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Favus

Dermatophytosis, Dermatomycosis, Avian Ringworm

Overview


Dermatophytosis (ringworm), also referred to as favus, is a contagious fungal skin infection caused by dermatophytes. Dermatophytes are a specific group of fungi that produce enzymes called keratinases (known to break down the protective barriers of the outer layer of host's skin), allowing itself entry to establish infection. There are several different species and strains of dermatophytes, therefore the type and severity of the infection differs from chicken to chicken. However, chickens are primarily infected by Microsporum gallinae, which is widespread in poultry, with backyard, hobby, or game flocks of chickens being the most susceptible.

Early signs of favus in chickens is the presence of dry, white, scaly or powdery-like deposits on the comb. During later stages it may spread to other areas, such as the face, wattles, and possibly even the feathered parts of the skin.

Transmission
Dermatophytes are transmitted to chickens through direct or indirect contact with skin of other infected birds, animals, insects, people, soil, or fomites (equipment, objects, clothes, etc.).

Incubation Period
The incubation period varies from several days to a couple weeks.

Clinical Signs

White powdery comb/wattles
Progressive feather loss
White, flaky, thickened skin along the head and neck

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Skin Culture

Treatment

NameSummary
Supportive careIsolate the bird from the flock and place in a safe, comfortable, warm location (your own chicken "intensive care unit") with easy access to water and food. Limit stress. Call your veterinarian.
Miconazole NitrateApplied topically, twice a day until it clears up.
Gloves should be used since favus can also infect humans and other animals
K Marx

Prevention

Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Poor sanitary practices
  • Recent introduction of a new bird into the flock.