Your pet can encounter all types of health issues and one of them is parasites. Ringworms, roundworms, and tapeworms all fit into this category.
Ringworm symptoms commonly appear as a roundish, red ring on the skin of your dog. These red lesions can be scaly and show up in many areas including the dog’s legs, back, chest, face, and head. You may notice a loss of hair in the area or that the hair becomes very dry and hard to the touch. Brittleness can also appear in your dog’s claws or nails. It is possible for a dog to have ringworm and show no symptoms.
Ringworm is a common problem and all dogs are susceptible to it. Every responsible dog owner should keep an eye out for ringworm in their pet. Knowing the symptoms and treatments available for ringworm is important to keep your dog healthy and happy.
Taking the necessary steps to prevent ringworm and its spread is also something you should familiarize yourself with.
What is Ringworm?
Most people don’t realize that ringworm isn’t a worm. Ringworm is a parasite or more specifically a type of infection or fungus.
Ringworm, as the organism is regularly called, is named for the round, raised, red ring appearance generally found in human ringworm contaminations.
Ringworm, also known as dermatophytes, is an assortment of pathogenic parasites. Scientifically, a fungus called Microsporum canis is responsible for most cases of ringworm in dogs, cats, and even humans. This is a worldwide phenomenon.
What is ringworm in dogs?
The organism develops and lives in the outer layer of skin, hair follicles, and claws (nails) of your dog. The disease is shallow, and often affects multiple areas of the body.
Dogs of all ages and sometimes puppies even occasionally experience the ill effects of ringworm contaminations. This can be a serious issue for your dog’s health so take the necessary steps and consult your veterinarian.
What Does Ringworm Look Like?
Ringworm looks very much like a red rash but in the form of a circle. This is caused by parasites feeding on the keratin found in the external layers of the skin, hair, and nails.
You may also notice a loss of hair on the spot or the hair turns brittle and feels hard instead of soft like hair normally would. Scaling is also something you can see with ringworm.
What does ringworm look like on a dog?
In dogs, ringworm sores typically show up as balding areas (alopecia) that are generally round. As these round sores extend, the skin heals and hair may start to regrow in the sore.
The ringworm parasites usually taint hair follicles, which causes the affected hair to break off. As the parasite increases, the sores may become unpredictably formed and spread over the entire body.
The affected hair shafts are delicate and easily broken. While these sores may not cause irritation they can become raw and build up a scab. Be aware you may not notice any itching and scratching behavior from your dog.
Ringworm may also lead to a parasitic disease of the claws or nails (onychomycosis) in which your dog’s whole paw area may become unpleasant, fragile, and will their claws could break easily.
A few dogs may have ringworm parasites present in their hair or skin without giving any clinical indications of infection at all.
NOTE: These dogs can still spread ringworm to different animals or individuals despite having no conspicuous skin sores and are called ‘asymptomatic transporters.’
Asymptomatic transporters are particularly hazardous in locations with multiple animals, such as pet hotels, as they can spread the ringworm organisms to other animals.
How Do You Get Ringworm?
Ringworm is infectious, and transmission happens by direct contact with the organism. It could be passed by direct contact with an infected animal, or by indirect contact such as touching contaminated surfaces.
Contact with ringworm growth doesn’t always bring about a disease. The amount of ecological defilement is a significant factor in advancing ringworm contamination, just like the age of the animal or person.
How does a dog get ringworm?
Dogs get ringworm the same way humans do via direct contact. The parasitic spores may stay alive on brushes, food bowls, furniture, bedding, blankets, or other natural surfaces for as long as a year and a half.
With dogs, the ringworm spores often spread during shedding. The brittle hairs from the infected dog fall off and can even be carried in the air to other areas.
A dog or other animal with ringworm can easily infect another.
How Long Does Ringworm Take to Show Up?
The incubation period between exposure to ringworm and seeing symptoms is usually seven to fourteen days. But as with most diseases, there is nothing written in stone and symptoms vary in dogs as well as humans.
A few cases may require as long as 21 days before the first indications of disease appear.
How Can the Spread of Ringworm be Prevented?
Ringworm spores can live for quite a while, so it is important to limit your contaminated dog to one room while treating them. This will help stop spores from spread throughout the house.
If you don’t eliminate the parasite from your home, your dog could become reinfected once healed.
Floors, rugs, and especially your dog’s bedding and/or their dog house should be vacuumed regularly or even steam-cleaned to eliminate the spores. Your dirty vacuum bag should be emptied and thrown out right away. Repeat the cleaning process on a regular basis. Daily if possible.
