Ringworm is a fungal infection that can be treated with antibiotics if caught early, but left untreated it can become chronic and very difficult to cure. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the signs and symptoms of ringworm, how to treat ringworm in dogs, and how to prevent it from happening again.
What Is a Ringworm Disease?
How to treat ringworm in dogs? That’s a very common question. Ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect the skin, coat, and nails of dogs and cats. It is caused by various species of fungi, including Microsporum canis, M. gypseum, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. Ringworm is highly contagious and can be spread through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated objects. Ringworm is also called dermatophytosis, dermatophyte infection or tinea. It is not a worm, despite its name.
How Can Dogs Get Ringworm?
Dogs can contract ringworm from other infected animals, or they can get it from contaminated objects such as grooming tools, bedding, or toys. It is also possible for them to pick it up from the environment, particularly if they are in contact with soil that is contaminated with the fungus.
Causes of Ringworm
The cause of ringworm in dogs is usually a fungal infection. The most common type of fungus that causes ringworm is called Microsporum canis. This fungus is found on the skin of many animals, including cats, and can be passed to dogs through direct contact. Other fungi that can cause ringworm include M. gypseum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes.
These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, so ringworm is more common in the summer months. It can also be passed from mother to pup during birth, or puppies can pick it up from their mother’s milk.
Symptoms of Ringworm in Dogs
How to treat ringworm in dogs? First, let’s take a look at the symptoms. The most common symptom of ringworm is a circular lesion on the skin that is bald in the center and has a raised, red border. Lesions can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the head, ears, legs, and paws. Skin lesions may be itchy, and the surrounding skin may be red and inflamed.
Other symptoms of ringworm include:
- hair loss;
- crusted lesions;
- thickened skin;
- yellowish or brown patches on the skin;
- discolored nails.
If the infection spreads to the nails, they may become thickened, brittle, and crumbly. In severe cases, the fungi can infect the hair follicles and cause a condition called folliculitis, which is marked by pus-filled bumps on the skin.
How to Diagnose Ringworm
A veterinarian will usually be able to diagnose ringworm based on the symptoms. A skin biopsy may also be done to confirm the diagnosis. In some cases, a fungal culture may be done to identify the specific type of fungus that is causing the infection.
Ringworm lesions are often fluorescent under an ultraviolet. This test is not always reliable, however, as some types of fungi do not fluoresce.
A veterinarian may also take skin scrapings from the lesion and look at them under a microscope to look for ringworm spores. This test is also not always reliable, as the fungal spores may not be present in all cases.
A Wood’s lamp emits ultraviolet light and can be used to look for ringworm lesions. Lesions will often glow fluorescent under this type of light.
Is Ringworm Contagious to Humans?
Ringworm is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be spread from animals to humans. The fungi that cause ringworm are commonly found on the skin of many animals, including cats, dogs, and horses. They can also be found in the environment, such as in soil, straw, or hay.
People who have contact with infected animals or contaminated objects can develop ringworm. The most common symptom of ringworm in humans is a circular lesion on the skin that is bald in the center and has a raised, red border. Lesions can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the face, scalp, arms, and legs.
Treatment of Ringworm
How to treat ringworm in dogs? Ringworm is treated with antifungal medications, either topical or oral. Topical medications are applied to the affected area and are usually used for mild cases of ringworm infections. Oral medications are taken by mouth and are typically used for more severe infections. In some cases, a combination of both topical and oral medications may be used.
The length of treatment depends on the severity of the infection and the type of medication used. Treatment typically lasts for four to six weeks.
How to treat ringworm in dogs with a topical medication? Topical treatment options include ointments and antifungal shampoo. The most common topical antifungal medications are usually applied to the affected area once or twice a day for four to six weeks.
Antifungal shampoos are usually used once or twice a week for four to six weeks. The shampoo is left on the skin for 10 minutes before being rinsed off.
Oral treatment options include antifungal pills and liquids. These medications are typically taken once or twice a day for four to six weeks.
How to Prevent Ringworm
Now, that you know how to treat ringworm in dogs, let’s talk about how to prevent the infection. There are a few things you can do to help prevent your dog from getting ringworm:
- Keep your dog’s environment clean and dry.
- Don’t share grooming tools with other animals.
- Wash your hands after handling animals.
- Don’t let your dog share beds or toys with other animals.
- Regularly clean and disinfect areas where your dog spends time to prevent environmental contamination.
If you think your dog may have ringworm, contact your veterinarian. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to help prevent the spread of the infection.
How to Treat Ringworm at Home
There are a few things you can do to help treat ringworm at home:
- Keep the affected area clean and dry (use a bleach to clean the area).
- Apply a topical antifungal medication to the affected area.
- Give your dog oral antifungal medication as prescribed by your veterinarian.
- Keep your dog’s environment clean and disinfected.
- Wash your hands after handling your infected pet or anything in their environment.
- Provide your dog with a clean, comfortable place to rest and recover.
- Keep infected dogs isolated from other animals in your home to prevent the spread of the infection.
What Can Happen If You Don’t Treat Ringworm in Dogs
If left untreated, ringworm can cause serious skin problems in dogs. This skin condition can spread to the hair follicles and nails, and it may also spread to other parts of the body. It’s very painful and itchy, and your dog may scratch the affected areas until they bleed. This can lead to secondary bacterial infections, which can be very serious.
Ringworm is contagious to humans, so it’s important to get your dog treated as soon as possible. Treatment usually involves a combination of antifungal medications and medicated shampoos. Your dog will also need to be isolated from other animals during treatment.
Should I Always Go to the Veterinary Clinic?
While ringworm is not a life-threatening condition, it can cause serious skin problems if left untreated. It’s also contagious to other animals and humans, so it’s important to get your dog treated as soon as possible. If you think your dog may have ringworm, contact your veterinarian for an appointment. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to help prevent the spread of the infection.
Ringworm in Dogs – Similar Skin Conditions
There are a few other skin conditions that can cause similar symptoms to ringworm:
- bacterial skin infection;
- yeast infection;
- allergic reaction;
- demodectic mange;
- sarcoptic mange.
If you’re not sure what’s causing your dog’s skin condition, it’s always best to contact your veterinarian for an appointment.
How to treat ringworm in dogs? An infected dog should receive treatment as fast as possible. Thanks for reading!