Ringworm, is not actually a worm. It is a type of mold-like-fungus that is commonly found on skin, nails, and hair. It can be contracted simply by walking around barefoot, and transmitted by touch. This is why washing your hands before and after handling your pets is important, to protect both of you.
Signs of ringworm infections on chinchillas are patches of missing fur, with pink to red irritated skin, that may be raised slightly, accompanied with flaky yellow to brown skin patches. You may also notice your pet itching vigorously at the spot, causing more irritation and possibly even sores!
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Ringworm is almost always present, but our immune systems do a good job at suppressing it. In Chinchillas, a move or small change in environment can cause enough stress to lower the immune system which could cause an outbreak.
How do you treat ringworm? Well, because we are not vets, the first bit of advice I'd like to share with you is to contact your vet. A good Exotic vet will know enough about chinchillas to swab the area and know exactly what is wrong with your pet. That being said, Ringworm is easily treated at home.
We treat ringworm with a combination of Blu Kote and Tinactin Anti fungal Foot Powder. Blu Kote is a fast-drying antiseptic wound dressing and is effective against pus-producing bacteria, common fungus infections and ringworm. Tinactin powder has tolnaftate as an active ingredient which is used to treat ringworm. The powder form us used to dust the animal.
How we treat ringworm:
First, We remove and throw out all wooden items in the cage. I know many would be reluctant due to cost, but because wood is porous, you will never get rid of the ringworm if you do not remove and replace contaminated items once you're finished treating your pet. Clean the cage VERY well every other day with vinegar and water. Do a 50/50 mix.
For the animal, we coat the affected area with Blu Kote. Common break out spots are the nose, mouth, ears, genitals , and eyes due to the moisture. Ringworm loves wet and warm places. We cote the affected area, and about 1/2" out from it. DO NOT put Blu kote directly in the eyes, mouth, nose or genitals . Re-apply once every other day for 4 weeks, or until you see the hair regrowth.
In addition to this, we also mix 1 cup bathing dust with 3TBS of Tinactin powder. We leave this in the cage so the chin can bathe frequently in the mixture. We also apply Tinactin powder directly behind the ears, in the arm pits, and leg pits of the animal. This is so areas that normally are not dusted well get a dose too.