How to prevent fungus in your lambs

By: Cooper Newcomb, National Sheep Support Specialist

July 2019

Fungus. The very word is enough to make any exhibitor cringe. So, how do we control and prevent this issue — and, better yet, what causes it? There are numerous schools of thought on methods of control and prevention, but while some of these ideas are great, others should simply stay in the tack box.

Major contributors

Stress can promote the development of fungus, especially when we wean, haul, sheer, sell or show, which can make the immune system vulnerable and allow bacteria to invade and disrupt the system. New environments can also be a contributor — and while many assume that fungus is always picked up from the trailer or show, it can also manifest simply because we hauled, sheered and showed our animals; stress can make them highly susceptible.

Our next contributor — water —is generally linked to wool fungus. Like any creature, sheep must drink water, but beyond this necessity, water is really their enemy. Any time we put water on a sheep’s wool, we are just rinsing out the lanolin, which is their natural defense mechanism against wool fungus.

It is also worth noting that fly bites and bites from other insects can play a role in transferring fungus from animal to animal.


The best fungal prevention involves providing a low-stress environment. Maintain as much control over the environment as possible in order to keep stress to a minimum. As a bonus, these lower stress levels will often correlate to hearty immunity. A product like Show-Rite Accent can be fed daily to support a strong immune system functioning properly.

Some other steps to take to maintain control over the animals’ environment include:

  • Keeping pens clean and properly This will help eliminate pests and unwanted bacteria.
  • Controlling the barn temperature and keeping animals comfortable in all
  • Putting a pro-cool on your lamb after Doing so serves a dual purpose, as it will help protect against insect bites while also encouraging the build-up of lanolin.
  • Keeping pre-show washing to a
  • Cleaning clippers after each This will help prevent any potential cross-contamination.
  • Properly cleaning and disinfecting barns after each show


Fortunately, if your animals do contract fungi, there are a few potential treatment options.

The most important thing you can do is get to the source. To do this, you must pick off the scab/wool to get down to the surface; it’s a nasty job, but it must be done. The area will typically be bloody, but if you don’t get down to the bottom, you can’t properly treat the source. Applying treatment on a surface area would be like putting ointment on top of a Band-Aid — it won’t actually solve the problem, and we need to penetrate the barrier in order to treat the issue.

Once the spot has been picked, we recommend utilizing Show-Safe Spot Treatment. This product comes in a four-ounce bottle featuring an easy sprayer, which allows for easy application.

If the fungus happens to present more like little pimples or spots, Show-Safe is also offered as a disinfectant solution. You can mix this into a big spray bottle and spray the solution all over the lamb. We also use this product when we clean the barn or re-bed pens; lightly misting the panels, shavings, halters or stands with Show-Safe disinfecting mix helps fight against and prevent fungus. This product can be used on a lamb for up to five days following a show. For more information, please reach out to your local Show-Rite representative.

For more tips on how to be successful in the show ring, please visit or contact a Show-Rite representative.