can take a special medium, we can put these kind of in these mediums to try to grow these ringworm kind of things. A lot of times the diagnosis of ringworm is being sure that we can rule out some of these other things as well. So, biopsies probably not gonna get that extensive in most cases, but more often times it’s actually just trying to get a culture from the hairs. And if we think we’ve got lice or mites, we should be able to see those as well. Warts are kind of their own thing. But trying to rule out a bunch of other things kind of helps us be sure that that’s what it is and then can lead some various therapies that we might go with. (Dan) Anytime of the year? (Matt) Seemed to be a lot times moist, damp times of year, less sunlight. You know one of things that helps get rid of it is drying it out, UV light, those kind of things help with that. So, we do see it a little bit more when you’ve got some humidity and go from there. (Dan) Cool. Well, let’s take a break. When we come from the break we’re gonna talk more about ringworm and how to treat it, with Dr. Matt Miesner.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson and with me today is a friend and colleague Dr. Matt Miesner who is a boarded internal medicine specialist over in the Ag Practices Section here in the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. And we are talking about the common thing of ringworm in cattle. And Matt, you’ve done a great job of talking to us about it being a fungus. About how contagious this is, and how to get a proper diagnosis and we always want to recommend to our folks out there to work with their local veterinarian. Now, let’s get into some of the treatments, because everybody out there that has a show calf, is now grabbing ahold of the side of their TV saying, “I wanna know this year if we get ringworm I’m not gonna be held out.” (Matt) Give me a cure, right. (Dan) Right. (Matt) And when you’ve got the number of treatments that there are, have been proposed for treating ringworm out there is more than you can shake a stick at, right? So, this is where I really encourage you to work with your local veterinarian because different areas of the country and different veterinarians have things that work for them. And often times they’re trying to reduce the length of time that you’re having problems with it. But there’s various topical things that work that we try. Like we mentioned earlier it’s nice to get ’em out in the sun, get it to dry out. Get some UV light on it. Topical soaps, scrubs, iodines. Things that
aren’t necessarily gonna create other problems for showing cattle, stains and colors, we’ve talked about topical copper tox, which is a copper sulfate but it turns ’em green so that doesn’t really help out a lot. Alcohols, things that can happen. Then you get into some of the systemic drugs. There is a drug called griseofulvin. Often times it’s cost prohibitive in most cases. And then it also has to be produced in a legal manner today. And to be compounded it has to go through set flow to get that drug approved. And then to put it into cattle. And that’s something that your veterinarian can help you out with as well. But it’s expensive. (Dan) What about the withdrawal on those? Can it be extended? (Matt) It can be extended and there’s some documentation out there or places that we can call to get the current recommendations for withdrawal times as well on that. You know sometimes this kinda goes really wild and we talk about more of the systemic drugs and we get it approved, we make sure it’s gonna be absorbed. We get it the right way. (Dan) And I think it’s important than when you call are looking at treatments, I understand that we want to get these animals into the show and when we start to talk about some of these types of treatments I’m almost always… we’re talking about a show animal that we’re trying to get ready. But you know, what we’re showing to the public and what we’re representing to the public it is important that we follow the rules and that we do the things that are right. (Matt) Right, exactly. Anything else on treatment? (Matt) Well, like I say topicals are pretty safe, I mean, but like I say there’s just so many that I’ve heard out there, and some are actually on the illegal side which you’re talking about chemicals and various solvents that may not be exactly approved. And that kind of goes with animal health. (Dan) Yep. Well we’re gonna take a break. When we come back we’re gonna talk with Dr. Miesner about how long it takes for these lesions to resolve. We’ll talk a little bit more about ringworm and we’ll wrap up the show. We appreciate you watching. We’ll see more right after the break.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Matt Miesner. We’re from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine where Dr. Miesner is a boarded internal medicine specialist for food and fiber animals and a veterinarian. Doing a lot of teaching, research, clinical service here at K-State and we’re glad to have him on the show talking about ringworm. And when we talk about ringworm, you know the one thing is is- OK Doc, I’ve got the cow in here, got ringworm, the show’s next week, we gotta rid of this. (Matt) Right. Tough. And that most of the time, it’s gonna take ’em three to four weeks to kind of get it under control before you can really get it stopped and sometimes it takes months, two to four months. And so I think a lot of times we’re trying to stop each individual lesion so I would recommend getting some of those topical soaps or iodines to try to get it shut down at the source. And you know it’s starting to resolve when you start to see hair kind of come back into that area. Kinda stubs of hair, especially around the edges. But it’s nice to be vigilant about observing these things early on because when you get down to a week or so before the show, you’re gonna have a hard time getting it shut down. (Dan) Is there anything that you can put down in the environment you know as far as if you’re gonna have show cattle in there next year, is there anything we can do? Cause I know like in my garden, I’m just so used to the example of the fungus on my tomatoes. I just can’t plant tomatoes there anymore, because it comes right back every year. (Matt) Comes back every year. Yea, and it’s hard. It hides in nooks and crannies and it can be an issue. I mean topical, dilute bleaches and those kind of environmental treatments can be effective to reduce the overall concentration of it. And so it’s good to keep things clean. And it’s just general cleaning would be the big thing on keeping it… limiting it in a herd. So, those would be things to kind of look at. (Dan) So, we’ve got about a minute left here. Let’s go through our checklist on ringworm. (Matt) So, not a worm, it’s a fungus. It’s one of those that affects the hair in a similar manner to lice, mites, warts. Can look crusty, so we try to recognize it early on. Usually affects the younger animals a little bit earlier on. And it has to do more with immune system. And then treatments, they vary when we look at the treatment, time to cure with the treatment, it’s usually pretty similar to when it was gonna resolve anyway, that one to four months. But it’s not wrong to treat, to try to limit some of that concentration of the fungus from spreading. So, I think that’s a good thing. Then there’s some legal and less than desirable treatments that we can do. But in the end I still think, talk to your vet and see what works in that area. Cause there’s various species of it and go from there. (Dan) Cool. Well thanks for being on the show today. (Matt) Glad to be here. (Dan) Thanks for watching Doc Talk. Remember if you want to know more about what Dr. Miesner and I do here at Kansas State University you can find us on the web at www.vet.ksu.edu. Remember always work with your local veterinarian. Thanks for watching Doc Talk today. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson. And I’ll see you down the road.
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