Pet ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect both cats and dogs. The most common cause of ringworm is the infection with Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum or Trichophyton mentagrophytes.
Ringworm is highly contagious to both humans and pets and is transmitted through spores that infect the skin and hair, objects and the soil. The spores can live in the environment for a ling time, waiting for another host, so complete cleaning of the pet's environment must go together with the treatment.
Ringworm has symptoms very similar to other skin conditions, so diagnosis by a veterinarian before starting any treatment is compulsory.
The symptoms of pet ringworm are not specific, they indicate skin disease but do not point precisely to ringworm:
As the visible symptoms of ringworm are difficult to differentiate from the symptoms of other conditions, once the veterinarian suspects your pet is affected by it, he will need to perform more tests.
A black light lamp, Wood's lamp, is sometimes used. The ringworm fungi are fluorescent under this light. However, this test is not 100% accurate, as some species of ringworm fungi do not glow under the lamp. Also, healthy animals can have fluorescent fungi on their coat and not have the infection.
The most effective method is a fungal culture that your local veterinarian can easily perform.
Ringworm is highly contagious to pets as well as to humans. Having an infected pet will involve not only treatment of the respective pet but also preventative care for all the pets in the household and thorough cleaning of the environment.
Your options include topical or oral treatment:
When having an infected pet, you should be cautious about always wearing gloves and washing your hands thoroughly after having touched the pet.