Other household items should be cleaned with a disinfectant. Ask your vet which disinfectants are effective. Dog bedding and toys that can’t be cleaned are best thrown away.
Signs of Ringworm in Dogs
Ringworm does not have to be a bad illness if recognized quickly and properly treated by your vet. However, it is exceptionally infectious and requires professional diagnosis and mediation.
Knowing the side effects of ringworm in dogs can help you stop the disease before it passes to other people or pets.
What does ringworm look like on a dog?
In dogs, ringworm commonly presents as round bald patches on the body. These sores may begin to heal in the middle as they expand, making an inconsistent appearance. They may become raw or scabbed.
Ringworm, for the most part, doesn’t itch. The affected hair follicles are fragile and break off, which helps spread the illness through your home. At times, the organism contaminates the paws, making them weak and not healthy.
Contact your veterinarian if your canine encounters any or these symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Poor coat appearance
- Pot-bellied appearance
- Deficiencies in sustenance and paleness
- Intestinal blockage or pneumonia
- Blood in the stool (either bright red or more obscure purple)
Going bald, changes in coat appearance or irritated skin could be an indication of another condition or even an allergic reaction to something.
Skin issues are sometimes related to hidden conditions in dogs, such as Cushing’s sickness (hormone imbalance), hypothyroidism, or supplement lopsidedness.
Ringworm stages in dogs
Note that every animal or person may show different symptoms in different stages. Always consult your vet with questions and to obtain guidance.
- Dandruff, Skin becoming Scaly Looking
- Red lesions Forming
- Patched of Hair Loss and/or Brittle Hair
- Brittle Claws/Nails
What Animals Get Ringworm?
Cats can get ringworm as well as many other animals like birds, cows, goats, horses, lamb, pigs, rabbits, rodents, and sheep plus more!
Since many dog owners also have cats in the home, this implies that the risk of the parasite’s transmission from one to the other is generally high.
Most domestic creatures can get ringworm, so talk with your vet about the danger of spreading ringworm between your pets and people.
Can Humans Get Ringworm?
Yes! You may be acquainted with ringworm by an alternate name, athlete’s foot. Ringworm in your dog isn’t only an issue for your pet.
People can get Microsporum canis, which is another motivation behind why it is essential to pay attention to this condition.
Can humans get ringworm from dogs?
Yes! Humans can get ringworm from dogs. Young children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of contracting ringworm from dogs.
Be aware that anybody can get this unattractive and awkward parasite though.
If your child has ringworm, they may have contracted it from your pet or another child at school. On the off chance that you or your relatives have suspicious skin sores, check with your family doctor right away.
Healthy adults are generally impervious to contamination unless there is a break in the skin, such as a scratch.
In humans, ringworm presents itself as a round rash that is frequently red and bothersome. If you or another develops a rash on your body after your dog has been determined to have ringworm, contact your primary care doctor right away.
Ringworm Treatment for Dogs
Your vet will determine if your dog has ringworm by administering a test. They will take a sample of hair or skin cells for a parasitic culture. Then they will analyze the contaminated hairs under an uncommonly bright light called a Wood’s lamp.
Once ringworm is analyzed, your vet will develop a treatment plan for your dog. This treatment plan relies upon the seriousness of the case, the number of pets in the family, and whether there are kids or immunocompromised adults in the home.
Treating ringworm in dogs, for the most part, is comprised of four stages:
- Topical Treatment: Your veterinarian will possibly suggest a skin treatment, similar to a cream, salve, or potentially cured cleanser to help treat and control the contamination.
Your vet may also suggest cutting long-haired dogs to accelerate treatment by shaving the hair from affected areas. Effective treatment can take a while to kill the disease completely. However, it does limit further contamination.
- Oral Prescriptions: Oral treatment is generally used along with the skin treatment. Anti-parasitic oral prescriptions help battle the disease and can be effective. Yet, sometimes it could require a long time to produce full results.
- Environmental Cleaning: The spores that live inside the hair follicles stay infectious for quite a long time, surviving on carpets, bedding, furniture, and clothes.
Cleaning up this hair is part of the treatment. However, as many dog owners know, it is somewhat of a challenge and requires constant attention.
- Creams and Balms: For mild cases, antifungal creams and treatments can be applied directly to the affected areas of your pet’s skin. If the disease is far-reaching, your vet may recommend an antifungal cleanser to treat your pet’s whole body.
It’s important that you use only treatments and shampoos that have been suggested by your vet, as different items may bother the condition and have unexpected consequences.
Your vet will undoubtedly inquire whether you have some other pets in the family and might urge you to test and treat them for ringworm, too, regardless of whether they are currently showing symptoms.
