Ringworm is a contagious infection, not the worm pet owners imagine as their veterinarian diagnoses it. Touching a contaminated surface or affected animals or humans is all it takes. Since veterinary clinics risk major breakouts when one or more animals come in, implementing a ringworm cleaning protocol could be crucial.

With careful mechanical cleaning methods for ringworm, you can sanitize even heavily exposed items in your veterinary practice. Below are some tips on a standardized protocol for removing ringworm contamination from your facility.

Understanding Ringworm in Veterinary Settings

Ringworm is a dermatophyte, a type of fungi. As a fungal infection, ringworm affects the skin, hair, and nails in animals or humans. Early detection and prompt treatment is the only way to safeguard veterinary settings.

Ringworm in Animals

What are the primary symptoms of ringworm in animals?

  • Circular, scaly patches of hair loss.
  • Red or gray crusty spots.
  • Itching and scratching.
  • Brittle or broken hair.
  • Inflammation.


Ringworm in Humans

Ringworm symptoms in humans include the following:

  • Red, circular, itchy patches with raised, scaly borders.
  • Blisters or pustules on the edges of the patches.
  • Itchy, flaky scalp.
  • Brittle or discolored nails (if infected).

Essential Steps in a Ringworm Cleaning Protocol

How do I clean my house after ringworm? Veterinarians frequently hear similar questions from concerned pet owners. Fortunately, the same advice applies to households as to veterinary practices–clean carefully in every nook and cranny of the property!

Is there a potential ringworm outbreak at your vet clinic? Treat all infected and carrier animals quickly using the ringworm cleaning protocol below:

Initial Ringworm Assessment and Isolation

Before any mechanical cleaning steps, veterinary staff must identify and isolate the infected animals to prevent the further spread of ringworm spores. If you keep affected animals coupled with other pets, you risk widespread contamination. 

Once you’ve located all infected cats or dogs (by looking for symptoms like ringworm lesions), note potential contact surfaces such as cages, feeding areas, and exam tables. Such environments require mechanical removal of debris followed by an effective disinfectant.

Cleaning and Disinfecting the Environment: What Disinfectant Kills Ringworm?

Eliminating ringworm from a typical shelter or vet clinic can be quite challenging as the fungus may spread anywhere the infected or carrier animals shed hair, including carpets, air vents, hair brushes, furnace filters, cluttered surfaces, and more.

So, what disinfectant kills ringworm? One of the more readily available and effective cleaning compounds for the environmental decontamination of ringworm is household bleach (used at 1:10 to 1:100 concentration). This works to kill ringworm on hard surfaces, but it’s important to be thorough.

What cleaning supplies kill ringworm? Regardless of the product, effective environmental decontamination requires the following steps:

  • Mechanical removal: You will first physically remove debris in possibly contaminated areas and discard heavily exposed items. A Swiffer swab method could collect pet hair. Vets might also hire commercial steam cleaning or replace carpets entirely.
  • Disinfection: Next, disinfect the pre-cleaned surfaces using bleach, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite, quaternary ammonium, or another disinfectant option.
  • Testing fungal cultures: Finally, collect environmental cultures for a fungal culture plate. If spores show up, continue the environmental decontamination process until everything comes up clean.


Recommended Ringworm Disinfectants

Does Lysol spray kill ringworm spores? Do Clorox wipes kill ringworm? 

You may see various cleaning compounds for ringworm besides concentrated bleach, such as:

  • Virkon-S® (laundry detergent and peroxide-based product)
  • Peroxigard® (a form of accelerated hydrogen peroxide)
  • Steroclenz (rapid antibacterial spray)
  • Clorox Cleanup (bleach and sodium hypochlorite blend)
  • Formula 409® (disinfectant containing quaternary ammonium)


Handling Contaminated Materials With Careful Mechanical Cleaning

As part of your ringworm cleaning protocol, here are a few expert tips for handling contaminated materials:

  • Vacuum and scrub infected bedding, toys, and brushes.
  • Use clothes dryers, commercial dishwashers, or commercial steam applicators for heat destruction.
  • Toss items you cannot properly clean.
  • Air vents need a bit of elbow grease.

Use Personal Protective Equipment as You Wipe Possibly Contaminated Surfaces

When using any harsh disinfectants, there are two important considerations: PPE and correct use of chemicals. Follow the recommendations for wearing a mask, gloves, and eye protection, as well as getting the appropriate dilution ratio. Instructions are also crucial since substances like bleach require a prolonged contact time to treat infected surfaces.

Best Practices for Ongoing Prevention

The ongoing prevention of ringworm is possible through routine cleaning schedules. Going forward, vets will want to keep mechanically cleaned cages and maintenance that includes: 

  • Clearing cluttered surfaces.
  • Regular vacuuming.
  • Routine disinfecting. 


Ringworm awareness also includes health checks on things like animal and human lesions to catch outbreaks before they spread.

Weave’s Solutions for Effective Practice Management

For growing businesses wanting to avoid ringworm health and safety complications, veterinary practice management experts like Weave also recommend a comprehensive communication platform. For example:

Streamlining Communication

Weave’s phone system instantly connects staff with clients, which could mitigate the fallout of larger ringworm outbreaks.

Automated Reminders and Scheduling

Weave’s appointment reminders and online scheduling software free up staff to focus on facility cleanliness and efficiency.

Enhancing Client Interaction

Weave’s communication tools span everything from reviews and digital forms to payments, enhancing client experiences.

Marketing and Engagement

Weave’s email marketing keeps your veterinary practice’s clients informed. With one click, you can even share ringworm disinfection protocols for hydrogen peroxide or quaternary ammonium!

Stay Connected and Efficient With Weave

How robust is your practice’s ringworm cleaning protocol? Get a demo to see how Weave could help protect and streamline your veterinary practice.

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