What is Ringworm?
Contrary to popular belief, ringworm is actually not a worm at all, but a skin condition caused by a fungal infection. There are several different varieties of fungi associated with ringworm; the incidence of each fungus is dependent upon your geographical location.
The occurrence of infection is widespread across the globe and may be transmitted to nearly every species of domestic animals, including canines. It can even be passed on to humans. It is therefore imperative that owners not only be aware of the symptoms, but also know the causes and subsequent treatment options for this unpleasant skin infection found in dogs.
Identifying Ringworm: Recognizing The Symptoms
Dermatophytosis, more commonly known as ringworm, is indicative of the round, red, and often raised appearance that is also seen human ringworm skin infections. Although it is not a life-threatening disease, it is extremely contagious and requires professional treatment and management as administered by a veterinarian. As pet owners, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of ringworm in dogs in order to prevent the spread of infection to people or other animals.
Ringworm is a superficial skin condition affecting a few specific areas of the body (primarily the head, ears, paws and forelegs), and typically, you will notice inflammation at the site of infection. In canines, the fungus lives and grows in the outermost epidermal layer and in the hair follicles, and sometimes the nail beds.
Tell-tale signs of ringworm in dogs include circular areas of hair loss across your dog’s body, including lesions that may start to heal in the middle as they increase in diameter. This usually results in a patchy appearance of the coat, accompanied by redness, scaling, nodular lesions and scabbing of the skin.
Dogs who suffer from this condition most frequently include puppies (due to an immature immune system and a consequent inability to fight off mites), older dogs, and dogs with compromised immune systems or preexisting health conditions.
On occasion, there are inapparent carriers, i.e., dogs who carry the disease-causing fungus but are asymptomatic. Despite showing any signs or symptoms, they are still contagious and therefore capable of spreading ringworm to both humans and other animals.