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What To Do If Your Pet Has Ringworm

Noticing red spots, flaky skin, or bald spots on your pet? If your pet doesn’t suffer from allergies, it could be ringworm! Today we’ll educate you on what ringworm is, how it’s diagnosed, and how we treat it if your pet is presenting it in our office. You should know that ringworm can be spread between humans and pets, as well as other pets in your home. If you do notice ringworm in your pets and it’s after hours, be sure to head to UrgentVet immediately!

Contrary to belief, ringworm (dermatophytosis) is not caused by an actual worm, but a fungus. This disease occurs in cats, dogs, and other mammals, and can be spread between pets and from pets to humans! Today, we’ll tell you what to look for when diagnosing ringworm, how to handle the situation, and what treatment options would be best for your pet.

Pets most often develop ringworm after infections are caused by the fungi Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. This can occur if your pet is dealing with an illness or on a medication that decreases your pet’s immune functions and leaves them more susceptible to infections of the skin, hair, and nails.

Ringworm Symptoms To Look For

In some pets, there will be no physical signs of ringworm present. In most cases, you should be looking for dandruff, red or flaky skin that is raised, itchiness, hot spots, or hair loss. You may also notice redness or sores around the paws or nails. In most cases, the problem will be in one centralized location but if this disease is untreated is can spread to a larger area of your pet’s body.

What To Do If You Notice Symptoms

If you see the symptoms of ringworm in your pet, please contact us immediately. This disease is contagious and can spread to other pets, humans, and a larger area of your pet’s body is not properly treated in a timely manner. We diagnose ringworm with a few different methods that depends on your pet’s condition. These methods include: skin clippings, microscopic examination of sample hair, and possibly a biopsy. If you notice some symptoms but nothing physically present on your pet, we may look at the suspected infected area under an ultraviolet light to diagnose.

Treatment of Ringworm

Depending on the severity of your pet’s infection, treatment can range from the use of medicated ointments and shampoos to oral medication, if necessary. It’s important to keep pets that do have ringworm quarantined from other pets in the household in shared areas to avoid spreading to family other members.

Preventing The Spread Of Ringworm

Now that your pet had diagnosed, treated, and is back home – it’s time to disinfect! If you did receive special shampoo to fight ringworm, be sure to bathe all household pets with it to kill any of the infection that may have spread. Wash all pet bedding, toys, clothing, and anything they come into contact with often. Be sure to vacuum the house thoroughly as well to get rid of any infected hairs.