Ringworm in Dogs
Despite its name, ringworm in dogs doesn’t come from a worm or other parasite. It’s a fungal infection that often causes ring-shaped rashes. Since humans don’t have fur, it’s easy to spot the condition. Ringworm in dogs, however, is harder to see. Because of this, owners often seek advice from veterinarians after noticing other common symptoms of the infection.
Symptoms of Ringworm in Dogs
A lot of owners first become concerned when they see their dogs scratching or biting their skin more than usual. Ringworm can cause itchiness that causes dogs to scratch so much that they wear away fur in the infected area.
Other common symptoms of ringworm in dogs include:
- Dark or red circles on the skin.
- A sudden change in the fur’s coat health.
- Dandruff on the dog or noticed in areas where the dog spends time.
- Scaly patches with broken hairs.
The discomfort of itchiness is one of the biggest concerns caused by ringworm. If left untreated, dogs may scratch so much that they develop more severe skin infections.
How Dogs Get Ringworm
Dogs get ringworm from exposure to one of three fungi (Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes).
Ringworm spreads quickly between animals, so dogs with the condition likely get it from an infected dog, human, or other domesticated animals in its environment. Dogs can also pick up the fungal infection from objects that have come in contact with contaminated animals.
Many dogs have immune systems that can prevent ringworm from turning into a problem. Dogs with compromised immune systems, therefore, are more susceptible to ringworm. Other high-risk dogs include puppies and dogs taking immunosuppressive drugs.
Diagnosing Ringworm in Dogs
Veterinarians diagnose ringworm in dogs by removing a few sample hairs and inspecting them under a microscope. A Wood’s lamp can help vets determine the best areas for taking samples, although not all fungal infections glow when exposed to UV light.
Treatment Options for Ringworm in Dogs
Treatment options for ringworm in dogs focus on killing the fungus that causes the infection. Veterinarians often recommend prescription shampoos, sprays, and dips for dogs diagnosed with ringworm. Since animals can carry the fungus without showing symptoms, veterinarians may also recommend treating other pets in the household.
Owners also need to decontaminate the dog’s environment, including blankets, cushions, collars, and grooming tools. If the fungus survives in the environment, then the dog can acquire it repeatedly.
During treatment, affected animals should remain quarantined until they have at least two negative fungal cultures within two weeks. In many cases, reaching this result requires several weeks of therapy.
Ringworm in dogs can spread to other animals, including humans. Owners who suspect that their pets have ringworm or a related condition should contact their veterinarians as soon as possible. Treating the fungal infection immediately will help limit its spread to other members of the household and community.
Cost to Treat: $50 to $200