The perils of "hired help" . . . - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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The perils of "hired help" . . .

The other month we took on a 17 year old lad who wanted a few weeks paid work experience on a farm (I'll call him "K"). Now K came from three generations of cattle farming stock and really knew his stuff, or so we thought. We gave him the usual Health & Safety tour of the place and a set of boots and overalls to be worn when on site (to reduce the risk of disease from outside vectors).

Well, he was fabulous! Punctual, hard-working, a regular ray of sunshine! He impressed the boss so much that he was soon given full responsibility for his own group of youngstock.

Now we've got very friendly animals and it wasn't long before K was hugging and petting the boldest steers, letting them rub up against his chest, etc. Fast forward a few weeks and it was noticed that all the favourite characters from K's group had suddenly developed lesions on their heads, not that K had chosen to let us know. Yes folks, it was ringworm.

Whilst it may be a relatively common infection, we are a closed herd and pretty isolated up here, so where was the point of origin? Turns out that, instead of changing clothes as instructed, K had been going home in his work gear, tending to his family's cattle and then pitching up here next morning in the same overalls, day after day. Further investigation revealed that his home animals were currently rife with ringworm.

K has moved on to pastures new. However, his legacy lives on. Last week I noticed that Samson's forelock had started to fall out. Then I found a round patch of hair loss on his left cheek. The vet has confirmed that he, too, has ringworm. In addition to topical ointment for the lesions, she has advised me to bathe ALL the horses every 3 days in medicated shampoo.

Well, thanks a lot K, the fungal equivalent of Typhoid Mary!

Scabby Samson:

Cheek lesion on its way:

Waiting anxiously for his bath:

Hang on a minute, what's that on the dog's muzzle?:
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post #2 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 03:25 PM
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I remember a friend of mine bringing it to her home on some calves she had purchased. Not sure if they still make it but I think it was called Blu-Kote. Smelled heavily of alcohol and was deep purple blue from gentian violet. Couple applications cleared it up but the stain lasted as long as the skin cells lasted. The calves had purple spots, the dogs had purple spots, the horses had purple spots and even a few suspect spots on her two boys got the purple treatment. Any patch of flaky skin was suspect and dyed purple for about 2 wks. Kind of overkill but I suspect she was having fun dyeing her flaky sister in law's horse purple across his bald face and paint splotches.
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 03:55 PM
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This is terrible, I'm sorry, but your telling was pretty hilarious :)

"...and may your life be filled with good horses." Buck Brannaman

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post #4 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 04:54 PM
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Poor animals, but at least you can get it under control in time!
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #5 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 05:11 PM
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oh your poor animals. We constantly get horses with it at work. I always feel so bad cause it looks horrible and they always end up a little more isolated in an effort to stop it spreading. I'm always extra careful to not take it home to my own pets.
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My two horse Apache and Sammy are my world
along with our dogs Patch and Bear.
But I will always love you Jimmy R.I.P
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post #6 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 05:15 PM
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How long does it take to get Ringworm under control?
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post #7 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 06:14 PM
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Oh, what a bother!

I would guess most people don't understand how important infection control is. And, without a lot of coaching, don't have the character and will to follow good practice.

Will this affect your ability to sell animals in the near future? I imagine it would. Do you have to report this and then have that attached to your herd?
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post #8 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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^^^ I'll let you know in due course, Zexious !
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post #9 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Boots, thankfully it's not a condition that requires us to notify the relevant authorities. The cattle that caught it were young but are in good health, aside from this, and most have already started regrowing hair in the bald spots. They won't be sold until next spring. Got to count our blessings, I guess!
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post #10 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 09:22 PM
Green Broke
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It sounds like a mistake on his part. I don't always change clothes when I handle the horses at work, at the place where I volunteer or at home. It is not a requirement, and in all my years of working with horses no one has ever mentioned it to me!

I think firing him was a bit harsh. I would be making him be the one to treat it. That may have left a more lasting impression than firing him.

Around here, I would much rather have someone who treats my animals well, then end up with someone who cuts corners, doesn't do their job right, and needs supervision. Too many rough people around here who don't treat their animals right.

I hope you at least explained why you were letting him go!
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