Ringworm isn’t fun – but it’s curable! Here’s what to do if your dog contracts this fungal infection.
If you notice a round or circular red raised lesion on your dog’s skin and patchy hair loss in that same area, it is fairly certain your dog has ringworm. Pet parents may recoil at the thought of “worms” infecting their pooch. But rest assured, ringworm has nothing to do with worms. It is an extremely common and highly contagious fungal infection that can affect dogs, cats, other domestic pets, livestock – and people, too!
What is it, and how can you get rid of it?
Ringworm (a.k.a., dermatophytosis) lives on the surface of dead cells of the hair, skin and claws. It easily transmits from dog to dog or from dogs to humans because anything a dog (or human) touches can be contaminated and harbor the fungi – from bedding, pillows and carpets to brushes, bowls and toys.
So, how do you get rid of ringworm in dogs? First, consult with your veterinarian to determine the extent of the infection and to make sure it’s not a more serious skin condition. Ringworm lives and thrives on the top of your dog’s skin or in your pet’s broken hair or fur spores. Ask your veterinarian if you should trim your dog’s fur in the infected area.
Topical solutions and shampoos work well because they are designed specifically to combat the problem. Banixx products have strong anti-fungal properties and low pH levels that prevent ringworm fungal spores from surviving. This is noteworthy because a balanced pH level of the skin’s acidity and alkalinity is important in dogs. Their skin is more sensitive than human skin and an imbalance can cause bacteria and fungi – such as ringworm – to grow and spread.
There are many over-the-counter anti-fungal creams, ointments and shampoos at pet stores or available online. Dogs with ringworm usually respond quickly to the topical solutions. But since it’s so contagious and can return if not completely eradicated, you must be vigilant about following the instructions for application until the ringworm is completely gone, which may range from four to eight weeks. In addition, you’ll have to take time to thoroughly disinfect your pet’s bedding, toys and other commonly used items. This includes cleaning and vacuuming your home regularly until the ringworm is eradicated. This is of vital importance in getting rid of ringworm because the ringworm spores that your pet sheds can be contagious for months. While it’s not an easy task to keep your dog quarantined from children, senior citizens or other pets while she has ringworm, it’s easier in the long run to contain the infection so you’re not constantly battling reoccurrences.
Does it affect all dog breeds?
Any dog can get ringworm. Some breeds such as Yorkshire Terriers, Boston Terriers and Jack Russell Terriers contract it more often than other dogs.
Puppies and elderly dogs or dogs with health problems are more susceptible to ringworm due to their weaker immune systems. Certain scenarios may increase a dog’s risk including dogs in shelters or group situations, dogs used in hunting or for working, or dogs that live in unsanitary or crowded home conditions.
Can my cat get ringworm?
Like dogs, cats can get ringworm but it is more prevalent in kittens, younger cats and feral or stray cats. The symptoms and appearance are very similar to ringworm in dogs. In cats and kittens,it is usually found on the skin of the face, the ears, the chest, forelegs and along the ridge of the back. Topical solutions such as Banixx products for cats are an excellent choice for your cat’s ringworm.
If you suspect your pet has ringworm, contact your veterinarian to determine the best approach for you, your family and your fur babes!
Maryanna Savage Phinn is an animal lover and freelance writer based in the Philadelphia metropolitan region. She writes about health and wellness topics that affect people and pets alike. Contact her at email@example.com.