Does My Dog Have Ringworm?

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Ringworm is a fairly common, yet often misunderstood, parasite in dogs and cats.
Ringworm is not a worm at all, but actually a fungal infection.
There are three main types, two that affect animals and one that only usually causes problems in humans (such as athlete's foot).
Unfortunately, the most common form, called Microsporum, can be spread from animals to humans.
It is spread through direct or indirect contact, such as a brush or blanket that touched the affected areas.
Though most healthy dogs don't carry ringworm spores on their skin or fur, spores from an infected pet can attach to the animal's environment and live for more than a year and a half.
Symptoms of ringworm in dogs include scaly bald patches, mainly around the head, ears and tail, which can also appear red and raised.
Though they may appear to be so, the patches are usually not actually itchy, but they will "expand" as the innermost area heals and the outermost areas become infected.
A vet will probably diagnose ringworm by using a special black light called a "wood's lamp.
" Certain species of the virus will glow a fluorescent color under this lamp.
Another common way to diagnose ringworm is to do a culture on a sample of the scaly, bald skin.
Luckily, most small, isolated ringworm spots on dogs will heal themselves within several months.
To expedite the process, make sure the infected area is constantly dry, cool and clean.
You can even wrap the area with gauze to make sure sunlight doesn't help aid the fungi's growth.
For more severe cases, daily anti-fungal creams can help alleviate irritation.
For the most serious cases, an anti-fungal shampoo or dip is recommended.
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