Contrary to its name, ringworm is not a worm but a fungus. Comparable to athlete's foot, it generates highly resilient spores that can infect the skin of any animal, including dogs. Today, our Lancaster vets discuss ringworm in dogs and what it looks like.
What Does Ringworm Look Like In Dogs?
Ringworm can show in a variety of ways in dogs, most commonly as patches of hair loss with a crusty coating, or (rarely) as asymptomatic. 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.
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
- Inflammation of folds of skin around the claws or nails
If you suspect your dog has ringworm, take them to the clinic immediately since they will require treatment to be cured. Vets utilize a few different procedures to diagnose ringworm. Your veterinarian may examine your dog's fur and skin using an ultraviolet lamp. This is the most trustworthy test, although it takes 10 days to provide findings.
Treatment Options For Dogs With Ringworm
Ringworm may be readily treated with oral drugs as well as several 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. Depending on how advanced your dog's case is, your veterinarian may advise treating all of your dogs 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 how severe your dog's ringworm condition is, your veterinarian will recommend the appropriate treatment for them. The following are the most common treatments for ringworm:
- Topical medication
- Anti-fungal oral medication
- Environmental decontamination (e.g. deep cleaning a carpet and couch if an infected dog has lay there)
Stopping Ringworm From Spreading
Ringworm spreads via direct contact with an infected animal or through a contaminated substance. If surfaces are not cleaned regularly, ringworm can linger on them or become embedded in the fibers of carpets, curtains, and linens.
A pet may be a carrier of ringworm even if there are no obvious signs. Ringworm spores are persistent 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.
To eliminate the spores, soft furniture and carpets 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.
Quarantining A Dog With Ringworm
Ringworm is tough to get rid of and easy to spread; it can endure anywhere from 6 weeks to 18 months. It is not deadly and will not kill your dog nor should it cause irreparable physical 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 6 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 (and having other family pets get infected too).
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.