A dog bites at its leg.

Unlike parasites with a similar sounding name like hookworms and tapeworms, ringworm is actually a fungal infection that can infect domesticated animals like dogs. A dog can get infected with ringworm from simply touching a contaminated item like a rug, which is why it is important to know the signs of this infection so you can get the medical attention you need to clear it up.

Blue Valley Animal Hospital wants to help you avoid issues with ringworm for your dogs. Here’s what you need to know about this fungal infection:

Attack of the Ringworm Fungus

In dogs, there are three different types of fungi that typically spread a ringworm infection. Microsporum canis causes a majority of them (about 70 percent). The next biggest fungal offender is Microsporum gypseum, which is responsible for about 20 percent of canine ringworm infections. The remaining 10 percent is thanks to the fungus Trichophyton mentagrophytes.

Once spread to a dog, ringworm fungi live near the surface of the skin, sometimes even venturing to the hair follicles or nails. In most cases, only a few areas of a dog’s body are affected by the infection, but some unlucky few (often puppies, senior dogs, or immunocompromised mutts), will get infections that spread farther across the body.

How To Spot Ringworm in Dogs

In humans, ringworm presents itself as a round, red patch on the skin, thus where it gets its name. Ringworm looks different in dogs, but with a little bit of attention, you can easily spot it. If you notice the following, it is time to schedule a visit with the veterinarian:

  • Round patches of hair loss
  • Dry, brittle hair
  • Inflamed skin
  • Scabs
  • Rough, brittle claws

A Family Fungal Affair

Dogs can easily spread ringworm to other domesticated animals like cats, and, unfortunately, can even spread it to their human family members. If you notice any signs of ringworm on your pets or your own body, you should schedule a visit with your medical professional to start treatment. You should also give your home a deep cleaning to try to kill the fungus before it spreads any further.

Treatment for Ringworm

Although it’s not life threatening, pets with ringworm will need to visit the vet to get some treatment. Depending on the severity and location of the infection, your vet might prescribe topical or oral treatments. 

Whether you suspect your dog has ringworm or it’s time for an annual wellness exam, Blue Valley Animal Hospital is here for you. Call (913) 681‑2818 to schedule an appointment with your favorite veterinarian in Overland Park.