Ringworm, contrary to popular belief, is a fungus similar to athlete's foot. It produces infective seeds known as spores, which are extremely resilient and difficult to remove from the environment. Ringworm can infect all animals' skin, including dogs. Today, our Stroudsburg veterinarians talk about ringworm in dogs and what it looks like.

What does ringworm look like in dogs?

Ringworm can appear in dogs in a variety of ways, the most common of which are patches of hair loss with a crusty coating or (rarely) asymptomatic. Ringworm patches in dogs can appear as a grey, scaly patch or as a scarlet lesion. Dogs with long hair, as well as those who are young or elderly, are more vulnerable.

Bring your dog to the vet if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Dry, brittle hair
  • Inflamed, red skin rash
  • Circular or patchy areas of hair loss
  • Scales that look like dandruff
  • Scabs or lesions on the skin
  • Darkened skin
  • Reddened skin
  • Inflamed folds of the skin around the claws or nails
  • Itchiness

How does ringworm get diagnosed?

If you suspect your dog has ringworm, take them to the vet right away because they will need treatment to be cured. Veterinarians use a variety of techniques to diagnose ringworm. Your veterinarian may use an ultraviolet lamp to examine the fur and skin of your dog. This is the most reliable test, but it takes 10 days to produce results.

What are the treatment options for ringworm?

Oral medications, as well as a variety of lotions, sprays, and shampoos, are effective treatments for ringworm. If your dog or other pet has a history of skin problems, consult a veterinarian as soon as you notice any symptoms. Depending on the severity of the infection, your veterinarian may recommend treating all of your dogs at once. Ringworm can cause hair loss, rashes, and other symptoms that, to the untrained eye, appear to be caused by another illness. If you believe your dog has ringworm, there are several effective treatments available.

Depending on the severity of your dog's ringworm condition, your veterinarian will help you choose the best treatment for them. The following are the most common ringworm treatments:

  • Topical medication
  • Anti-fungal oral medication
  • Environmental decontamination (such as deep cleaning a carpet to keep the infection from spreading)

How can I keep ringworm from spreading?

Ringworm is transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal or contact with a contaminated substance. Ringworm can linger on surfaces or become trapped in the fibers of carpets, curtains, and linens if they are not cleaned.

A pet may be ringworm-carrying even if there are no outward symptoms. Since ringworm spores are hardy and can persist in the environment for a long time, confine your dog with the condition to one room while you administer treatment. Your dog might get sick again if you treat him but don't also clean the virus out of your house.

Soft furniture and carpets should be thoroughly vacuumed and steam cleaned regularly to remove the spores. To clean anything else, disinfectants should be used. Consult your veterinarian about the most effective disinfectants.

How long should I quarantine a dog with ringworm?

Ringworm can last anywhere between six weeks and eighteen months, but it is not nearly as dangerous as other ailments or diseases. Your dog won't perish or suffer irreparable harm as a result. The best thing you can do is keep your dog in a separate room of your home while therapy is being provided and restrict interactions with other animals and family members.

Ideally, you should keep your dog quarantined for six weeks while you fight ringworm. Although this may appear difficult, it should be infinitely easier and far less expensive than constantly fighting ringworm.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you believe your dog may have contracted ringworm? Contact our Stroudsburg vets today for an expert opinion and treatment options.