Ringworm in Dogs
Ringworm, or Dermatophytosis, is a fungal condition that infects dogs, cats, and people. A variety of fungi can cause ringworm, some of which may be difficult to diagnose. Most cases of Dermatophytosis in dogs are caused by Microsporum gypseum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, or Microsporum canis. These fungi are most often found in warm, wet climates, though, oddly, cases of ringworm infection seem to cluster in the winter and fall.
Direct contact with an infected animal is not necessary for transmission of ringworm. Animals with ringworm can shed spores for over 18 months. Healthy animals that come into contact with anything a diseased animal has touched can pick up the spores. As a result, your dog may contract ringworm at any kennel, grooming facility, or home where an infected animal has visited. Still, ringworm infects only a small percentage of domestic dogs because many dogs’ immune systems are able to combat the infection.
Symptoms of Ringworm
Ringworm most often infects young or immune-suppressed dogs, and has a series of classic symptoms including:
- Small round lesions
- Hair loss
- Scaly skin
- Itching or irritated skin
The lesions begin as small round bumps, but, if left untreated will grow, and spread. Lesions most often appear on the dog’s head, but are not limited to that area of the body. Ringworm may be confused with demodectic mange, bacterial infection and autoimmune diseases.
Since most dogs are naturally resistant to ringworm infection, most lesions will heal spontaneously over a few months. More severe cases of ringworm may require medicinal and therapeutic intervention. If your dog has ringworm there are a number of treatments you may employ, including:
- Antifungal shampoos
- Clipping the fur around the infected area (using care not to irritate the skin which might cause the infection to spread)
- Topical antifungal medication
- Oral antifungal medications
If you suffer from any sort of immune suppression, use extreme caution around dogs infected with ringworm, because this fungus can be transmitted to humans from dogs. Always wear gloves when treating a dog infected with ringworm, and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
About National Pet Pharmacy
National Pet Pharmacy wants to keep you and your dog as healthy as possible. To that end, we carry a variety of antifungal products including shampoos (KetoChlor Medicated Shampoo), sprays (Miconazole Spray), and oral (Ketoconazole Tablets) and topical medications (Panalog Topical Cream). We also carry gloves to protect you from infection, and personal grooming kits and tool-cleaning compounds to ensure your pet is not exposed to harmful spores.
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