Ringworm in dogs– Although it tends to think that ringworm is caused by a worm, in reality the cause of this infection is always a fungus. Ringworm is present all over the world and affects all kinds of animals as well as our dog, even the human being.
In this article we will discover what exactly this infection consists of, how it is spread and what its main symptoms are, so that we can distinguish them and take measures as soon as possible.
We will also talk about how ringworm is diagnosed in dogs and the most common treatments that specialists recommend to be able to end it, thus preventing the fungus from spreading to other family members. Ready to get into the subject? Well, let’s go there.
What is dogs ringworm?
Ringworm is a fungal condition, caused by the fungus Microsporum canis. It is a very contagious infection and can be transmitted by direct contact between an infected animal and an unconfected one, or by transmission through toiletries, bedding, collars, ectoparasites and / or exposure to a contaminated environment.
Microsporum canis infections are usually due to contact with an infected animal, mainly cats. The human can also suffer from these mycoses.
In our furry friends, Microsprum gypseum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes can also cause ringworm. It is suspected that most Trichophyton infections are due to contact with infected rodents or their nests.
These organisms live and reproduce on the skin and in the hair follicles, which is where hair grows. The dogs most vulnerable to ringworm are puppies, older ones and those with a weak immune system due to illness.
How is Ringworm spread to dogs and humans?
Ringworm is transmitted in dogs by direct contact with the fungus. In this way, if the dog touches an object or is related to an infected animal or person, it can become infected.
The spread is done through the spores of ringworm fungi, which are normally present in falling hairs and can be on the sofa, in a comb, in a food container or on clothes for 18 months.
Therefore, it is important to take all possible precautions to prevent it from spreading. Humans can also be infected by Microsporum canis, with babies, the elderly and people with health problems being at greater risk.
As more outstanding symptoms in the skin of the human can appear a skin rash and circular with red patches,raised, also in the hair It can start with a pimple, similar to a pimple, to end up spreading over a larger area that produces a loss of hair to tufts, the nails are discolored, become white or yellowish, thick and even split.
Symptoms of ringworm in dogs
Ringworm in dogs is not fatal, but it is very contagious. Therefore, it is important to know well the symptoms of this condition so that, if it is detected, a veterinarian can put the dog in treatment right away.
In this way we will avoid that other dogs or people can be affected. The most common symptoms of ringworm in dogs are:
- Brittle and dry hair
- Fragile and rough nails
- Yellowish crusts and scales, which also have a bad smell
- Changes in the appearance of the skin or inflammation.
- Circular lesions accompanied by hair loss (alopecia).
In fact, these lesions or areas are one of the most obvious signs of ringworm in dogs. They usually begin to heal from the center and sometimes, when they become inflamed, scabs appear. Contrary to what is usually believed, ringworm does not itch.
If your dog shows these signs, do not hesitate and take him to the veterinarian to check him and can confirm if it is ringworm or other fungal or skin conditions of the dog, which may be related to lack of nutrients, allergies, canine hypothyroidism or Cushing’s Syndrome..
What factors predispose your dog to suffer from the disease?
Although contact with the aforementioned fungi are the main cause of contagion, there are other factors that can further increase the risk of ringworm.
- Breeds such as Yorkshire terrier, German short-haired Braco, Fox terrier, Labrador retriever, Belgian Shepherd Groenendael, Beagle, Jack Russell terrier, German shepherd and Jagdterrier) are especially predisposed to suffer from the disease.
- Diseases such as hyperadrenocorticism, or the use of some treatments, mainly corticotherapy, can favor the appearance and worsening of fungal lesions, through the deterioration of immunity.
- In addition to the pre-existence of wet dermatitis, ideal conditions for the spores of the fungus to lodge.
Diagnosis and treatment of ringworm in dogs
When we take the dog to the veterinarian, the professional will examine the lesions and will be able to take samples from the circular areas to give a diagnosis. The definitive diagnosis is made by fungal culture, to correctly determine the therapy to be followed.
If ringworm is confirmed in the dog, the specialist must decide which treatment is the most recommended, taking into account the severity of the infection and its state of health.
The veterinarian is extremely important for the control and prevention of the disease, since, due to its high zoonotic potential, it is essential that there is a rapid confirmation of infection in animals, with the establishment of appropriate treatment, thus limiting the contamination of the environment and the contagion of other animals or humans..
Therapy therapy depending on the intensity of the lesions can be antifungal ointments only, or in combination with oral treatment.
And remember: it is very important that you disinfect the entire environment of your furry companion well and continue with the treatment for ringworm until the end, even if the signs in the dog have “disappeared”. Conidia (fungus structures) are very hardy and can remain viable in the environment for years. In this way, the chances that this fungal infection can resurface when we thought we had won the battle will be reduced.