Ringworm is a fungus similar to athlete's foot. It produces infective seeds referred to as spores. These spores are very resilient and hard to get rid of in the environment. Ringworm can also infect the skin of any animal, including dogs. In this blog, our Grand Prairie vets explain what ringworm looks like on a dog and how long you will need to quarantine your pooch.
How Ringworm Looks On Dogs
Dogs can exhibit ringworm in many ways, in most cases, this condition shows itself through patches of hair loss with a crusty coating. In rare cases, dogs with ringworm may also be asymptomatic. In some dogs, ringworm patches resemble a grey, scaly patch, while in others they look like a scarlet lesion. Dogs that are young, elderly, or have long hair are more likely to be impacted. You can type "ringworm in dogs" into your favorite search engine to find images of what ringworm looks like in our canine companions.
If you see your dog displaying any of these symptoms, it's time to bring them to the vet:
- Inflamed, red skin rash
- Circular or patchy areas of hair loss
- Dry, brittle hair
- Reddened skin
- Inflamed folds of the skin around the claws or nails
- Scabs or lesions on the skin
- Darkened skin
- Scales that look like dandruff
Diagnosing Ringworm In Dogs
If you think your dog has ringworm, bring them to the vet immediately because they need treatment to be cured. There are several different procedures vets can use to diagnose ringworm. Your veterinarian might examine your dog's fur and skin with an ultraviolet lamp. This is the most reliable test, but, it takes 10 days to provide results.
Treating Dogs With Ringworm
Ringworm can be treated with oral drugs as well as several shampoos, sprays, and lotions. If your dog or other pets have a history of skin problems, bring them to the vet as soon as you notice any symptoms. Depending on the severity of the infection, your vet might recommend treating all of your dogs at the same time. Ringworm can cause hair loss, rashes, and other symptoms that, to the untrained eye, can look like another illness. If you believe your dog has ringworm, there are a few effective treatments available.
Depending on how serious your dog's case is, your veterinarian will help you select the most appropriate treatment. Here is a list of the most common ringworm treatments for dogs:
- Environmental decontamination (such as deep cleaning a carpet to keep the infection from spreading)
- Anti-fungal oral medication
- Topical medication
Preventing The Spread of Ringworm
Ringworm spreads through direct contact with an infected animal or by coming into contact with a contaminated substance. If surfaces aren't cleaned, ringworm can live on them or get trapped in the fibers of carpets, curtains, and linens.
A pet could be a ringworm carrier without showing any obvious signs. Ringworm spores are tenacious and can survive in the environment for a long time, so if your dog is infected, confine them 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 could get reinfected.
To eliminate the spores, we recommend thoroughly vacuuming or steam cleaning soft furniture and carpets often. Disinfectants should be used to clean any other objects and surfaces. Ask your veterinarian which disinfectants are best to use.
Quarantine For Dogs With Ringworm
Ringworm can survive anywhere from 6 weeks to 18 months, however, it isn't as deadly as other illnesses or diseases. It won't 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.
We recommend doing your best to keep your dog quarantined for approximately 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.