Ringworm is a fungus similar to athlete's foot. It produces infectious seeds known as spores, which are extremely hardy and difficult to eradicate in the environment. Ringworm can infect any animal's skin, including dogs. Today, our Douglasville veterinarians talk about ringworm in dogs and how it looks.
What does ringworm look like in dogs?
Ringworm in dogs can manifest itself in several ways, the most common of which are patches of hair loss with a crusty coating or (rarely) asymptomatic. In some dogs, ringworm patches look like a grey, scaly patch, while in others, they look like a scarlet lesion. Young, elderly, or long-haired dogs are more likely to be affected.
Bring your dog to the vet if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- 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 does ringworm get diagnosed?
If you suspect your dog has ringworm, take them to the vet right away because they will need treatment. Ringworm is diagnosed by a variety of methods by veterinarians. An ultraviolet lamp may be used by your veterinarian to examine your dog's fur and skin. This is the most reliable test, but it takes 10 days to receive results.
What are the treatment options for ringworm?
Oral medications, as well as a variety of lotions, sprays, and shampoos, can be used to treat ringworm. Take your dog or other pets to the veterinarian as soon as you notice any symptoms if they have a history of skin problems. Your veterinarian may recommend treating all of your dogs at the same time, depending on the severity of the infection. Hair loss, rashes, and other symptoms can make ringworm appear to be another illness to the untrained eye. There are several effective treatments available if you suspect your dog has ringworm.
Your veterinarian will help you choose the best ringworm treatment for your dog based on the severity of their ringworm. The following are the most common ringworm treatments:
- Topical medication
- Anti-fungal oral medication
- Environmental decontamination (such as deep cleaning a carpet to keep the infection from spreading)
How can I keep ringworm from spreading?
Ringworm is spread through direct contact with an infected animal or through ingestion of contaminated food. Ringworm can linger on surfaces or become trapped in the fibers of carpets, curtains, and linens if they are not cleaned.
Even if there are no visible signs of ringworm, a pet could be a ringworm carrier. Because ringworm spores are hardy and can survive for long periods in the environment, confine your infected dog to a single room while you treat them. If you heal your dog but don't get the virus out of your house, your dog might get sick again.
Soft furniture and carpets should be vacuumed thoroughly and regularly, or steam cleaned, to remove the spores. Any other items should be cleaned with disinfectants. Inquire with your veterinarian about the most effective disinfectants.
How long should I quarantine a dog with ringworm?
Ringworm can last anywhere from six weeks to eighteen months, but it is not as dangerous as other illnesses or diseases. It won't kill your dog, and it won't harm him permanently. While the therapy is ongoing, 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 fighting ringworm, you should try to keep your dog quarantined for about six weeks. Although it may appear difficult, it should be far easier and less expensive than fighting ringworm regularly.
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.