Pet Care Pro Show, Pet Health Tips

Does My Pet Have Ringworm?

How do you know if your pet really has ringworm? Sometimes different skin issues can form a “ring” looking spot, and that can make it hard to identify ringworm. In this Pet Care Pro show, we’re talking about ringworm and its imposters.

Ringworm & Other Skin Problems in Dogs and Cats

How Do I Know if My Dog Has Ringworm?

Ringworm is tricky because it can look like a lot of other skin issues such as seborrhea, dermatitis, hot spots, and pyoderma. Those are all skin problems that are often mistaken for ringworm since these issues *can* sometimes form a “ring” looking spot.

Seborrhea can be dry, oily or both and you’ll notice flakiness, itchiness and red skin.

Hot spots often appear as hot, red and moist areas, most commonly on the trunk, tail base, thigh, neck, and face. Hot spots can also lead to hair loss and intense itching.

Pyoderma is most common in dogs and cats that have a lot of wrinkles and facial folds. Symptoms of pyoderma include inflammation and the skin will be greasy and oozy and often a bad smell is noticed coming from the infected area.

What Does Ringworm Look Like on a Dog?

In some cases it actually is ringworm. In those cases, you have to really be careful, because ringworm is highly contagious, even to humans. Ringworm shows up as small round lesions that cause patchy hair loss. It is not usually itchy but it is very contagious. Cats, dogs, birds, horses and even humans can get ringworm. If treated aggressively, infected pets remain contagious for about three weeks. Now if you do nothing at all to treat it, it will generally go away on its own, but that can take much longer. And just because a pet gets ringworm once, doesn’t mean they can’t get it again. The ringworm fungus can remain in the environment for up to 18 months.

If you see the small round lesion and patchy hair loss, you can always contact your vet for a diagnosis. Otherwise, there are two main ways to diagnose
ringworm at home. The Fungassay Ringworm test kit requires a hair sample from the infected area and you’ll get results within one to two weeks. The other option is ultraviolet light or a Portable Woods Lamp.

How Do I Get Rid of Ringworm on My Dog?

If you notice any of these skin issues it is best to treat any skin issues right away before it spreads. Vet Basics ChlorConazole is a great place to start. Since it’s antibacterial and antifungal it is effective against, bacterial, fungal and yeast infections. It’s also a good idea to take your pet to your veterinarian to get an accurate diagnosis. Early treatment is much less expensive and less time consuming than waiting to begin treatment.

Vet Basics Lime Sulfur Dip works well in these cases. Lime Sulfur Dip is effective against several skin issues caused by parasites, fungi, and bacteria such as ringworm, mange, lice or other types of dermatoses. Just remember, lime sulfur has a strong odor that smells like rotten eggs, but thankfully that smell usually goes away soon after dipping. Lime Sulfur Dip can be used on nursing females and kittens and puppies as young as four weeks. Just be sure to wipe the dip off of the mammary glands before returning a mom to her babies. Lime Sulfur Dip is stressful on a pregnant mom, though, so it’s best to avoid it in those cases.

Since so many skin problems are contagious, taking precautions before breeding will help eliminate a lot of headaches down the road. Stud dogs and breeding females should be given a bath with Vet Basics Chlor 4 Shampoo before breeding to ensure nothing is transmitted back and forth during the breeding process.

Before giving birth, pregnant moms should again be bathed with Vet Basics Chlor 4 Shampoo or Vet Basics ChlorConazole Shampoo or Spray
to stop the transmission of these skin problems to her babies. Many shelters and rescues find it helpful to bathe pregnant females that have an unknown history or are not in the best condition just to be sure.

Most oral therapy is not safe for pregnant animals, so that’s important to keep in mind. But if the animal isn’t pregnant, a combination of topical and oral treatments are generally successful at eliminating these types of skin infections. It’s best to talk to your veterinarian about which oral treatment would be best for your animal.

How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Ringworm?

Preventing these skin issues from spreading starts with making sure your pets environment is free of any of these ringworm spores, bacteria or yeasts. If you have a pet that gets ringworm, vacuum your carpets, furniture, and other fabrics frequently, and throw the bag away right away.

Whatever disinfectant you use, be sure it kills fungal spores, bacteria, and yeasts! Fungal spores are the size of dust and can fly around and bury themselves everywhere. Disinfect all bedding, laundry, cages, kennels and equipment with a disinfectant that has residual properties, such as Health Guard Laundry Additive and Disinfectant.

Chlorhexidine disinfectant is very good at controlling bacteria, yeast, and fungi including ringworm, plus it’s safe and can be used in and around the kittens or puppies while nursing. Oxine, Rescue, and Virkon also work well. Fogging with Oxine helps get a handle on fungal spores. It settles where we can’t get the spray disinfectant and hopefully gets the spores in those tiny spaces.

Shelley Hexom

Written by: Shelley Hexom

Content Manager

Shelley Hexom is Revival's Content Manager and helps develop educational pet health resources. A three-time Emmy® Award-winning news anchor, Shelley works with Revival's Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, to help create useful and easy-to-understand articles, videos, and webinars. Shelley received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from Winona State University in 2002. As a pet owner, Shelley enjoys time with her Boxer mix, Sally. Shelley has been part of the Revival Paw Squad since 2016.

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