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 Fairfield, NJ veterinarians talk about ringworm in dogs and what it looks like.
What does ringworm look like in dogs?
Dogs can experience various manifestations of ringworm, such as patches of hair loss with a crusty coating or, in rare cases, no symptoms at all. Some dogs may have ringworm patches that resemble a grey, scaly patch, while others may have a scarlet lesion. Long-haired dogs, as well as young or elderly dogs, have a higher likelihood of being affected.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, make sure to bring your dog to the vet:
- 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?
If you suspect your dog has ringworm, it is crucial to promptly take them to the vet for necessary treatment to ensure a complete cure. Veterinarians use a variety of methods to diagnose ringworm. Your veterinarian may use an ultraviolet lamp to examine your dog's fur and skin. Producing results takes 10 days, but this test is highly reliable.
What are the treatment options for ringworm?
Treating ringworm is a breeze with oral medications and a range of lotions, sprays, and shampoos. As soon as you notice any symptoms, it's important to take your dog or other pet with a history of skin problems to the vet. Treating all of your dogs at the same time may be recommended by your veterinarian, depending on the severity of the infection. The untrained eye may mistake the symptoms of hair loss, rashes, and other effects for those caused by another illness, all of which can be caused by ringworm. If you suspect your dog has ringworm, there are several effective treatments available.
Your veterinarian will assist you in selecting the most suitable treatment for your dog's ringworm condition, based on its severity. Here are the most common treatments for ringworm:
- Topical medication
- Anti-fungal oral medication
- Environmental decontamination (such as deep cleaning a carpet to keep the infection from spreading)
How can I keep ringworm from spreading?
Ringworm spreads when you come into contact with an infected animal or something that has been contaminated. Surfaces and fibers of carpets, curtains, and linens can trap lingering ringworm if they are not properly cleaned.
A pet may carry ringworm even without showing any apparent symptoms. Ringworm spores are incredibly resilient and can endure for extended periods in the environment. Therefore, it is advisable to restrict your dog, who is affected, to a single room during the treatment process. If you don't eliminate the virus from your home, your dog could get sick again, even if you treat him.
Regularly vacuum and steam clean soft furniture and carpets to effectively remove spores. Use disinfectants to clean anything else. Seek advice from your veterinarian regarding the disinfectants that are most effective.
How long should I quarantine a dog with ringworm?
The duration of ringworm can range from 6 weeks to 18 months, but it is relatively less harmful compared to other illnesses or diseases. Your dog will not be harmed or suffer any permanent damage. During the therapy, it is recommended to keep your dog in a separate room and minimize interaction with other pets or family members.
It is recommended to quarantine your dog for six weeks while treating ringworm. While it may seem challenging, it is actually much easier and more cost-effective than constantly battling 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.