Ringworm Cure for Dogs

A ringworm cure for dogs can involve topical antifungals, shampoos and dips. Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin that can affect dogs, cats and people. There are several different fungi that can cause ringworm in dogs. Learn more about the causes, symptoms, treatment and cure of ringworm in dogs.

Causes of Dog Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection that occurs most often in the fall and winter, even though the fungi that cause ringworm seem to thrive best in hot, humid climates. Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes are the fungi most often responsible for ringworm infections in dogs. 

Ringworm spreads through contact with fungal spores. Animals infected with ringworm can spread the infection, as can contact with spores in the environment. Spores can live in the environment for up to 18 months, so dogs can catch ringworm from contaminated objects in boarding kennels, veterinary hospitals or other places where numbers of dogs are kept. Dogs can also catch ringworm through contact with the personal items, such as bedding or combs, of dogs who have been infected with ringworm.

While the fungus that causes ringworm is relatively common, skin infection from exposure to the fungus is more rare. Ringworm accounts for less than three percent of dog skin infections. Young dogs, dogs who are already sick or who have low immunity, and dogs taking steroids are most likely to develop a ringworm skin infection.

Symptoms of Ringworm in Dogs

Ringworm in dogs causes skin symptoms. Dogs with ringworm often develop small lesions that are scaly in the center. Lesions are usually round, hence the name "ringworm." Pustules and scaliness can occur. 

Ringworm lesions are often quite small when they first appear, but get bigger as the infection progresses. They are most often found on the head, feet, tail or legs. Sometimes, ringworm appears as a more widespread rash, rather than as a small, round lesion.

Diagnosing Ringworm in Dogs

There are several methods for diagnosing a ringworm infection. The best way is to take a culture of skin scrapings; if your dog has ringworm, the culture will grow ringworm fungus. Your vet may also examine your dog's hairs under a microscope or use a Wood's lamp to identify spores in his fur.

Ringworm Cure for Dogs

The cure for ringworm is often multi-pronged. You will need to trim away the fur around your dog's lesions. Then, you can apply antifungal cream, such as miconazole cream, to treat the lesions. 

If your dog has many or severe lesions, you may need shampoos or dips to cure his ringworm infection. Miconazole, ketoconazole and chlorhexidine shampoos, as well as lime sulfur dips, can be applied every two to four days as a ringworm cure. 

In some cases, your cat may prescribe oral antifungal drugs. These drugs must usually be administered for several months. Careful supervision by a vet is necessary, since they can be toxic when administered improperly.

You can prevent ringworm by making sure that any veterinary hospitals or boarding kennels your dog goes to are clean and sterilized regularly.

Ringworm is contagious to people, and can be a serious infection for those with compromised immune systems.