You’ve probably heard of humans getting ringworm, but did you know that dogs can too? As it’s medically referred to, dermatophytosis in dogs is somewhat familiar. In this article, we will discuss what it means when your dog is diagnosed with it and what you can do to help it recover.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
What is Dermatophytosis?
Dermatophytosis or ringworm is a fungal infection caused by some common organisms such as:
- Trichophyton mentagrophytes,
- Microsporum gypsum,
- And microsporum canis.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to remember these names; identifying it as ringworm in dogs is good enough! But it’s important to understand that ringworm can happen to dogs, cats, humans, and other animals – and it can be spread from one to another, which is all the more reason to be able to identify this condition in your animals and get it treated right away!
Symptoms and Clinical Signs of Ringworm in Dogs
The first thing that will tip you off is seeing skin lesions on your dog. Of course, not every skin lesion is ringworm; it could also be another disease. But when the lesion is combined with some of the following, it could indicate ringworm:
- Hair loss (the technical term is alopecia),
- Crusty skin by or on the lesions itself,
- More dandruff than average,
- Skin ulcerations.
You’ll also probably see dermatophytes in any of the following places:
- Hair shafts,
- Nails or claws,
- Body surface,
How do dogs get ringworm?
This skin disease is passed on due to direct contact with fungal spores that cause it. Direct communication doesn’t mean your dog has to touch another dog’s ringworm lesion; if a dog or animal with ringworm has slept on a bed and then your dog does, it’s possible to pass along the fungal spores and the infection. For this reason, some geographic locations are more prone to these fungi than others.
Your dog can also get ringworm when it suffers from a poor immune system (usually because of other sickness) or nutrition.
If you suspect your dog to have dermatophytosis, you should take them to the veterinarian’s clinic for a proper diagnosis. They will see the symptoms and make a diagnosis based on that. The vet may do a microscopic examination of some of your dog’s hair or skin or even do a skin biopsy (this is usually not required, though). Most vets we’ve encountered commonly see the symptoms and know it’s ringworm.
Quarantine Your Dog
Some vets may also recommend quarantining your dog to reduce the chances of spreading the disease through environmental contamination. This may be necessary, especially if you have other pets or kids. This is usually when we remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals. We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.
If you feel your dog may have been infected with dermatophytosis (or any other fungal infections), be sure to have them checked out by a professional. This way, you can be confident that you’re doing everything possible to ensure they get the proper care. Like our saying goes around here…
“When in doubt, have a vet check it out!”
Treatment for Ringworm in Dogs
Most of the time, a topical therapy like anti-fungal creams is enough. You might have to shave your pet to make getting to the infected skin areas easier. Additionally, your vet may want you to bathe your dog in prescription medication shampoos and be sure to wash any bedding that your dog may have used while infected.
We should also point out that…
It may take a while for the ringworm to go away completely. As with all fungal infections, the most important thing is to be vigilant and thorough with treatment. Your dog has a lot of skin; if the condition remains in any area, it can reoccur to a full-blown problem.
Cost of Treatment
The significant cost of dermatophytosis is typically the diagnosis, sometimes more than $100. All of the medications and shampoos will also cost a bit of money. And while the cost of these medications isn’t a lot compared to other illnesses that your dog can get, it can still add up pretty quickly, particularly if the ringworm isn’t taken care of with the first treatment.
This is why…
You may become a regular at your veterinarian’s office for quite a while once your dog does get diagnosed with ringworm. Sometimes, getting rid of ringworm in dogs takes months and multiple visits, especially if it’s in a severe state initially. Like with most illnesses in dogs, you should take your dog to the vet at the onset for two reasons: A. because your dog should get treated to avoid suffering and B. to avoid making treatment more expensive than it has to be!
Which brings us…
The last topic we want to mention quickly is the idea of purchasing a pet insurance policy on your animal so that if it develops a medical condition like dermatophytosis, you can use your insurance to help manage the cost of treatment.
Now, will a pet insurance policy be “right” for everyone?
No, of course not. But until you understand how they work and what they cost, how will you know if one isn’t “right” for you?
For more information about who we “feel” currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies in the industry, we encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.