Ringworm is surprisingly not a type of worm at all. Ringworm is actually a type of fungus that spreads very easily. Today, our Bakersfield vets discuss what ringworm in dogs looks like and how it is treated.
The signs of ringworm in dogs.
While there is a chance that ringworm can appear asymptomatic in dogs, it is most commonly characterized as producing round scaly patches on your dog's skin. 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.
Bring your dog to the vet if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- 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 ringworm is diagnosed
Ringworm always requires treatment so it is important that you schedule a visit with your vet as soon as you suspect that your dog may be infected. Vets utilize a few different procedures to diagnose ringworm. Your veterinarian may examine your dog's fur and skin using an ultraviolet lamp. This is the most trustworthy test, however, it takes 10 days to provide findings.
How dogs can be treated for ringworm
There are a variety of treatment methods for ringworm that may include 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.
Your veterinarian will diagnose your dog and determine the best course of action depending on your dog and the severity of the infection. The following 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 to protect your dog and family from ringworm
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.
A pet may be a ringworm carrier even if there are no obvious signs. Ringworm spores are tenacious and may survive in the environment for a long time, so confine your affected dog to a single room while you treat them. If you heal your dog but do not eliminate the virus from your home, your dog may become 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 your dog
Ringworm can endure anywhere from 6 weeks to 18 months, although it is not as deadly as other illnesses or diseases. It will not kill your dog and will not 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.
Ideally, you should try and keep your dog quarantined for about six weeks while you battle ringworm. Although this might sound difficult, it should be infinitely easier, and much 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.