Dog Ringworm Infection
Definition of Ringworm
Despite its name, ringworm actually has nothing to do with worms. Ringworm, also known as dermatophytosis, is a fungal infection of the outer layers of skin, nails, hair follicles and hair fibers. It gets its name from the circular areas of hair loss and scaly skin, surrounded by a worm-like red ring, which accompany the condition. Some of the fungi that cause ringworm spend their entire lives on their hosts; others are free-living in the soil. Ringworm is extremely contagious. It is spread by direct contact with fungal spores in the soil or on fur from an infected animal. Ringworm is not itchy and usually doesn’t cause many bothersome symptoms. However, the hair loss and dry skin create a rich environment for bacteria to settle in, which is irritating and can cause dogs to rub and scratch at the infected areas. Owners should consult with a veterinarian if they suspect that their dog has ringworm.
Despite its name, ringworm has nothing to do with worms. It gets its name from the circular areas of hair loss, surrounded by a red ring, that classically accompany the condition. Also known as dermatophytosis, ringworm is caused by one of several different fungal organisms. The species of ringworm fungi that most commonly infect domestic dogs and cats are Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum andTrichopyton mentagrophytes. All of these fungi thrive in the non-living outer layers
Ringworm, also called dermatophytosis, is an infection caused by exposure to one of several forms of environmental fungi. Once the fungi become established on a dog’s hair, toenails or superficial layers of skin, characteristic ringworm signs begin to appear. By itself, ringworm is not particularly itchy and usually doesn’t cause any bothersome symptoms in affected animals. However, it does cause hair loss and scaly skin, which creates a rich environment for secondary bacterial skin infections.
Ringworm in companion dogs can mimic a number of other skin disorders and probably is over-diagnosed. Sometimes, a presumptive diagnosis is made based on what the dog’s skin lesions look like, without actually identifying the cause of the problem. Fortunately, several tests are available to help veterinarians arrive at an accurate diagnosis of ringworm infections. The initial evaluation typically includes taking a thorough history from the dog’s owner and conducting a complete physical examination. The
Ringworm can be effectively treated once the causative organism is identified. The goals of treating ringworm are to eliminate the infective fungal organisms from the dog’s skin, restore the skin and hair coat to a normal condition and prevent the spread of the infection to people and other pets in the household.The best treatment protocol for ringworm is a three-step approach that involves applying topical medications, administering oral drugs and treating the external environment. Topical