Ringworms in Dogs
What are ringworms?
Despite what the name suggests, a ringworm is not a worm, it is actually a fungus. The name is given due to the round, ringed appearance commonly seen in the infection. About 70% of Dermatophytosis in dogs is caused by the fungus Microsporum canis (ringworm).
The fungus lives in the outermost layer of skin and hair follicles of the dog. Other times, it is also found in dog’s nails. If a dog comes in contact with an infected dog, he will pass on the fungus and the infection. Once a dog is infected, the fungal spores can remain viable for up to 18 months.
Ringworms in dogs is not a deadly disease but it does require the intervention of your veterinarian to avoid its spread to other animals and humans. The most visible sign of infection by ringworm is patches of hair loss throughout the body.
The disease does not even cause your dog to itch. However, hair follicles become brittle causing the hair to fall easily. This helps propagate the fungus in your home.
The most common symptoms of Dermatophytosis are:
- Dry, brittle hair
- Areas of hair loss
- Inflamed, scabby skin
- Rough and brittle claws
How is ringworm infection treated?
The veterinarian will take a sample of hair or skin cell to confirm the diagnosis. Once it is confirmed that your dog is infected with roundworm, he will discuss a treatment plan with you. This treatment will depend on the severity of the case and whether or not there are other pets or children in the household.
Usually, a treatment for ringworm infection will consist of topical therapy, oral medication, and decontamination of the environment.
How do I prevent my dog from getting infected?
To prevent the spread of the disease, the household should enter into a quarantine. All other animals living in the household will have to take a test as well. As a prevention, a special shampoo can be prescribed to use on your other pets.
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