Dog Ringworm: What Does Ringworm Look Like on a Dog?

Why it's crucial to address your dog's ringworm promptly! Our Vancouver veterinarians provide comprehensive guidance on identifying, treating, and understanding this common condition. Protect your furry friend from potential complications by staying informed.

What is Ringworm?

The surprising truth about ringworm! Unlike hookworm, roundworm, or tapeworm, ringworm doesn't belong to the worm family at all. It's a fungal infection that creates circular or semi-circular bald spots and red rashes on the skin, resembling worm-like rings.

What Does Ringworm Look Like on a Dog?

Ringworm characteristically appears in a circular or ring-shaped pattern on the skin, usually causing the skin to turn red, lose hair, and swell up.

Ringworm in your dog may not present itself in such a noticeable manner, so you should keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Inflamed, red skin rash
  • Scales that look like dandruff
  • Itchiness (pruritus)
  • Dry, brittle hair with hair follicles that break easily
  • Circular or patchy areas of hair loss (alopecia)
    Darkened skin (hyperpigmentation)
  • Reddened skin (erythema)
  • Scabs or raised nodular lesions on the skin
  • Inflamed folds of the skin around the claws or bordering the nails

If you notice any combination of these symptoms in your pup, contact a vet immediately.

How Does a Dog Get Ringworm?

Ringworm can be spread through direct contact with an infected animal or from an object that has been contaminated, such as towels, food or water bowls, couches, or carpet. The fungus spores can survive for months, which means ringworm can be spread through the fur that your dog has already shed. The fungus can also remain on surfaces or get trapped in the fibers of carpets, drapes, linens, etc., in your home if they're not cleaned.

Dogs can contract a fungal infection while playing outdoors, as certain types of fungi can exist freely in the soil. Your dog's immune system may be able to defend against the fungus, but in some cases, it could lead to a skin infection that might be localized or spread across the body. The severity and extent of the infection depend on various factors, such as your pet's overall health, the specific fungus involved, the area of the body affected, your dog's age, and more.

Sometimes a pet can be a ringworm carrier without showing any visible symptoms. If your dog has been diagnosed with ringworm, having your other pets checked by a veterinarian is a good idea to be safe. You should also alert any fellow dog owners and dog-walking buddies that your dog has been infected and is being treated and that they should watch for signs of ringworm in their pets.

How is Ringworm Treated?

If your pet has ringworm, don't worry! There are effective treatments available. Your vet will select the best solution based on how severe the ringworm is.

The treatment process is simple and usually free of complications if the fungus is treated promptly. Your vet will likely prescribe either a topical medication for the skin or an anti-fungal medication that can be taken orally.

To ensure a complete recovery, decontaminating your home and removing any contaminated items might be suggested.

Furthermore, your vet may recommend shaving the fur around the worst affected areas of your dog.

Remember, just because your dog stops showing symptoms doesn't mean they are fully cured. Continue the treatment until your vet confirms their recovery.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your pup is showing signs of ringworm, contact our vets at Mountain View Veterinary Hospital today.