Ringworm Manifestations In Pets

Dogs and cats

Adult animals, particularly long-haired cats, may not always exhibit ringworm infection symptoms. Puppies and kittens frequently develop patches of hairlessness, circular or irregularly shaped scaling, crusting, and redness that may or may not be irritating. It is possible that the area is not completely hairless, but rather has brittle, broken hairs. If the claws are afflicted, they may seem pale and opaque, with the surface of the claws shredding. If you suspect your pet has a ringworm, take it to a veterinarian immediately.

Ringworm is also quite prevalent in display lambs, where it is referred to as “club lamb fungus.” Lambs typically have round, hairless regions on their head and face covered with dense scabs.

Ringworm Symptoms In Dogs And Cats

While the telltale lesions that emerge on people also exist on cats and dogs, they might be difficult to spot due to their fur coats. You might not detect anything at all in mild cases of ringworm. However, you may notice the following symptoms in more severe cases:

  • Scaling resembling dandruff in the coat’s depths

  • Red lesions on the head, breast, forelegs, and ridge of the back
Cat hair loss
  • Skin scaling, crusting, thickening, and reddening
  • Circular areas of hair loss (alopecia) on the dog’s or cat’s head, tail, or back ridge

Ringworm Diagnosis In Pets

If you suspect your dog or cat has ringworm, it’s critical to contact your veterinarian immediately, as diagnosis frequently needs a complete clinical examination and testing. Your veterinarian will conduct a range of diagnostic tests, including the following:

  • Observation 

Your veterinarian will initially inspect your pet for any skin lesions or scaling that represents characteristic of ringworm.

  • Lamp of Wood

This unique ultraviolet lamp emits a yellow-green fluorescence. The glowing material is not fungi, but an excrement that adheres to the hair shaft. While this simple and non-invasive test can assist in diagnosing some cases, it only detects a small fraction of Microsporum canis infections, and hence a negative result does not rule out ringworm infection.

  • Microscope

Your veterinarian may gently pluck a tiny amount of hair from the area around the lesion and examine the hair shafts under a microscope. This makes it possible to see fungal spores clinging to hair shafts.

  • Culture of fungi 

If your veterinarian requires confirmation of the diagnosis, he or she may send a hair sample to a laboratory for testing. While a conclusive laboratory diagnosis might take up to four weeks, early indications of infection can be noticed within a few days. If the results of previous tests are equivocal or if the specific species of ringworm needs to be determined, a fungal culture may be essential.

Additionally, your veterinarian may conduct additional tests to rule out other possible causes of hair loss and skin problems (eg. allergic skin disease, sarcoptes or demodex mites).

treat cat ringworm

Ringworm Treatment

There are several treatment methods for ringworm, depending on the severity of the lesions.

  • Compounds and ointments

Antifungal lotions and ointments can be applied directly to affected regions of your pet’s skin in mild situations. If the illness is severe, your veterinarian may prescribe an antifungal shampoo to treat the entire body of your pet. It is critical to utilize only ointments and shampoos advised by your veterinarian, as other treatments may aggravate the problem.

  • Medications taken orally

While ointments might be useful in moderate cases, your pet will almost always require oral antifungal medication to clear the infection. Generally, treatment must be sustained for at least six weeks, if not longer. Bear the following in mind when delivering oral medication:

  • Avoid abruptly discontinuing treatment or discontinuing it earlier than suggested, as the infection may reoccur.
  • If you have several pets in the house, isolate the affected ones.

In rare circumstances, it may be preferable to treat all animals concurrently – your veterinarian will advise you on this.

  • Cleaning the house and its contents

Due to the fact that ringworm survives on both skin and hair, it is easily spread via loose hair on carpet or furniture. Simultaneously with treating your animal for ringworm, a complete cleaning of your living environment is essential to remove any contaminated hairs.

vacuum carpet
  • Vacuum any carpet or furniture that has come into contact with your pet (including underneath beds and couches)

  • Wipe down surfaces with a mild cleaner

  • Pet restriction
  • It is easier to clean portions of the house, such as rooms with tiles or hardwood floors.

Treatment can take up to six weeks to be effective. During this period, your pet may still be contagious, so it’s critical that family members (particularly children, the elderly, and anybody with a weakened immune system) avoid contact with the animal.

Ringworm Prevention

The fungi that cause ringworm like warm, moist habitats such as soil. Then they cling to human and animal hair and skin cells that are shed. While there is little you can do to prevent these illnesses, there are a few important steps you may take to protect yourself and your family:

Cat grooming
  • Clean pet blankets and other bedding from your cat or dog’s quarters on a regular basis.
  • Dispose of hairs from your pet’s grooming brush on a regular basis.
  • Vacuum your home regularly to remove skin cells and hair.
  • Disinfect other frequently used areas of the house where your pets congregate.