Your dog having ringworm might not seem to bat at first, but if you don't treat it, it can cause bigger issues. Our Southborough vets explain everything a dog owner should know about ringworm, including identifying and treating it.
What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is not in the same category as hookworm, roundworm, or tapeworm. It's not a worm but a fungal infection that creates right-shaped or worm-shaped rashes on the skin, often red and raised due to swelling.
What Does Ringworm Look Like on a Dog?
Ringworm often shows up as a round or ring-like mark on the skin, making it red, and causing hair loss and swelling.
Ringworm in your dog may not present itself in such a noticeable manner, so you should keep an eye out for 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 spreads easily through contact with infected animals or contaminated items like towels, food bowls, coaches, or carpets. The fungus spores can survive for months, which means ringworms can be spread through the fur that your dog has already shed. The fungus can also remain on surfaces or get trapped in the fibers of carpets, drapes, and linens if not cleaned.
Dogs often get ringworms from playing outside, where the fungus can live in the soil. How your dog's immune system responds determines if it becomes a skin infection, and factors like overall health, fungus type, affected body part, age, etc., play a role.
Sometimes, a pet can be a ringworm carrier without showing any visible symptoms. If your dog has been diagnosed with ringworm, having your other pets checked by a veterinarian is a good idea to be safe. 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?
If your pet has ringworm, don't worry; there are effective treatments. Your vet will help you choose the solution best suited for your dog, depending on the severity of their ringworm problem.
Your vet might give your dog a cream to put on their skin or some medicine to take by mouth. They might also suggest cleaning your home to get rid of anything that could have the fungus.
Additionally, your vet may recommend shaving the fur around the more infected areas of your dog.
Do not assume your dog is cured because they stop showing symptoms. Continue with the treatment until your dog has been deemed cured by your vet.
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.