Ringworm is a fungus that's similar to athlete's foot. It spawns infective seeds called spores that are highly resilient and hard to get rid of. The skin of any animal can get infected with ringworm, including dogs. Here, our Danbury vets discuss talk about ringworm in dogs and how it is treated.
What Does Dog Ringworm Look Like?
Dogs can exhibit ringworm in various ways, most often as hair loss patches with crusty coatings, but in rare cases, it can be asymptomatic. Ringworm patches in some dogs resemble a grey, scaly patch, while in others they resemble a scarlet lesion. Young or elderly dogs and pups with long hair have a higher risk of being impacted.
Take your pooch to the vet if they are exhibiting any of these symptoms:
- Reddened skin
- Inflamed, red skin rash
- Inflamed folds of the skin around the claws or nails
- Scabs or lesions on the skin
- Darkened skin
- Scales that look like dandruff
- Circular or patchy areas of hair loss
- Dry, brittle hair
Diagnosing Ringworm in Dogs
If you think your dog may have ringworm, bring them to an animal hospital immediately because they will require treatment. There are several different procedures vets can use to diagnose dogs with ringworm. The most trustworthy test is to examine your pup's skin and fur with an ultraviolet lamp but, it takes 10 days to provide findings.
Treating Dogs With Ringworm
Ringworm could be treated readily with oral medications as well as several sprays, shampoos, and lotions. If your dog or other pet has a history of skin issues, bring them to see a vet as quickly as possible after noticing any symptoms. Depending on the severity of the infection, your veterinarian might recommend having all of your dogs treated 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 serious your dog's ringworm is, your veterinarian will help you pick the most appropriate remedy for your pooch. Here are the most common ringworm treatments:
- Anti-fungal oral medication
- Topical medication
- Environmental decontamination (such as deep cleaning a carpet to keep the infection from spreading)
Preventing the Spread of Ringworm
Your dog can get ringworm by coming into direct contact with an infected animal or a contaminated substance. If surfaces aren't cleaned, ringworm can linger on them or get trapped in the fibers of linens, curtains, and carpets.
Your pet could be carrying ringworm even if they aren't exhibiting any obvious symptoms or signs. Ringworm spores are tenacious and are able to survive in the environment for a long time, so you should confine your infected dog to a single room while they are being treated. If you treat your dog but don't eliminate the virus from your home, your dog can get 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.
How Long to Quarantine Dogs With Ringworm
Ringworm can survive anywhere between 6 weeks and 18 months, however, it isn't as deadly as other diseases or illnesses. It won't kill your dog or cause irreparable 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.
We recommend doing your best to keep your dog quarantined for approximately six weeks while you battle ringworm. While this may sound tricky, it should be much easier, and a lot less expensive, than having to constantly battle 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.