What Causes Ringworm in Dogs?

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If you’re familiar with ringworm, then you’re already aware of the harsh symptoms that are associated with this infection. However, if ringworm is still a fairly new subject to you, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with its symptoms and side effects so you can properly treat your dog if he becomes infected.

What is ringworm?

Most people are surprised to find out that ringworm is not actually a worm at all, but instead is a parasitic fungal infection that attacks dog’s skin. Dogs can become infected with this fungal infection due to several causes, but luckily for owners, ringworm isn’t life threatening, and can easily be treated with proper medication.

Even though ringworm is not the most common skin infection in dogs, as a pet owner it’s important to be aware of it’s symptoms and preventative tactics so you can keep your dog as healthy as possible.

How does a dog become infected with ringworm?

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There are numerous ways that your dog can become infected with ringworm. In most cases, ringworm is spread through direct contact with an infected animal. In other cases, dogs can get ringworm just by touching a couch, carpet, Frisbee, counter top, or chair that has traces of the lingering fungus.

Also, if dogs are in more populated areas with other animals, such as kennels or shelters, they are more likely to get the infection just by being in close proximity. Unfortunately, once the dog has been infected, the fungus can continue to grow for over 18 months, or until they have fully shed their coat.

This contagious fungal infection has several key symptoms that dog owners should be aware of. Some of the most common symptoms of ringworm in dogs include circular patches of hair loss all over the body, which are normally accompanied by dry and brittle hair.

Ringworm may also cause a dog to have scabby and inflamed skin or possibly rough and brittle claws. These indicators are very common in dogs who are diagnosed with ringworm, however in some cases, dogs may show no symptoms at all.

Keep in mind that dogs are prone to other skin conditions that may exhibit similar symptoms. If your dog is showing any of these signs, take him to the veterinarian for further examination.

Diagnosing Ringworm in Dogs

In order for your pet to be properly diagnosed, it is critical that they receive veterinarian attention as soon as symptoms occur. Once your dog is properly diagnosed, your vet will be able to discuss a specified treatment plan.

This treatment plan will take a variety of factors into consideration, including the number of pets in the household and the severity of your dog’s symptoms.

Treating Ringworm in Dogs

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There are a variety of steps you must take in order to effectively treat ringworm in dogs. First, a topical therapy in the form of a medicated cream or shampoo will be prescribed by your vet. In more severe cases, your vet may prescribe an anti-fungal oral medication alongside the topical medication. It is also important that you thoroughly clean your entire home in order to disinfect all areas that have been exposed to the ringworm fungus.

Quarantine procedures may also be recommended if there are other pets within the household. The purpose of this is to separate your infected animal while he is being treated, so he doesn’t infect other people or animals in the treatment process.

How to Prevent Ringworm in Dogs

As a pet owner, it’s critical that you are aware of the preventative measures you should be taking in order to avoid ringworm. Fortunately, there are several strategies that will help to keep your pet healthy and ringworm-free.  One of the best ways to prevent ringworm in your dog is by cleaning his bedding, water and food bowls, toys, and other frequently used items on a weekly basis.

It’s also important to bathe your dog regularly to keep his coat in its best condition. The last preventative measure is to take your dog to the veterinarian for regular check-ups as often as possible.

At the end of the day, its important to remember that ringworm is curable. The best thing you can do as a pet owner is to spot the symptoms as soon as possible. If you notice any changes in your dog’s coat or skin, take him to your local veterinarian right away for further examination. If ringworm has yet to infect your furry friend, follow the preventative guidelines to keep your pet happy and healthy.

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