ANDERSON – It’s just one of those pesky realities of life, and lately, it’s the Madison County Humane Society’s turn. The shelter has been coping with ringworm, a fungal infection that affects the skin. Ringworm spreads easily, so the shelter closed its doors as soon as the problem was discovered.
“It is very contagious and it goes very quickly,” said Humane Society director Susan Schieve. “We have no idea where it came from.”Despite its name, there is no worm involved with ringworm. Dr. Allan Baker of Chesterfield Animal Hospital explained that ringworm is actually a fungal infection evidenced by circular, reddish lesions on the skin. He noted that cats can be carriers without exhibiting any lesions. The infection can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa.
“Our animals started showing spots. Employees started showing spots,” said Lauren Caldwell, co-manager of the nonprofit facility. The shelter closed its doors July 12.Although the doors are closed, there’s plenty going on inside.“We washed every single animal,” said Schieve. Every lesion is treated and covered. Animals are not being allowed to come into contact with each other. The facility itself is getting completely wiped down with bleach.“We’re cleaning every crack and every crevice we can get to,” said Caldwell. “We’ve even bleached all the outyards,” said Schieve. She noted that it’s routine to wash the bedding every day anyway. “We are extremely clean.”Although the shelter is keeping the problem contained, the infection still managed to spread to most of the dogs, and many of the cats housed there. The shelter is currently housing 41 dogs and 73 cats, and none are being released for adoption until the problem is cleared up.The infection has an incubation period of about 10 to 14 daysDespite all their best efforts, all but one of the eight full-time staff members got the infection as well.