A zoonotic case of ringworm
This rabbit was brought for vaccination. During the clinical examination, a patch of hair loss and scaly skin was seen on the rabbit’s nose and was brought to the owner's attention. The owner said that she had noticed the area and believed it was because the fur was rubbed off when the rabbit squeezed through a small space somewhere in the garden
The lesions on the nose looked typical of ringworm but it was a puzzling case because the rabbit had lived on her own since her companion died. She hadn't been out of the house and garden There were no other pets in the household so it was difficult to know how she had become infected.
At this point, the owner commented that she was also suffering from a skin condition. She had a sore, itchy area on her finger that her doctor was testing for ringworm.
It transpired that the rabbit’s owner also fostered sick hedgehogs and although her rabbit had no direct contact with the hedgehogs, they shared the same garden and the same owner. The lesion on the rabbit was treated with clotrimazole cream. Coincidentally, the owner received the same treatment from her doctor. Both recovered well
An example of a zoonotic infection
Ringworm is not a ‘worm’ but a fungal infection that can cause circular rings of inflamed scaly skin. There are many types that affect different species of animals. Cross infection can occur by direct contact or by shared objects such as cage bars or other objects that infected animals rub against. Hedgehogs often carry ringworm and catching the infection from them is one of the hazards of handling them. This hedgehog has lesions on its nose. Luckily, the infection is usually easy to treat in humans and rabbits if it is diagnosed and treated appropriately.