Canine Dermatophytosis (Ringworm in Dogs) FAQ

The ringworm in dogs is also known as the canine dermatophytosis and is a fungal infection that may be transmitted to humans. Knowing the essentials about ringworms can prevent your from getting the infection and will also help your pet.

What Is the Ringworm?

The ringworm is not a worm as the name would suggest; it is actually a fungal infection that causes ring shaped skin lesions with hair loss in dogs, but may also affect cats or humans.

What Are the Ringworm Symptoms?

The symptoms of ringworms will be mostly visible on the skin of the dog. You may notice ring shaped bald patches, papules or pustules. These may be mostly present in certain areas such as the tail, paws or the face.

The dog may also display a skin irritation and the skin may also be hyperpigmented in certain areas. The skin may thicken in the affected areas, especially if the infection is not treated.

What Causes the Ringworm Infection?

The ringworm infection is caused by various fungi including Microsporum canis, Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Microsporum gypseum.

How Is the Infection Transmitted?

The infection is transmitted through direct contact with an infected pet. However, the fungal spores may also be airborne and the dog may get infected if these spores land on his skin. Not all pets that come in contact with the fungi will get infected; it all depends on how effectively the dog’s immune system can fight off the infection.

How Is the Ringworm Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of the ringworm infection is made through a screening test, performed with a Wood’s lamp. The fungi will fluoresce when the lamp is activated. However, the fungi may not always show. A fungal culture may also be needed. A few skin and hair samples will be analyzed under the microscope for a positive diagnosis of the ringworm fungi.

A skin biopsy may be performed if the other testing methods fail.

The vet may also perform other tests to rule out other skin infections that may show similar symptoms.

What Is the Ringworm Treatment?

The ringworm infection may heal without treatment in several months.

Due to the fact that the fungi may be transmitted to humans, the pet needs to be treated.

If you have other pets too, the infected dog should be isolated until the infection is cleared. The typical treatment of the ringworm infection is made up of topical ointments that contain fungicides. Special shampoos are also available. You should also clip the dog’s hair in the areas that are affected by lesions. The infections should heal in 2 to 4 weeks. If the dog doesn’t respond to topical treatment, the vet may prescribe additional oral medication such as Ketoconazole and itraconazole, which are approved fungicides.

How Can I Prevent Myself from the Infection?

The ringworm is a zoonotic disease, so you may get infected as well.

In order to avoid the infection, you should keep away from your pet’s skin and secretions. You should wear surgical gloves when handling the pet.

You should clean the dog’s environment with diluted bleach to eliminate the fungi that may be present.