Ringworm

A fungal infestation of the skin, hair and nails that can affect dogs and cats.

OVERVIEW

A ringworm infection is characterised by hair loss or thinning coat. As the fungus can persist in the environment, ringworm becomes a problem to manage in multi-dog households or kennels. In an infected environment, it can be found on bedding, food and water bowls, and toys. Dogs merely have to come into contact with an infected dog or environment to develop it. Puppies and older dogs are more prone to the infection.

SIGNS

Common signs of ringworm:

  • Dry, bald patches on the head, ear or forelimbs
  • Redness
  • Dandruff
  • Hair loss
  • Thinning coat

Diagnosis is made by seeing the fungus under an ultraviolet light or collecting a skin sample for culture testing.

MANAGEMENT

Ringworm in a healthy, mature dog often resolves on its own over months to a year. However, as it highly contagious to other dogs and people, it is important that any dog suspected of ringworm seek veterinary attention to minimise transfer to others and to prevent other skin infections from developing.

Treatment options:

  • Medication for at least 6 weeks
  • Environmental cleaning

Note: Ringworm is a zoonotic disease which means that it can be transferred from animal to human. Humans can develop ringworm from infected pets or contaminated environments. Seek medical advice from your local General Practitioner.

TIPS

Tips to help prevent ringworm from spreading:

  • Disinfect all bedding, toys, food and water bowls
  • Discard items that are too difficult to disinfect
  • Vacuum daily until all infected hair and skin cells have been cleaned from the carpet
  • Complete and balance diet