Did you know that a fungus causes ringworms in dogs? If you did not, you are not alone. Most people assume that a worm causes this skin condition. There are so many types of parasites out there. This is why many people tend to put ringworms in the same category as tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms.
What Is a Ringworm?
Ringworm is a fungal infection that affects almost all types of domestic animals, including dogs. This is why it is important to know the causes, symptoms, and treatment options. You also need to know how to prevent your canine friend from getting this type of fungal infection.
Scientifically known as dermatophytes, ringworms are a collection of pathogenic fungi. In humans, they appear as red, round, and raised rings on the skin. About 70 percent of ringworm cases in dogs result from the Microsporum canis fungus, while 20 percent come from the fungus Microsporum gypseum. Trichophyton mentagrophytes cause the remaining 10 percent of the cases.
Where Does the Fungus Live?
The fungus lives and grows in the hair follicles and outer layer of the affected dog’s skin. Sometimes it lives and grows in the nails. In most cases, the infection is superficial and will only affect a few areas of your dog’s body. However, some older dogs, puppies, and dogs with weakened immune systems can have a more widespread infection of ringworms.
How Ringworms Spread in Dogs
The infection tends to spread through direct contact with the fungus. For example, when your furry friend comes into direct contact with a person or animal infected with ringworms. It can also happen when your dog touches a contaminated surface or object such as a carpet, couch, bedding, food bowl, or comb.
You also need to understand that the fungal spores that cause the spread of ringworms can remain viable for up to 1 ½ years. Usually, they spread through the breaking or shredding of infected hairs.
How to Protect Your Dog
Ringworms feed on a protein known as keratin, found in hair and the upper layers of the skin. This fungal infection thrives in areas with plenty of moisture and heat. This is why more dogs tend to get ringworms during the warmer seasons or in homes where the heater is always running.
Ringworms are highly contagious. They can move from dogs to humans and back quite easily. As stated earlier, the most common method of transmission is through direct contact with an infected animal or person or a contaminated surface.
The best way to prevent your dog from getting ringworms, therefore, is to keep them out of such situations. If you have to keep your canine friend for some time in a kennel, ensure the facility is regularly disinfected and spotlessly clean.
Also, remember that ringworm spores can remain dormant but alive for many months on the skin and other surfaces and objects. You should wash all of your dog’s toys, beddings, and other accessories such as leashes, harnesses, and collars. Vacuum your carpets frequently and avoid contact with infected animals and people.
You should also ask your veterinarian to recommend the most effective medicating shampoo for your dog. This will minimize the risk of the ringworm spores remaining alive and re-infecting your animal companion. You should also bear in mind that your dog can get ringworms several times.
To learn how to prevent your dog from getting ringworms, visit Madison Animal Care Hospital at our office in Madison, Alabama. You can also call 256-461-7575 today to schedule an appointment.
For emergencies, you can visit Madison Animal Care Hospital at our office in Huntsville or Madison, Alabama. You can also call (256) 461-7575 or (256) 715-8389.