The good new is, ringworm is not fatal. The bad news is, its really annoying and can be difficult to get rid of.

Contrary to what the name suggests, ringworm is not a worm or a parasite of any kind. It is a highly contagious fungal infection, which affects the skin of chinchillas. The name actually comes from the ring it forms when it appears on humans.

Ringworm can affect any animal or human, which means you can catch this from your chin. It is rare that a chin does infect a human, but its better to be safe then sorry.  For this reason, it is imperative that if you know you have ringworm in your herd, you follow a VERY strict routine of washing and rewashing hands and any equipment that may be moved between cages. In fact, NO equipment should be shared between cages until the infection is under control.

Ringworm can be airborne, especially given the amount of dust flying around most chin rooms. For this reason, it is extremely important that any chin that definitely has ringworm be moved to another room from the rest of the herd. Do not ever share dust between known ringworm chins and other chins.

Because ringworm affects the skin, it may not show on a chin for a very long time. This is just one of the reasons that quarantining new chins to your herd is so very important.

Once it does start to show, it will show as dry, flaky skin and missing fur, usually starting around the mouth, ears, feet and genital areas.
The two treatments that I have seen suggested most often for ringworm are:

Treat the area with Lamisil AT in cream form for 10 to 20 days.
Putting 1 teaspoon of Tinactin foot powder per cup of dust in the chinís dust bath. Do this for 6 weeks to be certain all spores are gone.

In fact, I treat any new chins coming into our home with dust that has Tinactin foot powder in it for the duration of their quarantine period, just to be safe. I feel that prevention is definitely the best medicine in this case.

In either case, throw the dust out regularly and WASH YOUR HANDS.

Remember to clean the cage with a 10/90 bleach/water solution, throw out any wood that has been exposed to the affected chins, and vacuum the area daily.

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