Rosie is a little guinea pig that the owner had recently bought from a petshop. Within a week of getting her, she had started to scratch and develop sores as well as go off her food. The commonest reason for this in guinea pigs is a form of mange which is activated when the guinea pig is stressed (like when moving to a new home), so we started treatment for this. Although Rosie did improve a bit the number of sores multiplied so we took soime skin samples which revealed she had ringworm.
Despite its name, ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin and not a worm at all. It is called ringworm because on people the infection forms a ring on the skin which looks a bit like an curled up earthworm! Ringworm, or dermatophytosis, is caught from spores from an infected animal. These spores can last for many months in the soil or in straw or on fences etc. Ringworm actually infects the hair and will infect any haired animal, horses, cattle, mice, cats, dogs and people for example. One of the problems particularly in cats, is they can be infected without showing any symptoms at all, although the classic pattern on a cat is circles of hair loss which look as if they have cigarette ash on them.
Anyway, after treatment Rosie showed marked improvement and is now a large, happy and furry guinea pig!