Many people have heard of ringworm but, if they haven’t had any experience with it, they aren’t sure what it is. Ringworm is not an actual worm. It is a fungus that results in an infection of the skin. The resultant rash is round with a raised edge that resembles a worm under the skin.
Ringworm is highly contagious. The fungal infection can be passed from animal to animal, animal to human, and human to animal. Dogs can pick up ringworm from almost anywhere. The fungus can live in the grass, it can be tracked into the home, and it can be infecting a member of the household. The fungus can be difficult to treat, and it is important for dog owners to learn how to spot the symptoms.
General Symptoms of Ringworm
Ringworm in dogs is easy to spot. When your dog has ringworm, you will see round lesions on its paws, forelimbs, head, or ears. You may also see ringworm on your dog’s belly or other areas of your dog’s skin. As the lesions grow, they can cause hair loss and crusty spots on the skin.
Ringworm in dogs can cause just a few broken hairs or large patches of bald areas. Some dogs with ringworm display no symptoms. Ringworm on dogs can cause intense itching and, at times, burning. You may notice your dog biting at or scratching its skin at the sites of the sores.
Dogs Prone to Ringworm Infection
There is no breed more prone to ringworm than another. Ringworm on dogs is more commonly seen on puppies. Dogs that are immunocompromised, stressed, and malnourished are at great risk for ringworm infection than healthy dogs.
Ringworms in dogs spreads rapidly through any type of situation where dogs are sharing close quarters. This can include boarding kennels, dog pounds, veterinary hospitals, and even multi-pet households. Ringworms in dogs occurs when dogs come into contact with infected hair or skin scales. It is important that any home or business that has an outbreak of ringworm is cleaned thoroughly and frequently.
If your dog is showing any signs of having a skin infection, it’s important that you make an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. Ringworm on dogs is highly contagious and can spread through a household quickly. Your vet will plug in an ultraviolet light known as a Wood’s lamp, turn off the lights in the exam room, and shine the light over your pet. Your vet does this because ringworm glows under the light.
If ringworm is suspected, your veterinarian may scrape an affected area and put the hairs in a special container. This container causes a substance that will cause the fungus to bloom. A negative or positive result can be read after 10 days.
Treatment of Ringworm in Dogs
Ringworm in dogs is treated in a variety of ways. Your veterinarian may prescribe medicated shampoos and ointments for your dog. In more severe cases, oral medications may be combined with topical ones to combat the infection. Your veterinarian will want to examine your dog’s fur and skin once treatment has concluded to make sure the infection is gone.
Preventing the Spread of Ringworm
To prevent the spread of ringworms in dogs, wash all of your pet’s bedding in the washing machine. Use the hottest water setting and add bleach to the water. Vacuum the home frequently, wash your hands each time you touch your dog, and follow the prescription labels on any medications given.