While you may assume that ringworm is a parasite, it is actually a type of fungus that affects the skin and is actually difficult to fully treat. Today, our Tennessee vets talk about ringworm in dogs and what it looks like.
What are the signs of ringworm on dogs?
Ringworm in dogs can be tricky to spot as there are a variety of symptoms that your dog may experience as well as the possibility of being asymptomatic and having no symptoms at all. Ringworm patches in some dogs resemble a grey, scaly patch, while in others they resemble a scarlet lesion. Dogs who are young, elderly, or have long hair are more likely to be impacted.
If you notice any of the following symptoms you should bring your dog in to be examined:
- Dry, brittle hair
- Inflamed, red skin rash
- Circular or patchy areas of hair loss
- Scales that look like dandruff
- Scabs or lesions on the skin
- Darkened skin
- Reddened skin
- Inflamed folds of the skin around the claws or nails
How ringworm is diagnosed
If you feel as though you have noticed signs or symptoms of ringworm in your dog you should bring them in to have them diagnosed and treated as soon as you can. Vets utilize a few different procedures to diagnose ringworm. Your veterinarian may examine your dog's fur and skin using an ultraviolet lamp. While this test produces accurate results it is not quick as it can take up to 10 days for the results.
How to treat ringworm in dogs
There are various methods of treatment for ringworm such as medications, lotions, sprays and shampoos. If your dog or other pets have a history of skin issues, take them to the veterinarian as soon as you discover any symptoms. Due to the contagious nature of this fungus, it is usually recommended to treat all of your pets at the same time. Ringworm can cause hair loss, rashes, and other symptoms that, to the untrained eye, appear to be another illness. If you suspect your dog has ringworm, there are several effective treatments available.
Depending on the severity of your dog's ringworm condition, your veterinarian will assist you in selecting the appropriate remedy for them. The following are the most common treatments for ringworm:
- Topical medication
- Anti-fungal oral medication
- Environmental decontamination (such as deep cleaning a carpet to keep the infection from spreading)
How to stop ringworm from spreading
Ringworm can be spread through any contaminated surface or direct contact and is very easily transmitted. If surfaces are not cleaned, ringworm can linger on them or become trapped in the fibers of carpets, curtains, and linens.
A pet may be a ringworm carrier even if there are no obvious signs. Ringworm spores are tenacious and may survive in the environment for a long time, so confine your affected dog to a single room while you treat them. If you heal your dog but do not eliminate the virus from your home, your dog may become sick again.
All of your furniture, carpets and soft surfaces should be vacuumed thoroughly and regularly, or steam cleaned. Disinfectants should be used to clean any other things. Consult your veterinarian about which disinfectants are effective.
How to quarantine your dog
Ringworm can endure anywhere from 6 weeks to 18 months, although it is not as deadly as other illnesses or diseases. It will not kill your dog and will not cause irreparable damage. The best thing you can do is confine your dog to a separate room in your house and limit contact with your other pets or family members while the therapy is ongoing.
Ideally, you should try and keep your dog quarantined for about six weeks while you battle ringworm. Although this might sound difficult, it should be infinitely easier, and much less expensive, than having to constantly battle ringworm.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.