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What does ringworm look like on a dog?

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 Oklahoma City 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, most commonly as patches of hair loss with a crusty coating or (in rare cases) as asymptomatic. Ringworm patches in dogs can look like a grey, scaly patch or a scarlet lesion. Long-haired dogs, as well as those who are young or old, are more vulnerable.

If you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog, take him to the veterinarian:

  • 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 him to the vet right away because he will require treatment to recover. Veterinarians use various methods to diagnose ringworm. Your veterinarian may use an ultraviolet lamp to examine your dog's fur and skin. This is the most reliable test, but it takes 10 days to yield results.

What are the treatment options for ringworm?

Ringworm is easily treated with oral medications, lotions, sprays, and shampoos. If your dog or other pet has a history of skin problems, visit the veterinarian as soon as you notice any symptoms. Depending on the severity of the infection, your veterinarian may advise you to treat all of your dogs simultaneously. Ringworm can cause hair loss, rashes, and other symptoms that look like those of another illness to the untrained eye. There are several effective treatments for ringworm in dogs.

Depending on the severity of your dog's ringworm infection, your veterinarian will advise you on the best treatment for them. The most common ringworm treatments are as follows:

  • 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 spreads through direct contact with an infected animal or contaminated substance. If carpets, curtains, and linens are not cleaned, ringworm can linger on them or become trapped in their fibers.

Even if there are no obvious symptoms, a pet may be a ringworm carrier. Ringworm spores are tenacious and can live for a long time in the environment, so keep your affected dog in a single room while you treat them. If you treat your dog without removing the virus from your home, he may become ill again.

To remove spores, thoroughly vacuum and steam clean soft furniture and carpets on a regular basis. Disinfectants should be used for any other cleaning needs. Consult your veterinarian for the most effective disinfectants.

How long should I quarantine a dog with ringworm?

Ringworm can last anywhere from 6 weeks to 18 months, but it is not as serious as other illnesses or diseases. It won't kill your dog or cause permanent damage. While the therapy is ongoing, it is best to confine your dog to a separate room in your home and limit contact with other pets or family members.

Ideally, quarantine your dog for six weeks while you fight ringworm. Although this may appear to be difficult, it should be much easier and less expensive than fighting ringworm on a daily basis.

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 Oklahoma City vets today for an expert opinion and treatment options.

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Putnam North Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our team is passionate about the health and well-being of dogs and cats from across Oklahoma City. Get in touch today.


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