It is also important that owners continue treating ringworm for the recommended time frame. Your vet will probably need to retest your dog for ringworm before giving you the “all clear.”
Some owners keep their dogs in rooms that are not difficult to clean when contaminated with ringworm. This makes it simpler to control stray hairs and to wipe with a disinfectant suggested by your veterinarian.
Hard surface floors will work best. Also, make sure you vacuum often (daily if possible) to gather up the dog hairs. This will help you to keep ringworm situations better under control which is very important.
How to Prevent Ringworm in Dogs?
Keep your dogs bedding and areas they live in clean! Routine cleaning is the very best way to prevent your dog from getting ringworm.
Also, limiting their exposure to other animals can help. Pay attention when your dog is around other animals. Do you notice any ringworm symptoms on them? If so, it is smart to remove your dog from these other animals.
How to get rid of ringworm permanently
While there probably is not a way to permanently rid your dog’s potential of catching ringworm there are many steps you can take to try.
The ideal approach to preventing reinfection is to routinely purify the home environment and any items and bedding that the pet routinely comes into contact with. Also, limit their exposure to other animals.
Be sure to adhere to the guidelines of your veterinarian.
How Long is a Dog Contagious with Ringworm?
Contaminated pets stay infectious for around three weeks if aggressive treatment is used.
The ringworm will last longer and remain infectious for an undetermined amount of time if minimal measures are taken or if you are not consistent with the recommended approach.
Limiting contact to different dogs, cats and humans is required during this period.
Can a Dog Die from Ringworm?
Most dogs, when properly treated, will recuperate from ringworm contamination. Ringworm is not considered a life threatening condition for dogs. However, untreated or improperly treated, ringworm can lead to other health issues.
Larger health problems can occur if the treatment is stopped too soon or isn’t adequately adhered to. It is also possible your dog has a hidden illness affecting its immune system that you are unaware of.
Untreated ringworm in dogs
Even if your dog does not seemed to be bothered by their ringworm condition it is very important to treat it quickly and properly.
Untreated ringworm can rapidly spread and get much worse even covering your dog’s entire body. This type of situation can also greatly increase the risk of your dog infecting other animals and humans.
Additional Dog Ringworm Questions
Can ringworm in dogs go away on its own?
It is not a logical or smart approach just hoping your dog’s ringworms will go away on their own. This approach will put your dog’s health at risk so always take them to your veterinarian for advice and treatment.
How often to bathe a dog with ringworm?
Ask your vet about this first and follow their advice but generally bathing your infected dog twice a week or so can help.
Make sure you follow your vets instructions on how to bath your dog that has ringworm as they are very contagious.
Ringworm shampoo for dogs
There are special medicated shampoos for the treatment of ringworm but make sure you ask your vet for what they recommend and how to properly use it.
Home remedies for ringworm in dogs
Step one is to take your dog to your vet and have them diagnose ringworm. Step two would be to ask them what the proper treatment should be and follow your vets instructions.
If your vet feels there is a suitable home remedy for your dogs ringworm problem take their advice on how to implement the procedure.
Can dogs get ringworm from outside?
Sure they can. Because ringworm is highly contagious and transmitted by contact being outside can expose your dog to other animals or surfaces that they have contaminated.
How long to quarantine a dog with ringworm?
How do you know when ringworm is no longer contagious?
Most medical professionals say that ringworm is contagious as long as you can still see the red lesions and sores.
Can I pet my dog if he has ringworm?
Since ringworm is highly contagious it makes good sense not to pet (or touch) your dog while they are infected.
How do I know if my dogs Ringworm is healing?
Healing should be noticeable on your dog as the hair loss spots grow smaller and hair even starts to grow back. You should also see the red spots fading away.
If you don’t see positive results from the prescribed treatment let your vet know right away.
Other Types of Worms
Tapeworm in Dogs
Tapeworms can cause significant health problems in your dog. They are usually found in the dog’s stool. However, a variety of different kinds of intestinal worms can also be found using a feces test.
Heartworm in dogs
Heartworm is a serious health issue for your dog. A blood test can generally identify heartworms. Occasionally, a radiograph, ultrasound, or echocardiogram is required.
The American Heartworm Society says that in the beginning phases of the sickness, numerous dogs show few side effects or no indications. Be advised that the sooner therapy starts, the higher the success rate. An annual test for heartworms is a wise choice.
Your vet can prescribe deworming medications to treat various intestinal parasites including heartworm.
If your dog shows any indications of worms your veterinarian will probably request a feces test. Even when there are no symptoms, it could still be helpful to have this test by your vet when your dog has their yearly checkup.
Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog!