Tinea in Dogs

Tinea is a fungus that can affect canines and is responsible for causing the condition known as ringworm, also known as dermatophytosis. The infection is manageable, but due to the fact that it may be transmitted to humans, you should pay attention and protect your family.

Tinea Means of Transmission

The tinea infection can be transmitted if the dog touches the skin of an infected dog. The spores of the fungi may also be airborne and land on various pieces of furniture and floor, so the dog may get infected even if not in direct contact with a dog with ringworm. Some dogs that have a stronger immune system may not catch the infection, despite being exposed to the fungi or the spores.

Symptoms of Tinea in Dogs

If your dog is affected by the ringworm infection, you will be able to see the following symptoms:

  • Rings of missing fur
  • Skin lesions, typically ring shaped
  • Papules
  • Pustules
  • Thickened skin
  • Coarse hair
  • Hyperpigmentation

The symptoms are visible mostly in affected areas of skin, which are commonly located on the dog’s stomach, face or tail. Other areas may also be affected by the tinea symptoms.

Diagnosing Tinea

Often, the symptoms of tinea are not very clear and unless the dog displays bald patches in ring shapes or circular skin lesions, the symptoms may point to any type of skin infection. Consequently, the vet will have to perform a skin scraping test, which can indicate if there is a bacterial infection. If the vet suspects a tinea infection, the Wood’s lamp test will be required. When the lamp is directed on the dog’s body, the affected areas will be fluorescent. In rare cases, this test will not show any results, even if the dog is actually affected by the ringworm infection. In this case, a skin biopsy will give an unambiguous diagnosis.

Tinea Treatment Options

The tinea infection can clear without any treatment within several weeks or even months. However, the infection will weaken the dog’s immune system and will also be a source of great discomfort, so treatment should be applied. The vet will recommend clipping the dog’s hair, which will facilitate the healing and make the application of topical treatments easier. You will get a few topical solutions that contain fungicides and these will be applied twice per day, until the infection is fully eliminated. Ketoconazole and itraconazole are also a treatment option, but these oral meds will only be prescribed if the infection is severe or if the dog is not responsive to the topical treatment.

Tinea Is a Zoonotic Disease

The tinea infection is also contagious and presents a potential danger for humans as well, being a zoonotic disease. Wear gloves when you groom your cat or apply any topical treatment and use bleach to clean the dog’s bedding and his environment. If you suspect you may have the ringworm infection, visit a dermatologist and get proper treatment.