General Information on Ringworm in Humans and Animals
Despite the name ringworm is not caused by worms. We now know
ringworm as a fungus. The infectious disease is caused by a mold like fungi
known as dermatophytes. Moist places are known to be a transmitting area as
well as having direct contact with infected animals or humans by sharing
personal items such as combs, clothing or by touching the infected area.
Ringworm can be caught by humans or animals such as dogs or
sheep. It can spread from animal to humans, humans to humans, or humans to
animals. Ringworm is not as big a problem as it used to be due to the advances
in technology and medicine. However, outbreaks do occur and can be devastating.
For instance, just recently, an animal shelter in Canada was struck with a bad
case of ringworm and almost all the animals had to be put down so the disease
would not spread.
The common symptoms of ringworm are itching, burning dryness, or
circular flaky rashes on the skin. On animals the symptoms are a bit different
which consists of hair loss in the affected area, itching scratchiness on a
specific part of the body. More than often hair loss is in circular patches.
These patches may also be in a irregular shape.
Ringworm may be misdiagnosed because of its symptoms being
similar to numular eczema and pityiasis rosea. People can get ringworm at
different times in their lives. For example, foot ringworm is not common in
children and more common in adults. The most common type of ring worm in
children is scalp ringworm that may come from the outbreaks at school or in child
care centers. The problems with treating scalp ringworm are because of the
ringworms resistance to treatment.
Anti fungal cream is more often the treatment for adults. The
ringworm creams include terbinafine hydrochloride which disrupts the fungus’s
ability to produce ergosterol. Which is the main component of fungi cell
membranes. Medications target this part of the fungi and will eventually
Coming in contact with someone who has ringworm can happen and
you should properly clean yourself. Ringworm is contagious. Although, if you
have already contracted ringworm, try not to scratch the infected area. Doing
so may cause the ringworm to spread to other areas on the body. Over the
counter products may not clear up your ringworm, therefore you should see your
family doctor as soon as possible.
What does ringworm look like in dogs?
In dogs, ringworm has a number of different appearances, most
often areas of hair loss with a crusty covering, or (rarely) may be
asymptomatic. Patches of ringworm may look like a grey, scaly patch in some
dogs, but more like a red lesion in others. You may see some hair loss or
patches of broken hair. But lots of other (more common) skin conditions look
Young, elderly, or long-haired dogs are more commonly affected.
Generally, ringworm lesions appear on dogs’ paws, legs, head and
ears, but they can appear on any part of the body.
Dog Ringworm Pictures
Dog Hair Loss and Ringworm: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
If you can see on your dog’s skin patches
that are circular and crusty and the diameter of the patches ranges from twelve
to fifty millimeters, there’s a good chance that he or she has been infected by
the skin disease called ringworm. Patches that are caused by ringworm are
reddish at the sides and hairless in the middle. This can be a major cause of
hair loss in dogs as well as other health issues. It needs to be identified and
The disease is fungal in nature and the involved parasites, Microsporum
Canis, attack both the hair follicles and the hair strands themselves.
Modes of Transmission
The transmission mediums of the parasites are soil and hair
strands that are infected. Part of the things that you should do to control the
spread of the disease is cleaning or disinfecting carpets, furniture, toys,
combs, and brushes. Your home should be made sure that it is free of the
parasites because they can infect humans.
If the dog is feeling itchy, it is not the ringworm that’s
directly causing the itch. Some secondary infection is causing it. Thus, you
need to act early and perform regular checking on the dog’s skin and watch out
for the following symptoms.
Development of crusts and scabs – these signs need to be checked
especially if the dog is licking or scratching too much.
Check if the animal’s nails are deformed, or brittle, or cracked
Check for lesions that are nodular in structure and round in
shape. These lesions are a little bit raised from the skin. Veterinarians call
these lesions as kerions.
The hair may fluoresce green when subjected to ultraviolet rays.
Fluorescing hair strands can be subjected to laboratory examination to
determine if it is ringworm that’s causing the phenomenon. Fluorescing hair
strands can be caused by other diseases.
One or two of these things might be the culprit in the
development if the disease.
Do not use grooming tools on more than one dog and constantly
disinfect your own dog’s grooming implements. Open wounds are particularly
appealing to the parasites.
Household dust is an easy companion for the parasites. If it is
possible for you, use an electrostatic duster. Dirty places are favorite
breeding grounds for the parasites.
Always ensure good health for your dog. The parasites can easily
sense a weak immune system.
A healthy dog can easily get rid of the disease in two to three
months on its own, but it will be highly likely that your vet will prescribe
medicine. This is to ensure that the disease won’t progress and infect the
members of your family. The vet would most probably prescribe an antifungal
cream, and in cases where several bodily areas are compromised, would suggest
that you use an antifungal shampoo. Three to four weeks is the minimum
Despite the Ringworm
Despite the disease, don’t forget giving your dog your loving
care. However, always disinfect yourself after touching or caressing the dog’s
body. Use alcohol or always wash your hands.
Just don’t let the animal feel that he is being treated coldly.
It can help speed up the healing process.
This article is not a substitute for professional advice. If you
are in any doubt or have any concerns about the health of your dog you may wish
to consult with a professional for diagnosis and treatment at the earliest
Can I Get A Disease From My Dog?
Is it possible the family dog will also be a
risk to the household when it comes to the spreading disease? Is it likely that
a dog will pass on germs to humans?
