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Has my dog got ringworm?

Ringworm is not caused by a worm but a fungal infection of the outer layers of the skin, hairs and nails.

It’s very contagious and can be easily passed onto other animals and even humans – either from direct contact or simply by being in the same environment as an infected animal.

Ringworm spores are very robust and can remain infectious in the environment for years.

What are the signs of ringworm in dogs?

  • Skin lesions, especially found on the face, ears, limbs and under the nails
  • Hair-loss in the shape of circular patches, revealing scaling, crusting, thickening or reddening of the skin.

The appearance of ringworm may be quite variable and can look similar to other skin diseases. It can affect large areas of the body, often with patchy hair loss. Ringworm in pets is not usually itchy.

How is ringworm in dogs diagnosed?

Diagnosis of ringworm is usually straightforward. Infected hairs can be examined under ultra-violet light or under the microscope for evidence of fungal infection. Your vet may send a fungal sample away for culture testing to be sure.

How is ringworm in dogs treated?

Ringworm can take 3-5 months to clear – during this time your pet will remain contagious and should be isolated from other animals. A combination of antifungal drugs by mouth and medicated shampoos and dips directly on the skin have been proven to provide the quickest treatment.

Treatment is always continued until your pet has two consecutive negative fungal test results. At this point you can release them from isolation and consider them cured from ringworm.

It’s a good idea to discuss costs with your vet before you start any treatments.

How do I avoid ringworm reoccurring in my dog?

If your pet has ringworm, restrict them to certain rooms of the house that are easy to clean. Thorough vacuum-cleaning is the best way to minimise environmental contamination and should be done as frequently as possible.

If any people in the house develop skin lesions (small patches of skin thickening and reddening, or patches of hair loss) they should seek early medical attention. Ringworm in humans generally responds very well to treatment.

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