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: sam1.jpg
Cheek lesion on its way: lesion.jpg
Waiting anxiously for his bath: bath.jpg
Hang on a minute, what's that on the dog's muzzle?: Paddy.jpg