Despite its name, ringworm in dogs is comparable to athlete's foot. This is where a dog develops infective seeds known as spores, which are very resilient and hard to remove in the environment. In this blog, our Burlington and Bellingham vets discuss how you can recognize ringworm in dogs and how it can be treated.
The Symptoms of Ringworm in Dogs
If your dog has ringworm, they could show it in a variety of ways. The most common sign of ringworm in dogs is patches of hair loss with a crusty coating. You should also note that ringworm is rarely asymptomatic. Ringworm patches in some dogs resemble a grey, scaly patch, while in others they resemble a scarlet lesion. Dogs who are young, elderly, or have long hair are more likely to be impacted.
If your dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms below, don't hesitate to contact your vet to schedule an appointment:
- Reddened skin
- Dry, brittle hair
- Scales that look like dandruff
- Inflamed, red skin rash
- Darkened skin
- Circular or patchy areas of hair loss
- Inflamed folds of the skin around the claws or nails
- Scabs or lesions on the skin
Diagnosing Dogs with Ringworm
Because ringworm in dogs requires veterinary treatment, you need to bring your pooch to the vet immediately if you suspect they might have ringworm. Veterinarians implement a variety of procedures to diagnose animals with ringworm. Your vet may examine your dog's fur and skin using an ultraviolet lamp. This is the most trustworthy test, however, it takes approximately 10 days to provide findings.
Treating Ringworm in Dogs
Ringworm may be readily treated with oral drugs as well as several lotions, sprays, and shampoos. If your dog or other pets have a history of skin issues, take them to the veterinarian as soon as you discover any symptoms. Depending on the severity of the infection, your veterinarian may advise treating all of your dogs 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 case is, your vet will help you determine the best possible treatment option for your pup. These are the most common ways ringworm is treated:
- Anti-fungal oral medication
- Topical medication
- Environmental decontamination (such as deep cleaning a carpet to keep the infection from spreading)
How can I keep ringworm from spreading?
Ringworm is spread by direct contact with an infected animal or through a contaminated substance. If surfaces are not cleaned, ringworm can linger on them or become trapped in the fibers of carpets, curtains, and linens.
An animal could be carrying ringworm without exhibiting any obvious signs. Ringworm spores are tenacious and are able to survive in the environment for a long time, therefore, if your dog is infected with ringworm we highly recommend confining them to a single room while they are being treated. If your dog recovers but you didn't eliminate the virus from your home your dog can become reinfected.
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 Dogs with Ringworm Need to be Quarantined
Ringworm can endure anywhere from 6 weeks to 18 months, however, it isn't as deadly as other illnesses or diseases. 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.
Preferably, you should do your best to keep your dog quarantined for approximately six weeks while they are battling ringworm. While this may seem difficult, it should be much easier, and less expensive, than having to continuously 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.