Although ringworm may not seem to be too harmful to your dog at first, it can lead to bigger problems if left untreated. All that a dog owner should know about ringworm is explained by our Turlock vets.
What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is different from hookworm, roundworm, or tapeworm. This fungus causes circular or semi-circular bald spots and rashes on the skin.
Ringworm is a fungal infection that gets its name from the ring-like/worm-like shape seen on raised skin rashes and red skin rashes.
What Does Ringworm Look Like on a Dog?
Ringworm usually appears in a circular or ring-shaped pattern on the skin. It usually turns red, loses hair, and swells up.
Ringworm in your dog may not present itself in such a noticeable manner, so you should be aware of 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 can be spread through direct contact with an infected animal or through contact with an object that has been contaminated, such as towels, food or water bowls, couches, or carpets. Ringworm can survive for months, which means that it can be spread through the fur your dog has already shed. The fungus can also remain on surfaces or get trapped in the fibers of carpets, drapes, linens, etc. in your home if they’re 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 off the fungus, 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, and other factors.
Sometimes a pet can be a ringworm carrier without showing any visible symptoms. If your dog has been diagnosed with ringworm, it is a good idea to have your other pets checked by a veterinarian to ensure their safety. You should also alert any fellow dog owners and dog-walking buddies that your dog has been infected and is being treated, and that they should watch for signs of ringworm in their pets.
How is Ringworm Treated?
There are a variety of good treatments available if your pet has ringworm. The solution best suited for your dog depends on the severity of their ringworm problem. 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. Additionally, it may be recommended that you get an environmental decontamination of your house to eliminate any contaminated elements.
Furthermore, your vet may recommend shaving the fur around the more infected areas of your dog.It is not possible to assume that your dog is cured because they stop showing symptoms. Continue with the treatment until your dog has been deemed cured by your vet.
How long to quarantine a dog with ringworm?
A dog with ringworm should be kept in quarantine for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks to prevent the spread of the fungal infection to other animals and humans.
During this time, the dog should receive appropriate medical treatment and be kept isolated from other dogs and surfaces that may be contaminated.
It is important to thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas that the infected dog has come into contact with to prevent re-infection. After the quarantine period, the dog should be re-examined by a veterinarian to ensure that the infection has been fully treated and to determine if it is safe to end the quarantine.
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.