Ringworm has derived its identity by the misnomer, that it is an infection caused due to a worm masquerading under the epidermis layer. However, as mentioned, it is a false notion that leads to highlighting the actual definition of ringworm. Ringworm or dermatophytosis is an infection caused due to the infestation of various types of fungi hampering the hair or the hair follicles of the skin. Ringworm may be predominantly seen in animals and may be transmitted from an infected animal to another. Animals are known to carry the fungal transcriber and pass it on to their owners or other animals. Cats and dogs are generally the potent convicts of ringworm.
Causes of Ringworm in Dogs
According to a research conducted with reference to the type of fungi that affect the hair follicles.
- Microsporum canis is one type of fungus which is found predominantly in cats and has the potential to be transferred through contact to other animals as well.
- Trichophyton mentagrophytes; a fungus type that is found in dogs and is transferable in nature.
- Another fungus type that hails from the same family tree is called Microsporum gypseum. This infestation is burrowed in soil. So when you see your little dog or your very own cat digging into the soil to find a bone-y treat for itself, don't neglect its endeavors and instantly retract them from doing so. It may perhaps dig out a cause of worry in the form of developing ringworm and becoming a communicator of the same.
Methods to Diagnose the Cause of Ringworm
Evaluating and diagnosing which type of fungus is the prime factor in causing ringworm in dogs becomes a critical study. However, there are three methods in which the cause of ringworm can be revealed. Dermatophytosis can be identified by methods such as:
- Woods Lamp; where an ultraviolet source of light is passed through the dog's skin.
- Fungassay Test/Fungal Culture; a test where a culture of the dog's hair follicle is considered and is observed for a stipulated period for any traces of the infection.
- It can also be diagnosed by the loss of hair in patches, especially from the area near the ear, the paws and the eye circle and showing visible ringworm symptoms in dogs.
Symptoms of Ringworm
Your dog is suffering from ringworm if you notice:
- Patchy skin; rough and scaly.
- Hair loss from specific areas.
- Hair loss in patches that form dents exposing the skin surface.
- Onset of follicles being infected and developing into pustules and cysts.
- Excessive itching with papules developing on the skin; they appear in the form of lumps.
- Redness around the skin lump or lesion.
Ringworm Treatment for Dogs
- Taking your dog to a vet may prove helpful. It is better if you take up the case in neonatal stages rather than neglecting it and letting the infection manifest on other animals and even family members.
- The vet may pull out hair from the root to check and rule out the possibility of countering any other skin condition. He would either prescribe an antifungal cream; preferably one that is absorbed instantly by the skin which further seeps into the affected area extricating the infection.
- You may be asked to shave off the dog's hair. You may not like this proposition, especially when your dog's hair is a great asset to his personality, however it is an effective method to counter ringworm.
- Using antifungal shampoos to bathe your dog works well. You may leave the shampoo on the dogs coat for a few minutes and then scrub it off. The mechanism of this shampoo is very similar to shampoos that are specifically formulated for human usage when they counter lice.
- Make sure that you wash off the blankets and other linen that may have come in contact with your pet. Vacuum clean the carpets and upholstery, so that there are no traces of hair or spores swimming in the environment.
The best way to prevent the spread of ringworm is to keep your dog isolated from areas of the house, predominantly frequented by family members. Maintain dog hygiene by giving him a statutory bath and brushing his coat as and when. Keep children away and do not allow them to play with pets until they are thoroughly disinfected. The disinfection process with these treatment methods may take two to three weeks.