Can ringworm make your dog sick? Get Your Pet Thinking

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With so many parasites out there, it is tempting to lump ringworm in the same category as hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. Despite its name, however, ringworm is not actually a worm—it is a fungus. This fungal infection is common all over the world and infects almost all species of domestic animals, including dogs, which is why dog owners should know the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for ringworm.

Ringworm, as the fungus is commonly called, is named for the round, raised, red ring appearance usually seen in human ringworm infections. Ringworm, scientifically known as dermatophytes, is a collection of pathogenic fungi. In dogs, 70 percent of ringworm cases are caused by the fungus Microsporum canis, 20 percent are caused by the fungus Microsporum gypseum, and just 10 percent are caused by Trichophyton mentagrophytes.

The fungus grows and lives in the outermost layer of skin and in the hair follicles of infected dogs, and occasionally in the nails. The infection is superficial, and in most cases only affects a few areas of the dog’s body. Puppies, senior dogs, and immunocompromised dogs sometimes suffer from more widespread ringworm infections.

What does ringworm in dogs look like?

In the dog, ringworm lesions usually appear as areas of hair loss (alopecia) that are roughly circular. As these circular lesions enlarge, the central area heals, and hair may begin to regrow in the middle of the lesion. The affected hair shafts are fragile and easily broken. These lesions are not usually itchy, but sometimes they become inflamed and develop a scabby covering. In most cases, there are several patches scattered throughout the body. Occasionally, fungal infections of the nails may occur. The claws become rough, brittle, and broken.

Some dogs may have ringworm fungi present in their hair or skin without showing any clinical signs of disease. These dogs can spread ringworm to other animals or people despite having no obvious skin lesions.

Ringworm In Dogs: Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the symptoms of ringworm in dogs include bald, scaly patches of skin along with hair loss. You may also notice irritation and inflammation in the affected areas. These symptoms typically appear on the face, the tips of the ears, the tail, and the feet. While there are symptoms of ringworm in dogs that you may recognize at home, it’s important to take your dog to the vet to get them diagnosed and learn how to treat ringworm in dogs.

Ringworm in Dogs Symptoms, Causes and Treatment | DiscountPetCare

Despite what its name implies, ringworm isn’t caused by a worm or other parasite that dogs can contract, like heartworms, tapeworms, etc. In fact, ringworm is a contagious fungal infection that’s common in nearly all domesticated animals, including dogs. We’ll help you know how to identify ringworm and what you should do if you suspect your dog has it. Table Of Contents

Ringworm, also called dermatophytes, is a group of fungi that causes infection in the outermost layer of the skin and can also live in hair follicles and sometimes in a dog’s nails. The infection is called ringworm because of the raised, round ring that appears in humans with ringworm infections.

In dogs, however, it’s frequently not ring-shaped. The most common fungal species that cause ringworm infections in dogs are Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes.

Ringworm spreads easily by direct contact with an infected animal or person or by touching contaminated objects, like food bowls, bedding, a brush, and even contaminated surfaces in your home like furniture or carpeting. But be aware that the fungal spores in your home can cause infection for up to 18 months.

Ringworm infections aren’t life-threatening and typically only affect a few areas of the body. However, the infection can become more widespread in immunocompromised dogs, puppies, and senior dogs. It can take from 7-21 days for dogs exposed to ringworm to start showing signs of an infection.