There are different types of fungi that cause ringworm, some of which people are more prone to and others which more commonly affect animals. Feline ringworm is more common than canine ringworm and dogs are more likely to catch the infection from cats. A strong healthy dog is not likely to be infected by ringworm and, if it is, the condition is not likely to spread. Young dogs or ones that are not healthy are more vulnerable. Not all animals show symptoms of ringworm so extra care is needed around the home.
Symptoms of Ringworm in Dogs
The most obvious and common symptom of ringworm in dogs is bald patches. The fungus that causes the condition lives in hair follicles and this is what causes the hair to become brittle and break off. There is usually a red rash on the dog’s skin, much like that seen on people’s skin but this may not always be in the shape of a circle. This will be scaly, dry and may itch. Scratching will spread the infection so it is important that treatment be given as soon as ringworm is identified.
Sometimes an animal can have ringworm but not have any symptoms. If there are people in the household who are diagnosed with ringworm, then they may have picked it up from their pet. Even if the animal shows no symptoms, it is still important to have it tested.
Diagnosis of Ringworm in Canines
Diagnosis of ringworm needs to be made by a vet as there are other skin conditions that exhibit similar symptoms. This can be done by use of an ultraviolet lamp which will cause the fungus to become fluorescent. If this doesn’t work, then a laboratory test will need to be done on skin and hair samples. The disadvantage is that this may take several weeks as it involves growing the fungus under laboratory conditions.
Over the Counter Ringworm Treatment for Dogs
Once ringworm has been diagnosed, treatment is easy but needs patience and perseverance. The gestation period between exposure to the fungus and the appearance of symptoms is ten days. This means that while treatment is being carried out on one part of the body, infection may have already spread to another.
The three types of treatment are topical shampoo, creams or medication. Antifungal Shampoo is the most common option and usually the most effective as it removes the fungal spores from the hair all over the body and so re-infection is less likely.
How to Prevent Ringworm in Humans
In order to prevent the infection spreading to humans and other animals in the house, the house must be thoroughly cleaned with hot water and bleach where possible. The dog’s bedding must be washed every day. Carpets can harbor the fungal spores for up to two years, so vacuuming and washing all carpets in the house is a must. Also, then, throw out the vacuum bag.
Pets should all be washed with the same antifungal shampoo used on the dog just in case the infection has spread. Finally, have the dog tested again by the vet after following the treatment to make sure the fungus has gone.