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Ringworm

Other Names: Favus, Dermatophytosis, Avian Ringworm

Ringworm, also referred to as favus, is a fungal skin infection caused by a fungus--or more specifically a group of fungi called dermatophytes. The most common dermatophyte species that infect chickens are Microsporum gallinae and Trichophyton megini.

Affected chickens may initially develop white, powdery spots and wrinkled crusts with scabs along their comb and wattles. As the infection progresses, the fungus will start to spread to other areas of their head, causing the skin to thicken and appear crusty and scaly. In long-standing or severe cases it may result in permanent damage to their beak and eyelids.

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.).

Ringworm Treatment


Ringworm is usually successfully treated using basic over-the-counter topical fungicidal medications. The medication may be in the form of a powder, ointment, or cream. It’s applied directly to the affected areas of the bird.

Clinical Signs

White powdery comb and/or wattles
Thickened, crusty skin around head

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Cytology

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.
MiconazoleApplied topically, twice a day until the infection clears up.
Povidone iodineApplied topically once a day until the condition clears.
EnilconazoleApplied topically until the infection clears.

Support

Prevention

Biosecurity - Quarantine new birds before adding them to your flock.

Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Living in damp or humid regions