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Symptoms and Treatment
What does ringworm look like?
Dog with Ringworm. This dog contracted
from infected soil
What is Ringworm?
Contrary to its name Ringworm
is not a worm at all but a fungus called Dermatophytes. Dermaphtytes means 'plants that live on the skin'. In the
past, because of the circular lesions made by the fungi they
were thought to be caused by worms, hence the name ringworm.
The fungi live on the surface
of the skin and in the skin follicles feeding on dead skin
tissue and hair.
three different types of fungus that can cause ringworm but
the most predominant ones found on dogs and cats is
What does Ringworm look
like on my dog?
The usual symptom is a round hairless lesion. The
characteristic "ring" that we see on humans doesn't always
appear as a ring on dogs. This lesion will grow in size and
often become irregular in shape.
The fungi cause the hair
shafts to break off and this results in patches of hair loss.
Ringworm are commonly found on the face, ears, tail and paws.
The lesions are scaly and may or may not be itchy and often
the skin is reddened and inflamed.
How does my
dog catch ringworm?
Transmission can happen by direct contact with another
infected animal or person. It can be passed from dogs to cats
and visa versa and from pets to humans and from humans to
spores can live in the environment for a long time and can be
found in carpets, bedding, grooming equipment etc and
can infect your dog when it comes into contact with them.
The incubation period is 10-12
days. This means that following exposure to the fungus,
about 10-12 days will pass before any lesions occur
In rare cases ringworm can be
spread by contact with infected soil. The fungus can live for
months in soil if the nutrients are right.
Fortunately the spores are
easily killed with a solution of bleach and water. 500mls of
bleach to 4 liters of water.
Can Ringworm spread to
humans from dogs?
can contract ringworm by touching an animal with ringworm.
Ringworm can spread while petting or grooming
infected dogs or cats. You can also get ringworm from cows, goats, pigs
Are all dogs susceptible to
Healthy adult dogs usually have a resistance to ringworm.
Young dogs and puppies are more susceptible because their
immune system hasn't fully developed. Many dogs are carriers
of ringworm but show no symptoms.
They can, however, infect other animals or humans.
Diagnosis of Ringworm in
To diagnose Ringworm your vet
will need to do one of the following tests. It is not possible
by just looking at the skin to make the diagnosis.
An ultra violet lamp
also known as a black light. Your vet may use this as 50% of
microsporum canis will glow under the lamp.
Microscopic diagnosis Your vet may look at
part of the hair or skin from the lesion under a microscope.
Culture Your vet may decide
to take a scraping from the lesion and send it away to the
laboratory to see what the culture grows.
Ringworm in dogs
If no treatment is carried out,
ringworm will run its course in two to four months and the
symptoms will resolve themselves. However, treatment is
recommended to save your dog from suffering any longer than
necessary and to cut down the period of time they are
Griseofulvin for Ringworm in dogs
Your vet may prescribe Griseofulvin for your dog. It is an
anti fungal drug that is used for dogs with ringworm but it
does have some side effects so be sure to consult your vet
before giving any medication. Griseofulvin inhibits fungal
Shampoos and Dips for ringworm
Lime sulfur dips are often recommended
Dips should be given twice a
week and can be performed either by your vet or at home.
Please be aware that Lime Sulfur will stain clothing and
jewelry and will cause temporary yellowing of the dogs hair.
It also smells very strongly of rotten eggs. Follow your vets
instructions for mixing the dip.
Decontaminate the environment
mixed at 1:10 on any surface that you can. It will kill 80% of
the spores. Vacuum on a daily basis and dispose of vacuum bags
which will contain the spores. Steam cleaning of carpets and
furnishings will also kill a large number of the spores.
your dogs bedding and kennel. Wash the kennel down with a
bleach solution and wash the bedding in very hot water. If
your dog is an inside dog confine him to one room of the
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has not been written by a veterinarian & should not be
considered a replacement for a veterinarian visit. The
articles are provided for informative purposes only. While
great care has been made in the creation of these articles,
we cannot guarantee the accuracy or omissions on these
pages. If in any doubt whatsoever, seek professional medical
advice from your veterinarian.