Treating Ringworm in Dogs and Puppies

"Ringworm in dogs is caused by a fungus found in infected soil or an infected animal that causes a skin lesion that can appear in many different ways, but commonly causes hair loss in specific areas along with crusted skin. Dog ringworm symptoms are commonly found on the feet, face, underbelly and if on the feet, in the nail beds, causing dry and cracked nails. Puppy ringworm can cover the entire face and all feet. It is also possible for a dog to be carrying to spread ringworm without showing any symptoms. The condition is easily spread between pets and humans, in fact many cases in humans are tracked back to their dogs, which is why a diagnosis of human ringworm comes with a suggestion to have your dog tested as well. Ringworm diagnosis is done in a vet's office with a special lamp and a fungal culture (takes several weeks to read results). There are many treatment options including shampoos and skin treatments.  See multiple ringworm in dogs pictures below."


Ringworm in dogs is not caused by worms. It is actually a skin disease caused by a fungus. It can be spread when infected dog, puppy cat, pet or human comes in contact with another dog. The fungus lives in hair follicles, causing the hair to break off. It is most common to see the disease on the head, ears, tail, underbelly and front paws in the nail beds.

The disease looks like a circle on the dog's skin with raised edges, but it can take on a wide variety of appearances. It looks like the hair has been removed in a circle or patch with a pale spot at the center. Common ringworm in dogs symptoms include crusty skin, scaling and some redness. Odd shapes usually mean that multiple lesions joined together. It is easier to see lesions on younger dogs.

The disease usually occurs 10 days after exposure.

Ringworm On Dogs Face

Ringworm on Dogs and Humans

Ringworm in dogs can be spread between dogs, cats and humans. Children are more likely to get the disease than adults. Once someone gets the fungus, the spores can spread in bedding and blankets. If this is the case you need to wash exposed garments in bleach and water.

Diagnosis of Ringworm on Dogs

Your Veterinarian can diagnose Ringworm by looking at the skin of your dog, looking at the skin under a special ultraviolet light (called a woods light) , or by examining a sample of your dog’s hair using a special test (fungassay test). Tests using dogs hair usually take 1 to 2 weeks.

Since not all types of ringworm can be detected under the woods light, additional tests are often needed. Once your dog is diagnosed, treatment should immediately begin.

Pictures of Ringworm in Dogs Nose

Ringworm Treatment in Dogs

Ringworm treatment in dogs is based on the severity of the condition. Mild cases require the use of a topical or oral medication, such as a spot-treatment using an anti-fungal lotion or anti-fungal medicated pet shampoo. 3 baths every other day will help to get the fungus sports off the hairs. The lather from the shampoo should be left on the dog for 5 minutes. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle.

More severely effected dogs benefit from a full-body lime-sulfur dips such as Naturasil for Ringworm. Dips also can be preferable to any topical creams if your dog is prone to lick the cream off before it can take effect. The advantage of the Naturasil approach is also that it mixes with your dog's shampoo (or with the shampoo offered by the manufacturer), making treatment feel routine to your dog.

Shaving your dog's hair will also help to get rid of the fungus.

Often, dog ringworm will resolve on its own. When needed, treatments do not work overnight and often take 1 to 2 weeks. You may also see more hair loss before it gets better. If you do not see improvement in 2 weeks, revisit your Veterinarian. If after treatment the Ringworm comes back, it means the original treatment was too short.

It also may be a good idea to quarantine your dog in one room until treatment is completed.

Ringworm in Dogs Pictures Head due to M.Canis Which is Estimated to Cause 70% of Infections

Prescription Treatment

If you can, we suggest trying the Naturasil product or other topical treatments before using a prescription based approach due to potential side effects.

We suggest avoiding if possible the use of prescription tablets such asGriseofulvin as these can have side effects.. These tables are given to your dog everyday for 30 days. There has to be fat in your dogs stomach for the pills to be absorbed. You can give your dog a canned dog food or a small amount of fat from meat to ensure that the treatment works. THIS APPROACH SHOULD NOT BE USED DURING EARLY PREGNANCY IN YOUR DOG.

If a prescription medication is recommended by your vet, Itraconazole is preferred because it has fewer side effects, but as all good things, it is more expensive than other treatments.

Preventing the Return of Ringworm in Dogs

An infected dog can spread fungus spores throughout the house. These ringworm spores are a risk for reinfection and to humans that live in the home. To prevent reinfection, it is necessary to clean all exposed areas with bleach. Do the same to any fabrics that your dog came in contact with such as blankets or bedding.

Have A Question or Story About Dog Ringworm or Other Canine Fungal Infections?

Do you have a Dog Ringworm or Canine Fungus related Question for our Editors or a Helpful Story to Share? Please include information such as age, sex, breed, medical history, skin and other symptoms, medications your dog is taking, recent changes in behavior, etc. A picture of the condition would also be helpful.

We will do our best to get back to you quickly (depends on how many questions we receive each day). If you do require an immediate response we suggest using this online dog veterinary service that is available now.


www.vaat.org.au - Animal Aid e-News
IVIA - Ringworm Infection in Dogs and Cats

White-Weithers N, Medleau L.
Department of Small Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens 30602, USA.


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