Fungal Skin Infections in Dogs

Infections in dogs vary widely and may be of several types and due to different causes. If infections affect the internal organs, you have to watch for different clinical signs. If the infection is localized at the level of the skin, this is usually easy to spot. Typically, skin infections are caused by fungi which can be contracted by dogs from various sources,  rom feces and soil to other canines. Fungal infections can be very harmful to your dog’s health and they should not be left untreated.

Dog Fungal Skin Infections

Fungal skin infections are skin diseases localized at the level of the skin and caused by various fungi. Your dog can contract fungi spores from soil, from other infected animals or even from humans (though this happens very rarely). There are several types of fungal skin infections in dogs and each of them manifests in a specific way:

  • Ringworm infection (dermatophytosis)
  • Yeast infection (Malassezia)
  • Blastomycosis and Histoplasmosis

Ringworm Infections in Dogs

Ringworm infection is the most common type of skin fungal infections occurring in dogs. It is caused by fungi, not worms, even though the name might be a bit puzzling. The name comes from the appearance of the skin which develops red circles and hair loss when infected with fungi.

The ringworm infection can be transmitted to humans, so it is important to treat it as soon as you spot it on your dog’s skin. Moreover, use gloves when handling a dog infected with ringworms.

Canine Yeast Infections

The yeast infection is caused by Candida albicans which are yeast cells that normally live in the dog’s intestines. When the immune system is weak and the pH in the body is disturbed, Candida Albicans overgrows and turns into a harmful fungus.

When the infection occurs on the skin, it manifests through red, scaly surfaces which have a bad odor. The skin is also itchy and causes the dog to scratch.

Blastomycosis and Histoplasmosis in Dogs

Blastomycosis and Histoplasmosis are both systemic infections, but do not occur as often as other fungal infections.

Blastomycosis is caused by blastomyces dermatitidis, a fungus which lives as mold. It can cause severe problems such as respiratory problems or blindness. In the first stage it manifests through sores on the skin and crusts.  

Histoplasmosis is caused by Histoplasma capsulatum, a fungus which is to be found in dust. It causes a primary infection in the lungs and also manifests through sores on the skin and enlarged lymphatic nodes in the neck and armpits.

Treatment Fungal Skin Infections in Dogs

There are several types of treatment administered to treat fungal infections:

  • Topical medication to treat damaged skin
  • Anti-fungal medication
  • Anti-fungal shampoos

Whenever you spot something abnormal on your dog’s skin, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian so that he can diagnose the type of skin condition and prescribe the most appropriate medication.

You should also find the source of the infection and avoid it in the future.