Ringworm and Your Pet: What You Should Know
If your dog is losing fur in circular patterns and has red, scaly patches on his skin, they may be infected with ringworm. Regular pet grooming will alert you to changes in your animal’s coat and treatment for disease and infection. If you notice that something isn’t right, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away. Your vet can confirm a ringworm infection by diagnostic testing at our clinic. The team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital is here to explain what ringworm is, how it affects your pets, and how to help:
What Is Ringworm?
Ringworm isn’t a worm at all. It’s a mold growth (fungus) on dead skin and spreads through the distribution of spores. Small and lightweight, fungal spores easily spread through the air and sometimes water.
What Are the Symptoms of Ringworm?
The infected area generally appears as a reddened, scaly circle patch of skin, and it’s itchy. Ringworm affects hair follicles, making them brittle, so hair (fur) breaks off.
How Did My Pet Get Ringworm?
The fungus, known as dermatophytosis, is contracted through contact. If it’s in the soil where your pet walks, that might be the start of a household-wide infection. Ringworm is highly contagious and can pass between humans and animals. If a household pet has ringworm, there is a good possibility that humans and other pets have it too.
Watch out for contact with these other potentially contaminated sources can spread the infection:
- Grooming tools
- Food and water bowls
- Litter boxes
- Pet bedding and toys
Cats tend to contract ringworm more often than dogs, but an infected pet means everyone in the household is exposed and could potentially become infected.
Should I Call My Veterinarian If I Think My Pet Has Ringworm?
Anytime your pet shows signs of skin irritation beyond what you expect from a bit of scratching or normal biting, it’s time to visit the vet for a checkup. Dermatological issues can lead to skin infections and may indicate underlying health issues.
What is the Treatment For Ringworm?
Ringworm spores may be tiny, but they are tough and can live to reinfect a household for as long as a year! Treatment is imperative, so what can you do once you’ve received a ringworm diagnosis?
- Keep infected pets/humans away from others while being treated with prescribed topical antifungal medicine.
- Isolate infected pets while you disinfect ALL contaminated surfaces and objects, including bedding, carpets, scratching posts, and clothing.
- Because the fungal spores are hard to get rid of, assume they are still around and clean, clean, clean!
Ringworm is Common and Highly Treatable
If you see evidence of ringworm on a pet’s skin, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Ringworm is easy to diagnose, and the treatment is usually a topical antifungal that you can apply at home.
Your veterinarian team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital wants to see your pet if you notice changes to his skin. We encourage you to practice daily grooming to spot early signs of dermatological issues. An easy way to stop the spread of skin diseases is to disinfect pet brushes, combs, and clippers after use.
Help us keep your pet healthy with regular wellness visits, and always call us if you are uncertain about your pet’s wellbeing. Call us at (210) 681-1391 or use our convenient online appointment request form.