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Avian Influenza
A study of the H5N1 virus

--general info and chapters
--full document (pdf)

Superficial Dermatitis

--general info

Malassezia pachydermatis
--general info

Mud Fever
D. congolensis

--general info

MRSA in Pets
Methicillin Resistant
Staphylococcus aureus

--MRSA Research
--Newspaper clip

--Press Release

Anti-microbial research applications
--health benefits
--background info
--Press Release


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Equine cutaneous microflora
Normal resident bacteria
--general info

Equine gut microflora
--general info















Veterinary Microbiology

"University of Lincoln - Anti-microbial products for companion animals"

The problem
Equines and indeed many other companion animals can suffer from the disease called Ringworm. Contrary to what the name suggests this skin disease is caused by a fungus. Ringworm is a highly contagious skin disease, which means that it can be transmitted though direct (e.g. animal-animal) and indirect (e.g. rug-animal) contact. Moreover, it is also known as a zoonotic disease and can, therefore, infect humans as well.
Though ringworm is not considered a "serious" disease it does fill most horse owners with dread. It can easily spread through an entire; it is able to infect staff and owners and it is likely to prevent the normal every day use of the horse. It can affect horses of all breeds and ages and can readily be transmitted to dogs and cats as well as their owners.

The disease
The main fungal species that causes ringworm in horses is Trichophyton equinum. Infection with Microsporum species is less common but still highly contagious. The disease is mainly transmitted through contact with infected horses or contaminated equipment, transferring the skin cells and spores to the next victim. The presence of skin abrasions, however subtle, will strongly increase the chance of getting infected with ringworm. As a result, areas subject to skin friction (e.g. girth, bridle) are particularly at risk. Biting insects can also contribute to the spread of ringworm.
The symptoms usually start with patches of raised hairs in a circular (ring) pattern. The hairs give way easily when plucked and hair loss follows, leaving a silvery scaling of the underlying skin. The lesions are only pruritic (itchy) in the early stages of the disease but can remain sensitive to the touch for longer periods. The initial ringworm lesions can spread outwards to cover large areas of the body, if no appropriate measures are taken.
The disease usually resolves spontaneously within 6-12 weeks, but the fungal spores that have contaminated the stable environment and equipment may persist for years.

The treatment
Though it may resolve spontaneously, treatment can decrease the severity of symptoms and limit the spread of infection on the animal and between animals. It does, however, not necessarily shorten the healing time. Treatment is usually in the form of medicated (fungicidal) washes to kill the fungus on the horse. Oral treatment is also available but with varying results and is unlikely to reduce the spread of infection.

The prevention
As no treatment actually shortens the healing time of ringworm, prevention is key in order to avoid an outbreak on a yard. Vaccinations are becoming more widely available as research into these continues. However, results are variable and the process of repeated boosters may not be practical or economical.
Maintaining hygienic work practices is key to preventing a ringworm outbreak on an equine yard. These practices help to minimise the chance of environmental contamination. If an outbreak should occur then control of the outbreak is through prevention of the spread between horses. Anti-fungal drugs and fungicidal washes will treat the fungus on the horse, whilst disinfection of the stable environment and equipment will limit indirect transmission.

The alternative -prevention-
One of the main environmental sources of ringworm is the contaminated rug. A horse rug by its very nature comes into contact with horse skin, stable floor, bedding, equipment etc. Irrespective of whether the horse shows symptoms of ringworm, the rug may have picked up spores and may remain contaminated indefinitely. Daily washing of horse rugs would be advisable but totally unpractical.
An alternative would be to prevent the fungus from persisting in the rug in the first place. By incorporating an antifungal fibre within the rug material, Equimed is able to limit the contamination of the rug. The active compound, Tolnaftate, will help prevent the persistence of the fungus within the rug. The Equimed rug will create an anti-fungal environment whilst on or off the horse and can help protect against ringworm.

The products
The "anti-ringworm" fibre can be integrated into any fabric without affecting the function of the garment. As a result Equimed has successfully incorporated the fibre in a state of the art range of horse products. So far these include stable rugs, turnout rugs, coolers, numnahs and saddlecloths.

The fibre (AmicorTM) consists of the anti-microbial core surrounded by a semi permeable acrylic sheath. This allows the anti-fungal action to permeate out and continuously replenish the surface of the fibres. Due to the built in activity, textiles containing this fibre do not have to be re-impregnated or treated in any way to maintain their antifungal activity. The products can be washed as frequently as desired without losing its "anti-ringworm" activity. It also includes a mild anti-bacterial activity, which helps reduce bacterial contamination and odour production.

The proof
Extensive research has been carried out to demonstrate that the Equimed textile is effective against ringworm. Trials were carried out with ringworm organisms Trichophyton equinum and Microsporum canis. The results demonstrated clearly the antifungal inhibition against these ringworm-causing organisms in-vitro.

Not just for ringworm. Equimed textile has shown effectiveness against:

  • Bacterial contamination (including MRSA)
  • Fungal contamination

    as a result these products can:
  • Help protect you and your cat, dog or horse against ringworm infection
  • Help protect your cat or dog against Malassezia yeast infection
  • Help protect your cat, dog or horse against dust mite allergies
  • Help reduce bacterial and fungal odour production
  • Help reduce wound contamination

If you need more details, require some Medibed or wish to participate in reseach, feel free to contact


More Related Research and Anti-microbial Products