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Thread: How badly infectious is ringworm?

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    Cavy Slave
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    Question How badly infectious is ringworm?

    I used Virkon several times on a hutch that a guinea pig lived in with ringworm before putting other guinea pigs in, but they still got it even though I scrubbed and got into all the cracks and corners like the forum I read said to.

    My question is, you hear that ringworm is contagious, but how badly contagious?
    I know all the things you need to do, like keeping them separate, but so that I can get an idea, what is one of the most minimal things that you could do that could still cause ringworm?

    For example, last night I had to put some rubbish in my big outdoor bin. My sleeves touched the bin, which had waste in it (in a bag) from the hutch of my guinea pigs with ringworm. Then when I went back to my guinea pigs (the ones that don't have ringworm, as I always do them first) and continued looking after them. Are there going to be spores or something on my sleeves from them touching the bin that I had guinea pig waste in? And did I possibly pass ringworm to my non-ringworm guinea pigs?
    Another thing that I did was cut an apple with my knife for my sister's rabbits, then wipe the blade on my sleeve (which had touched the bin) and then cut my carrots for my guinea pigs. Are they likely to get ringworm from that?
    Finally we did a deep cleanse using Virkon of my other hutches (my 'clean' guinea pigs) but using a bucket that I used about four months ago with other guinea pigs with ringworm. Are they likely to get ill from their hutches now?

    I just need to know because I don't know if I am doing enough to prevent ringworm spreading or if I need to do more.

    Thank you.

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    Cavy Slave Soecara's Avatar
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    Re: How badly infectious is ringworm?

    There are a few different kinds of fungus that can cause ringworm, I believe there are three common kinds of fungus that cause it, and all have varying levels of contagiousness. Overall I would class ringworm as typically moderately infectious, it is not uncommon for an individual to not contract it even if there is fairly high exposure to it. However with all infectious illnesses the risk of an individual contracting it is very greatly dependent on their individual immune system. Typically with fungal infections I chose not to separate the infected pig from their cage mate(s), as by the time symptoms show all of the pigs in that cage have already been thoroughly exposed so it is reasonable to consider the whole herd/pair infected, and the stress of separation can further weaken the immune system.

    One thing you certainly should consider, given you said his cage was a hutch which are typically made of wood, is how easily fungal spores penetrate into wood and given the said wood is an entire hutch it would render it practically impossible to effectively remove the spores. All practical ways of cleansing a wooden item of that size would only affect spores on the surface level not those deep within the wood. Also keep in mind, I don't know if your guinea pigs are housed inside or outside but regardless, exposure to varying weather temperatures and draft can also weaken the immune system.
    Last edited by Soecara; 08-11-16 at 08:47 am.

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    Cavy Slave pigtales's Avatar
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    Re: How badly infectious is ringworm?

    I don't think it's very likely to have spread through the actions you are describing, but I suppose it is still possible. Ringworm fungus is persistent stuff, so you really have to be sure you're getting everything sanitized, even hard surfaces and clothing that you wear. If you handle one guinea pig with ringworm and then another uninfected pig spores can transfer on your clothing. As typical routine I always add vinegar in every load of wash to eliminate any spores. Clothing, guinea pig fleece, etc. Also, any wooden toys should really be tossed since they can't be effectively cleaned, and others cleaned and sanitized in the same manner.

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