If left untreated, ringworm in dogs can lead to bigger problems, even though it may not seem too harmful at first. At San Jose, our veterinarians provide a comprehensive guide on identifying and treating ringworm in dogs.
What is Ringworm?
So, what exactly is ringworm? Contrary to its name, ringworm is not a worm at all but rather a fungal infection that causes circular or semi-circular blad spots and rashes on the dog's skin. This fungus gets its name from the ring-like or worm-like shape that appears on the skin due to the swelling and redness.
What Does Ringworm Look Like on a Dog?
If you suspect your dog may have ringworm, keep an eye out for the characteristic circular or ring-shaped pattern on their skin, along with redness, hair loss, and swelling.
It's important to catch and treat it early to prevent further complications, so you should keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Inflamed, red skin rash
- Scales that look like dandruff
- Itchiness (pruritus)
- Dry, brittle hair with hair follicles that break easily
- Circular or patchy areas of hair loss (alopecia)
- Darkened skin (hyperpigmentation)
- Reddened skin (erythema)
- Scabs or raised nodular lesions on the skin
- Inflamed folds of the skin around the claws or bordering the nails
If you notice any combination of these symptoms in your pup, contact a vet immediately.
How Does a Dog Get Ringworm?
Ringworm is a fungal infection that can spread through direct contact with an infected animal or from contaminated objects such as towels, food, water below, couches, or carpets. The fungus spores can survive for months, making it possible for ringworm to spread through the fur that your dog has shed. Additionally, the fungus can remain on the surface or become trapped in the fibers of carpets, drapes, and lines if they are not cleaned.
Dogs often get this fungal infection from playing outdoors, as some forms of the fungus can live freely in the soil. Your dog's immune system may be able to fight the fungus off, or it may turn into a localized or more widespread skin infection, depending on many factors, including your pet's overall health, the species of fungus, part of the body affected, the dog's age, etc.
Sometimes, a pet can be a carrier of ringworm without showing any visible symptoms. If your dog has been diagnosed with ringworm, it is advisable to have your other pets checked by a veterinarian to ensure their safety. You should also inform other dog owners and dog-walking companions that your dog has been infected and is receiving treatment, and they should watch for signs of ringworm in their pets.
How is Ringworm Treated?
If your furry friend is diagnosed with ringworm, there are a variety of effective treatments available. Your veterinarian will assist you in choosing the best solution for your dog, depending on the severity of their ringworm problems.
The treatment process is fairly straightforward, with few complications if the fungus is treated in a timely fashion.
Your vet will likely prescribe your pup a topical medication to apply to the skin or an anti-fungal medication that can be taken orally.
It is also recommended that you get an environmental decontamination of your home to eliminate any contaminated elements. Moreover, your vet may suggest saving the fur around the more infected areas of your dog.
Do not assume your dog is cured because they stop showing symptoms. Continue with the treatment until your dog has been deemed cured by your vet.
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.