Updated by Sheryl on Aug 6, 2021
Many people are surprised and ask whether dogs have ringworm. Yes, dogs have ringworm. But do not worry much. This article here is to give you all you need to know about your dog and ringworm.
Do not be confused about the name “ringworm”. Ringworm is not a worm, it's a fungus that causes infection. Take, for example, you may think Greenland Island is all covered with green vegetation. But this is far from the truth because much of Greenland is covered by extensively massive ice sheets. Ringworm is a contagious skin infection caused by fungi living or non-living dead tissues of the body’s nails, skin, and hairs. The name ringworm comes from the unique physical appearance of the red and round raised ring pattern signifying the borderline of inflammatory lesions in those infected with ringworm. It can affect both humans and animals. Ringworm feeds on the fibrous protein, which forms the major structural components of nails, hoofs, horns, hairs, furs, and so on.
Some of us mostly have strange feelings when we get to hear animals also have some of the infections humans have, with ringworm being one of them. Ringworm is common in many parts of the world and actually infects many species of domesticated animals with dogs being inclusive. Dog owners need to be fully conversant with the symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention of ringworms on dogs.
The causative fungi of ringworm belong to the specialized pathogenic group called dermatophytes.
Some species of dermatophytes, infect only one animal, while other species can be transmitted among very different species of animal. Some species can spread from animals to humans. It is of importance to note that dermatophytosis can be a zoonotic infection. This means that it can be transmitted from dogs to humans, and as well from humans to dogs.
There are three major fungal species causing ringworm in dogs. These are Microsporum canis which causes 70% of ringworm cases, Microsporum gypseum which causes 20% of ringworm cases, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes which causes 10% of ringworm cases. These three species of dermatophytes can infect humans and are zoonotic. These three species of dermatophytes can infect humans and are zoonotic. This is also a wake-up call for us as dog owners to be on the lookout for ringworm in our dogs and be proactive for our sake and other members of our family.
The fungus, causing ringworm in dogs exists and thrives in the peripheral layer of dog skin, nails, and hair follicles. Exterior infections commonly affect several areas of the dog's body. Ringworm in dogs is highly contagious and can be transmitted when a dog comes in direct contact with an infected animal or human. Ringworm infection in dog may also happen by indirect contact whereby a dog comes in contact with a contaminated object (like carpets, beddings, food, drinking water bowls, couches, and combs). It is worthy of note that the fungal spores causing ringworm in dogs can persist on environmental surfaces, brushes combs, or beddings reportedly for 18 months.
Is it all dogs that come in contact with ringworm fungal spores that become infected? The answer is – NO! There are some factors that contribute to your dog becoming infected with ringworm. They are:
It is highly important for dog parents to know the symptoms of ringworm in dogs.
This will go a long way in helping to prevent transmission of the infection to other pets and humans as well. Despite the fact that ringworm in dogs is not life-threatening the contagious nature makes it important for a veterinary doctor’s intervention, the symptoms of ringworm in dogs after exposure to the fungal spores can take up to three weeks to develop.
The symptoms of ring worms in dogs include:
It should be known that there are some dogs with ringworm called asymptomatic carriers. These dogs show no signs but have the ability to spread the infection to other dogs, animals, and humans. This becomes a huge problem in dog kennels and shelters.
Treatment of dog ringworm can last for a couple of weeks before the full effects can be seen. The method of treatment of dog ringworm depends on how severe it is, the number of dogs involved, the presence of susceptible humans, and ease of environmental disinfection.
The line of dog ringworm treatment is geared towards the combination of topical therapy, systemic therapy, and total elimination of contaminations in the environment.
Dog ringworm can be transmitted easily to humans. This can be seen in children or adults with the compromised immune systems. We should ensure to reduce exposure to the infected dog. Always wear hand gloves when attending to dogs with ringworm, and wash your hands well after contact.