My Dog Has Ringworm, Now What?

Ringworm in dogs is a very common disease, but ringworm is not a worm but a fungus - little spores land on susceptible skin and start feeding on the dead skin cells. Its appearance as a red ring of rash led to the misnomer ringworm!


Some of the visible signs to detect whether your dog maybe suffering from ringworm disease:

- Small hairless patches on the body
- Scaly skin with dandruff like flakes and with pus in the area
- Red ring of rash
- Common areas of attack are the face, tips of the ears, tail and paws


There are several different types of ringworm or fungi; Microsporum canis is the most predominant one found on dogs and cats. Transmission happens through direct contact with another infected animal or person. People can give it to dogs and vice versa. The fungal spores can live for a very long time in the environment and can usually be found in carpets, bedding etc and infects dog or human when they come in contact with it.

Once your dog is infected with ringworm it can remain contagious for up to 3 weeks and this duration is when the dog is undergoing aggressive treatment. What is heartening to know is that most dogs usually develop immunity to the ringworm disease.


Ringworm usually last as long as 8 weeks without treatment and then disappears. However to avoid your dog suffering, treatment must be given to cut down the time it will be contagious (please consult your vet if you suspect your dog has ringworm.)

Vets usually prescribe the anti fungal drug Giseofulvin that acts as a fungal inhibitor. This drug has side effects like diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. This tablet does not get absorbed from the stomach unless there is fat included so try giving it to your dog with some fatty meat for it to be effective.

Vets may also prescribe a topical antifungal medication to be applied on the affected areas for a specific period. Be very careful not to get in your dog's eyes.

Antifungal shampoo baths should be given under the guidance of your Vet. You should also bathe any other dogs and cats you may have one time with the shampoo. Don't forget to lather well and leave on for 5 minutes at least.

Lime sulphur dips twice a week are often recommended. It is better for your Vet to administer the dip as it stains clothes and jewelry and worse - it stinks like rotten eggs!

Using a mixture of bleach and water in the ratio 1:10, wipe down all visible surfaces and vacuum daily. Steam clean your carpets and curtains and wash out your dog's bedding and kennel with the bleach solution and lots of hot water. This should kill most of the spores.


While there is no definite procedure to guarantee prevention of ringworm, you can adopt preventive measures like limited exposure of your dog to other dogs; maintain good hygiene in your home and with your dog's things; groom your dog thoroughly on a regular basis; and by taking steps to avoid cross contamination and human transmission.

by Brandon Roe

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