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What does ringworm look like on a dog?

Contrary to its name, ringworm is a fungus comparable to athlete's foot. It produces infective seeds known as spores, which are highly resilient and difficult to eliminate in the environment. Ringworm may infect the skin of dogs and other animals. Today, our vets in Flat Rock discuss ringworm in dogs and what it looks like. 

Dogs & Ringworm

While ringworm can appear in a variety of ways in dogs, it most commonly reveals itself as patches of hair loss with a crusty coating. Rarely, dogs with ringworm are asymptomatic, meaning they won't show any outward symptoms (you may want to use your favorite search engine to look for example images of dogs with ringworm).

On some dogs, ringworm patches appear as a grey, scaly patch, while on others they look similar to a scarlet lesion. Young, elderly dogs or those with long hair are more likely to be susceptible to ringworm. 

If you notice any of these symptoms, we recommend bringing your dog to see your vet as soon as possible to determine whether your dog has ringworm:

  • Itchiness
  • Inflamed, red skin rash
  • Reddened skin
  • Darkened skin
  • Inflamed folds of the skin surrounding nails or claws 
  • Circular or patchy spots of hair loss 
  • Scabs or lesions on the skin 
  • Scales that look like dandruff

How will my vet diagnose ringworm?

If you suspect your dog may have ringworm, bring them into our animal hospital immediately since they will need treatment to be cured. Your vet may use a few different procedures to diagnose ringworm. The veterinarian may examine your dog's skin and fur under an ultraviolet lamp. While this is the most trustworthy test, it takes 10 days to provide findings. 

What are treatment options for ringworm?

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 the severity of your dog's ringworm condition, your veterinarian will assist you in selecting the appropriate remedy for them. 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 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.

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 will I have to quarantine my dog with ringworm?

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.

Do you believe your dog may have contracted ringworm? Contact Western Carolina Animal Hospital to book an examination with a vet who can provide treatment options.

Dog being examined with light

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