There are several diseases that can be transferred from dogs to
humans, these are known as zoonotic diseases (can be transmitted from animals
to humans). Not all diseases that affect our pets can be transferred to people
but of the ones that can, they can potentially be serious. Below are some of
the most common zoonotic diseases that dogs can pass to people.
Ringworm is a common skin disorder also known as tinea that can
affect the skin on the body, scalp, feet or the groin. Ringworm is not as its
name implies, caused by a worm. It is a skin infection caused by a fungus.
Ringworm is contagious; it is passed by handling contaminated items such as
combs, unwashed clothing and shower surfaces or by direct skin-to-skin contact
Roundworms (nematodes) have long round bodies and are
invertebrates (animals having no backbone). Their size ranges from those
plainly visible to the naked eye to those only visible only under a microscope.
Roundworm eggs or larvae can enter through the skin or be picked up on the
hands and transferred to the mouth by the soil that they are found in. Apart
from the roundworm that causes trichinosis, adult roundworms live in human
intestines and can cause health problems.
Tapeworms in dogs are caused by swallowing a flea infected with a tapeworm larva. A dog may eat a flea while grooming. Once the flea is digested inside the dog, the tapeworm larvae develop into an adult tapeworm. The adult tapeworm is made up of many small pieces each about the size of a grain of rice with adult tapeworms measuring 4-28 inches long. Inside the intestines, the tapeworm matures and these pieces detach and pass into the feces.
Tick Borne Diseases, as the name suggests are diseases spread by ticks. Unlike fleas, ticks are not insects, but arachnids like spiders, mites and scorpions. Ticks go through a four-stage life cycle, eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults. In the United States Lyme disease is by far the most often reported tick-borne disease in humans and is passed on when bitten by an infected blacklegged tick.
While dogs can pass germs to people, it is not likely you will
get sick from touching or owning dogs. The best protection is to wash your
hands thoroughly with running water and soap after contact with dogs, dog
saliva, or dog stools. Keep your dog healthy and clean, use flea and tick
Skin Care for Dogs
Skin health issues among dogs are among the most common problems
encountered by owners and, in many instances, the most complicated to treat.
These canine skin disorders vary in severity, frequency and duration from acute
issues requiring little to no care beyond proper hygiene to chronic problems
requiring lifetime treatment involving topical, oral and even surgical means.
See the Vet
Although most of the skin disorders mentioned in the following
section are not considered as life-or-death emergencies, an accurate diagnosis
is of utmost importance. Despite appearances, canine skin is highly sensitive
so even the smallest hot spot can become infected when it is scratched for
prolonged periods. The good news is that most skin disorders respond well to
treatment, if and when these are accurately diagnosed.
The signs that it is time to see the vet are when the dog:
• Is excessively licking and scratching its skin and coat
• Shows changes in its coat and/or skin, which include redness,
bald patches, discoloration and scaling.
Keep in mind that self-medication in dogs can worsen the skin
Skin Disorders Explained
Let’s take a brief look at several of the skin disorders among
dogs and their possible treatment methods.
• Allergic Dermatitis – This is an allergic reaction (i.e., ugly rash) to food, grooming products and other irritants. Corticosteroids along with avoidance of allergens are the best treatment.
• Yeast Infection – Symptoms include excessive ear scratching and licking of toes. Treatment includes topical creams, oral drugs and medicated baths.
• Impetigo – Pus-filled blisters break out on the skin. Topical antibacterial creams are often sufficient to treat it.
• Ringworm – This is a fungal infection characterized by scaly patches, hair loss and inflammation. Antifungal treatments are the best treatment method.
• Mange, Fleas and Ticks – These are caused by parasitic animals that cause severe itching, red sores and even anemia in dogs. Special topical applications, oral drugs and medicated baths are necessary.
• Skin Tumors – These are characterized by hard lumps on the dog’s skin. Surgical excision is essential although cancerous cells will require more aggressive methods.
• Hot Spots – These red, irritated and inflamed areas of skin result from many conditions. Treatment is a two-pronged approach, clean the spot and treat the underlying condition.
In all of the abovementioned skin problems among dogs, the most
fundamental treatment is proper skin care. The topical applications, oral drugs
and medicated baths will be of little to no use without proper skin care on a
Tips on Proper Hygiene
The first step in proper hygiene for dogs is getting the right
products. We are talking about shampoos and conditioners, deodorizing sprays,
and even sunscreen and sunblock, among others. We suggest using these skin care
products according to the manufacturers’ instructions and veterinarians’
Let’s first discuss the use of sunscreen and sunblock since many
dog owners believe that their pets do not require these products. Dogs,
especially breeds with naturally thin to non-existent hair coats should be
applied with either sunscreen or sunblock when going outdoors, regardless of
whether it is a sunny or cloudy day. This is because dogs are also vulnerable
to sunburn and skin cancer, just like their owners.
The usual routines in proper skin care for dogs must also be
followed. Brush the dog before and after its bath, which will make the hair
glossier, cleaner and less matted. Bathe the animal with moisturizing products
containing vitamins A and E; silk, oat or wheat proteins; oils from sunflower
and safflower; and humectants, among others.
It is also important to provide dogs with nutritional
supplements along with a healthy diet and moderate exercise. Keep in mind that
good skin care in dogs should be undertaken with a wholistic approach.