Dog ringworm symptoms, causes, and treatments

Your dog may have ringworm or might come in contact with it. Therefore, you should know the symptoms, causes, and treatments for ringworm.


Dogs can come in contact with many different health problems over their life span.

Some problems you can treat yourself while others will need veterinarian help. Ringworm is only one type of health problem your dog could come in contact with and spread to other pets or your family members. Ringworm is something that you can treat yourself but you will need help from your veterinarian. The veterinarian will need to diagnose ringworm and choose the best action of treatment to be used.
Ringworm is curable but can be very annoying and highly contagious. Dogs can get ringworm in many different ways. Ringworm is caused by exposure to certain fungal spores around the dogs’ environment. It can also be passed on from one pet to another. The fungal spores can live up to thirteen months and are very difficult to remove from the area your pet comes in contact with. From the time your dog comes in contact with ringworm and when it begins to show in your dog can range from ten to twelve days.

Ringworm is a skin disease that appears as skin lesions and normally has a circular appearance. There are four fungal species that cause ringworm in dogs. The fungi live in the dog’s hair follicles and cause the hair to break off at the skin level. This normally causes your dog to have hair loss in round patches. As the ringworm spreads the lesions may appear in different shapes over the dog’s body. Ringworm is diagnosed in three ways. First is by identifying the ringworm lesions on the skin. Second is by using an ultraviolet light. The infected hairs will be fluorescent under this light. However, only two of the four fungi species that cause ringworm to become fluorescent. The third is to have a culture of the hair done to know if ringworm is present. This is the most accurate way to test for ringworm but can take up to three weeks to be diagnosed.

Treatment for ringworm can be shampoo, cremes, or oral medications. The shampoo is used most often in the treatment of ringworm. You may need to cut all or some of your dog’s hair to make the shampoo more effective in the treatment. Antifungal cremes are used if your dog has small lesions or on any areas your dog has little hair growth. Antifungal oral medications are used in certain cases but can cause side effects. That is why oral medications for ringworm are only prescribed in certain situations. Treatment will take a while to see results. The hair loss areas will get larger before they begin to get smaller. After two weeks of treatment, the dog’s hair loss should stop and the skin should begin to look normal. Your dog can remain contagious for up to three weeks or longer after you begin treatment.

When you begin treatment on your dog for ringworm you should take additional steps to prevent it from remaining in your dog’s area. You will need to dispose of your pets bedding and toys. You will have to vacuum your carpet. Then steam clean your carpet and other furniture.  If there are other items you can not dispose of then you should clean them very well with bleach and water.