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.