Club Lamb Fungus



From: Tim Barnes Ohio Extension Educator


Ovine dermatophytosis, lumpy wool, sheep ringworm, woolrot, was first recognized in the late 1980’s. It occurs most commonly in sheep exhibited at fairs and other shows. The disease is contagious to humans and other animals.

Cause of the Disease

Disease occurs when the fungus, a Trichophyton, invades the skin and hair follicles. Similar fungi cause ringworm in humans, cattle, horses, dogs, cats, and other animals. Nicks and cuts from shearing, handling, or environmental hazards allow the fungus to enter the skin. Slick shearing, repetitive washing, and stress make animals more susceptible to infection. Washing removes protective oils (primarily lanolin) that are part of the animal’s natural defenses against fungal infection. Long or frequent travel, shows, and changes in diet are stressful and reduce the animals immunity and resistance to disease.

Spread of the Disease

The spread of disease occurs mostly at shows, sales, and exhibitions. Susceptible lambs are infected by contact with other lambs, contaminated equipment, surroundings (pens, stalls, etc.), and humans. Trichophyton spores can survive several years on animals and in the environment – in barns, trucks, trailers, tack, grooming tools, wool, feeders, and in bedding, soil, and manure. Spores resist destruction, particularly if lodged in cracks or hidden from direct sunlight. Shearing equipment is very important in spreading disease between sheep. Humans can be infected from contact with the fungus on the sheep. If human infection is suspected, contact a physician and inform them that there has been contacted with infected sheep.

Diagnosing the Disease

It is much easier to identify the disease in shorn sheep. Lesions can appear anywhere, but are most common on the head, neck, and back. The skin is initially thick, red, and “weeping,” and later, there is the appearance of crusty and scaly skin, and usually in circular lesions. Sometimes the wool appears “clumped,” as well. Hairs break easily and are usually lost beginning in the center of the lesion. The “spots” are first seen in 4-8 weeks and the infection usually heals spontaneously in 8-16 weeks. Hair may regrow black in the affected areas. All stages of the fungal infection are contagious until the skin surface appears normal and growth of hair or wool has begun.

Culturing the Trichophyton species confirms the diagnosis. However, a presumptive diagnosis is based on clinical signs and history. Secondary bacterial infections often contaminate cultures because the lesions are open and exposed to the environment. Contact your veterinarian for proper diagnostic procedures.

Treatment of the Disease

There is no specific treatment for club lamb fungus. Antifungal medications inhibit fungal growth and reduce the spread of infection. Using antifungal medication in sheep is considered an extra-label drug use and requires a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship. Most cases of club lamb fungus recover over time if give the proper nutrition, rest, and appropriate treatment.

Prevention and Control

 Clean facilities and equipment with antifungal disinfectants.

 Keep facilities free of sharp edges and exposed wires.

 Minimize stress on animals.

 Use separate equipment for each lamb.

 Isolate infected animals.

 Wear rubber gloves and long sleeves when handling infected animals.

 Use different equipment and clothes for infected and non-infected animals.


Source: California Department of Food and Agriculture May 2016

Use of CIDRs in Sheep

Use of CIDRs in Sheep

Tim Barnes Ohio Extension Educator

The use of the CIDR has shown to be an effective tool for many producers in the purebred sheep industry.  It has allowed flocks to condense lambing into shorter periods of time and also moved the lambing period into the old traditional “Out of Season” lambing periods.

A CIDR, a T-shaped nylon insert molded with silicone rubber skin containing progesterone that’s released at a controlled rate into the bloodstream after insertion; sheep CIDRs contain 0.3g progesterone per insert.  Progesterone is released from the skin of the insert, causing the ewes blood progesterone concentrations to increase rapidly; maximum concentrations are reached within an hour after insertion. After CIDR removal, a rapid drop in concentration of systemic progesterone occurs, thus promoting a synchronized estrus effect within the flock, allowing for natural or AI to take place.

The wings of the CIDR fold together for intravaginal insertion.  Once inserted, the wings return to their original T-shape and apply pressure to the vaginal walls, thereby holding the CIDR in place.  CIDR are removed by simply pulling the plastic tail protruding from the vulva.

To insert a CIDR, first restrain the animal and then clean the area of the vulva thoroughly.  Put the body of the insert into the applicator, with the plastic tail in the slot.  Apply lubricant to the tip of the insert and position the insert with the tail on the underside of the applicator, curling down.  Open the labia and slide the applicator in at a slight upward angle, then depress the plunge and withdraw the applicator slowly.  To remove, pull gently on the tail and dispose properly.

Sheep CIDRs are available from most livestock supply providers and come in a protected minimum bag of twenty.  Extra CIDRs may be repackaged and frozen to use at a later date.  One CIDR cost about the price of a full breakfast meal at a fast food restaurant.  A special applicator is a one time cost.

We have learned that CIDRs are effective in mature ewes in good body condition that are not lactating and have been isolated from a ram for at least a month for best results.  The ewe ram ratio of 18:1 is recommended when using CIDRs.

REMEMBER STRESS DECREASES FERTILITY.  During the six weeks before mating and five weeks after, avoid transport, rough handling, and abrupt changes in diet or location. Hauling the day of the breeding is the only acceptable transportation time.