Ringworms in Dogs

Ringworms in Dogs

Ringworm, or dermatophytosis is a fungal infection of the skin.  A lot of people would assume that a ringworm is an actual worm, but that is not the case.  In fact, the ringworm is a type of fungus which can spread from dogs to humans or vice versa.

A ringworm infection on your four-legged friend may simply look like a bald spot, with little inflammation or redness and may be itchy.  Other times, it can be very red and itchy.  There are various cases of the fungal infection.  Sometimes it will get so severe that the infection can spread across the entire body, resulting in inflamed, scabby lesions.  Pet owners must be aware as ringworm infections of the paws can lead to nail infections, where claws become brittle and broken.

You are probably wondering what causes ringworms.  The fungus of the ringworm resides in the soil and a digging dog encounters it regularly.  Ringworm transmission can also spread when your dog encounters an infected animal or its bedding, toys, clippers, and other equipment.  Even food or water bowls can be infected!

Treatment can depend on the level of severity.  A quick test called the “Wood’s lamp examination” uses an ultraviolet light in a darkened room to see if the affected area will fluoresce.  Other times, a fungal culture will be needed.  Ringworm is a self-curing disease, but most dogs can be treated to shorten the course of the disease, and to minimize the spread to other animals and people.  Pet owners will need to consult with their veterinarian.  It is common for prescription oral medication and topical therapy to disinfect the hair coat.

It is sometimes impossible for you to prevent your dog from rolling around on the ground.  However, pet owners can launder all dog beds and mats regularly in hot water ands detergent, be consistent in grooming, and vacuum common areas at least once a week.  We hope that you are well aware of the ringworm infection and how to avoid and treat it.  Further correspondence with your Veterinarian may be required depending on the level of severity.