Ringworm, contrary to popular belief, is a fungus similar to athlete's foot. It produces infective seeds known as spores, which are extremely resilient and difficult to remove from the environment. Ringworm can infect all animals' skin, including dogs. Today, our Orange Park veterinarians talk about ringworm in dogs and what it looks like.
What does ringworm look like in dogs?
Dogs can have ringworm in a number of ways, but the most common one is hair loss with a crusty covering in areas or, in rare cases, no symptoms at all. Some dogs' ringworm patches have a grey, scaly appearance, while others have a scarlet lesion. Younger or older dogs, as well as those with long hair, are more susceptible.
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?
Take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you think they may have ringworm, as they will require treatment to recover. Veterinarians diagnose ringworm using a number of techniques. Your veterinarian may examine your dog's fur and skin with an ultraviolet lamp. The most trustworthy test, but results take ten days to come in.
What are the treatment options for ringworm?
Oral medications and various lotions, sprays, and shampoos are effective treatments for ringworm. As soon as you notice any symptoms, take your dog or other pet to the veterinarian if they have a history of skin issues. Depending on the severity of the infection, your veterinarian might suggest treating all of your dogs at the same time. A layperson may mistakenly believe that ringworm is the source of symptoms such as rashes, hair loss, and other ailments. If you think your dog may have ringworm, there are a number of efficient treatments available.
Depending on the severity of your dog's ringworm condition, your veterinarian will help you choose the best treatment for them. The following are the most common ringworm treatments:
- Topical medication
- Antifungal 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 transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal or contact with a contaminated substance. Ringworm can linger on surfaces or become trapped in the fibers of carpets, curtains, and linens if they are not cleaned.
A pet may harbor ringworm even in the absence of overt symptoms. Treat your afflicted dog in a single room as ringworm spores are persistent and can live for a long time in an environment. Your dog might get sick again if you treat him but don't get rid of the virus in your house.
Soft furniture and carpets should be thoroughly vacuumed and steam cleaned regularly to remove the spores. To clean anything else, disinfectants should be used. Consult your veterinarian about the most effective disinfectants.
How long should I quarantine a dog with ringworm?
Although ringworm can linger anywhere from six weeks to eighteen months, it is not as serious as other conditions. It won't endanger your dog's life or do permanent harm. The best thing you can do is keep your dog in a separate room and minimize his or her interaction with other pets and family members while the therapy is ongoing.
Ideally, you should keep your dog quarantined for six weeks while you fight ringworm. Although this may appear difficult, it should be infinitely easier and far less expensive than constantly fighting ringworm.
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.