Ringworm is a skin infection that can affect many of our four-footed friends, like dogs, cats, cows, and so on. It is a fungal infection that dogs can get on their bodies, including skin, hair, nails, legs, and tail. Also known as dermatophytosis, it is not fatal but unfortunately, is extremely contagious and causes a scaly inflammatory rash on the body of dogs.
Thankfully, a mixture of treatments available for the ringworm in dogs relies on how severe the condition is.
1. Causes of Ringworm in Dogs
Having contact with an infected human domesticated animal, or rodent, is the main reason for the infection. Direct contact or indirect contact with infected commodities (towels, beds, toys) is also a contributing factor.
Note: Some dogs are also silent carriers of ringworm with no visible scars or rashes.
1.2. Spores of Fungus
Spores of fungi can be found anywhere in the surrounding area like soil, mud, dirt, and the floor of the house. But they grow only when they get adequate conditions. Thus, the risk of getting an infection from there is high in hot and humid climates.
1.3. Immunity Factor
Immunity plays a significant part in battling against any disorder. So, a weak immune system, an unbalanced diet and poor hygiene of dogs are also causes.
1.4. Contagious but Fixable
Though, it is highly contagious. But it can be cured if treated adequately. The process of healing is indeed slow so requires patience and calm.
Note: Skin conditions like open sores make dogs more inclined to the ringworm.
2. Types of Ringworm in Dogs
There are three prominent types of fungus accountable for the ringworms in dogs:
- Fungus Microsporum canis: They tend to affect dogs, cats, and so on.
- Fungus Microsporum gypseum: They are organism of soil, that causes red inflammatory rashes
- Fungus Trichophyton mentagrophytes: They cause ringworm in domesticated animals.
3. Symptoms of Ringworm in Dogs
Signs of ringworm in dogs may include:
- It appears in the form of a circular rash with a crusty outer line. Sometimes the lesion might be seen differently.
- It leads to a skin condition known as Alopecia. Alopecia in dogs is a skin disorder that causes loss of hair. Usually, it grows on the face, tail, and claws. Thus, hairless patches can be seen anywhere on the body of dogs.
- As the inflammation contracts, the center part becomes clearer and the regrowth of hair can be glimpsed there in the middle of the infection. However, the grown hair in the center of the infection is weak and falls easily, followed by the spreading of the infection.
- Unlike ringworm in humans, in dogs, they are not often itchy.
- Fungal infections in dogs are coarse as well as inflammatory.
- If the fungus affects the nail area of the dog, it makes them frangible, dry, and coarse.
- Scaly, rough, and crusty skin can be spotted.
- Patches of red or grey raised lesions, sometimes might look pimply can be found.
- Excessive dandruff can be spotted.
4. When to See a Vet?
Ringworm might heal on its own. But it is a communicable disease and also causes enormous discomfort to your dogs. As long as there are lesions of the infection on the body of your companion it is contagious as well. So, if any of the above-mentioned symptoms are spotted, see a vet.
5. How to Treat Ringworm in Dogs?
The idea that a rash spotted must be a ringworm is not true often. It is advisable to see a veterinarian to confirm the infection once before starting the treatment. Usually, a vet uses the three most regular processes to diagnose the infection: Wood’s lamp, PCR test, and fungal culture. Amongst them, Wood’s lamp is more frequent. As it emits UV light that can confirm the fungus’s presence.
However, there are some methods to treat ringworm in dogs:
- Antifungal creams and lotions as prescribed by the vet (generally the name of over-the-counter creams ends with a sole)
- Antifungal shampoos are found to be more beneficial. Every other day one should bathe his dog with it twice a week until the infection heals.
- Oral medications like terbinafine, fluconazole, and so on are used in some cases as prescribed by the vet. Sometimes the stomachs of dogs might get upset by this. So, it is recommended to deliver it as per prescription.
- Infected dogs should be isolated during the treatment to avoid contamination of infection to other pets or persons. As ringworms are highly contagious, environmental decontamination is also necessary to prevent the spread of fungal infections.
- Disinfect objects like rugs, couches, hairbrushes, dog utensils, toys, and anything that is in contact with the infected dogs.
6. Top Natural Remedies for Ringworm Treatment in Dogs
6.1. Neem Oil
Neem has many antifungal and antibacterial properties. So, it might be effective for ringworm infection. Take 5 drops of neem oil and apply topically on the rash with the help of cotton swabs. Repeat this thrice a day, until the condition heals.
6.2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar comes with many medicinal advantages and also has antifungal properties. So, just soak a cotton ball in it and apply it thrice a day on the infected area.
6.3. Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass essential oil is beneficial for many kinds of infections. It can cure ringworm rash. Take 2-3 drops of lemongrass essential oil and mix it with other oil like coconut or almond oil. Then, apply it on ringworm wounds of dogs thrice a day.
Garlic has always been great for many fungal and bacterial infection treatments. Cut a clove of garlic. Separate a piece and slice it in half. Then, rub a side of it to the ringworm inflammation of your four-footed friend. It might help to heal the infection.
6.5. Oatmeal Baths
Put the ground oatmeal in the bathing water at room temperature and bathe your dog there for about 10 minutes. And then, let them dry. It might offer them relief from itchiness as oatmeal contains a soothing effect.
Note: Many instances are found where natural remedies are effective and successful. But it is a slow process and ringworm is a highly contagious disease. Thus, medical treatment under a vet’s guidance is the best approach to deal with this condition.
As said, Prevention is better than cure. Some measures must be followed:
- Maintain the hygiene of your four-footed friends.
- Always clean their daily stuff such as toys, food bowls, and clothes.
- Keep your companion neat.
- Bathe them regularly. And make them dry properly after the bath. Don’t bathe them excessively.
- Change their bedding regularly. Also, keep their bedding separate. So, the infection doesn’t spread to others.
- Always keep an eye on your dog’s skin. So that, you can spot the infection caused by ringworm immediately and can provide them with early treatment .
- Keep your home neat and clean. Also keep other objects like couches, beds, and rugs sterilized.
8. Risk Factors
As ringworm is an extremely contagious fungal infection, there are high chances of it being transmitted from infected dogs to humans and other animals who have close contact with them. In humans, a ringworm is correspondingly known as an Athlete’s foot. So, take proper care of personal hygiene to avoid any risk.
Dogs with weak immune systems are more prone to get infected by ringworms.
9. Cost of Treatment
Treatment of Ringworm is not a quick process. It is a slow healing process and takes weeks and days. It requires a lot of tolerance and duration as well. Thus, the treatment can be a bit costly. However, there is no need to worry as there is a wide range of options for medicines available. Have a proper discussion about your finances with your veterinarian. He must recommend the medicines accordingly.
Dog insurance can be a big support to you in this case. One should know about its importance and do this once you get your four-footed friend in the house. It might be a good prospect for assuring financial backup.
10. Final Words
Ringworm is a highly contagious skin condition that causes red inflammatory rashes on the bodies of dogs, cats, rodents, and humans. It is a kind of fungal disorder that causes crusty and scaly skin lesions and can form anywhere like claws, nails, ears, legs, and tails on the body of dogs. It creates enormous discomfort and can be itchy sometimes. It also causes the loss of fur where inflammation forms.
It is not a life-threatening disorder. It can be treated. There are several treatments to recover from this condition such as self-care, antifungal shampoos, antifungal creams and tablets, oral medication, and natural treatment. However, topical creams are more beneficial. Immediately see a vet whenever you notice the symptoms of ringworm in your dogs and start medication as prescribed by the vet. The healing process is slow and gradual. So, there is no need to worry. Just be patient and calm!