Ringworm Skin Infection (Dermatophytosis) in Dogs

Ringworm is a fungal infection that affects the hair, claws, or skin, hair. The causes of ringworms in dogs can be attributed as follows; almost 70% are due to the fungus Microsporum canis; 20% to Microsporum gypseum; and 10% by Trichophyton mentagrophytes. The fungus responsible for causing this disease transmits easily through the environment, making it easy for humans to contract the disease.

Majority of ringworm cases are as a result of touching infected animals or contaminated items, for example grooming tools or furniture. It must be noted that contact does not always lead to infection. Typical sources for transmission of the disease are broken hairs that have connected spores. The development of the disease is usually dependent on the species of fungus and certain host features, such as nutrition, health, age, grooming, and condition of exposed skin surfaces. Any infection that occurs tends to result in short-term resistance to possible re-infection.

In most situations, the dermatophytes develop only in the dead cells of hair and skin, so the infection cannot affect either inflamed tissue or living cells. As the tissues get more inflamed and the host develops immunity, additional multiplication of infection ceases, though it may be several weeks before this process takes effect.

Dogs that are infected develop hairless, scaly areas of skin with ring-like whirls of broken hair. The parts of the body most affected by ringworm are the feet, face, tail, and ear tips. Methods used to diagnose ringworm include fungal culture, direct microscopic examination of hair or skin scale, and inspection under an ultraviolet lamp. The most precise method to use is to take a fungal culture of hairs and scrapings from the infected areas. Early diagnosis requires direct analysis of hairs or skin scrapings through a microscope.

Although ringworm infections frequently dissipate with no treatment, the speed recovery can be increased by using medicated shampoos. It may not always be effective to use such treatments. Your veterinarian can give you more advice on any treatment that may be suitable for your pet and instruct you on any steps you should take to prevent ringworm infection not only in yourself, but members of your family also.

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