Ringworm Infections in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Ringworm is a common fungal infection affecting dogs, causing uncomfortable symptoms and even spreading to humans. Being aware of its causes, symptoms, treatment options, and preventive measures can help dog owners ensure their furry friends stay healthy and happy.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about ringworm infections in dogs, including diagnosis, treatments, and how to prevent its spread.

What Is Ringworm in Dogs?

Ringworm is a fungal infection known as dermatophytosis, which affects a dog’s skin, hair, and nails. The name can be misleading as the disease is caused by fungi, not worms. This condition is characterized by ring-shaped hair loss, leading to uncomfortable pet symptoms and often causing concern among dog owners.

Causes of Ringworm in Dogs

Ringworm infections can be acquired through direct contact with an afflicted animal or environmental sources. Contaminated items like couches, rugs, brushes, food bowls, and bedding are common culprits. Outdoors, dogs can contract ringworm from contaminated soil while digging or playing.

Some dogs are more susceptible to ringworm infections than others. Puppies, for instance, have underdeveloped immune systems, making them more prone to infection. Additionally, dogs that live in close quarters, such as in shelters or kennels, have a higher risk of contracting ringworm.

Symptoms of Ringworm Infections in Dogs

It’s essential to be aware of the symptoms of ringworm infections in dogs to spot the problem early and seek appropriate treatment. Key symptoms include:

  • Circular patches of hair loss
  • Crusty skin
  • Grey and scaly patches
  • Red areas on the skin
  • Raised, skinless patches that may ooze
  • Brittle nails

How Is Ringworm Diagnosed in Dogs?

Early recognition of symptoms plays a crucial role in managing ringworm infections. Your veterinarian may use special lighting to observe the dog’s skin, inspect hair samples under a microscope, or perform a skin biopsy. Prompt diagnosis ensures effective treatment and prevents the infection from spreading further.

Treatments for Ringworm in Dogs

Upon confirmation of a ringworm infection, your veterinarian may recommend oral antifungal medications and topical creams like miconazole and clotrimazole. Over-the-counter antifungal shampoos can be effective for minor conditions or prevent the disease from worsening.

Treatment duration may vary depending on the severity of the infection. Following your veterinarian’s advice is essential to ensure a full recovery and avoid complications. In cases of severe infections or complications, your veterinarian may refer you to a specialized vet surgeon in Tucson, AZ. They can address underlying issues and provide additional guidance on managing complex ringworm cases.

While ringworm infections are generally not life-threatening, other unrelated health emergencies may arise in your dog’s life. In such instances, having access to emergency vets is essential for prompt and effective healthcare. Be prepared and know the nearest emergency vet clinic to handle unexpected health issues with your furry friend.

Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson

Consider consulting a veterinary dermatologist for cases where skin infections become more complicated or other dermatological issues arise. Facilities like Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson offer specialized care for dogs with various dermatological conditions, ensuring your pet receives the best care for their skin and overall health.

Consequences of Untreated Ringworm Infections in Dogs

Treating ringworm infections in dogs is crucial to prevent the condition from spreading and alleviate discomfort. Untreated infections can last longer, remain contagious, and potentially cause more severe skin involvement. It’s also worth noting that improperly treated ringworm can return, causing further distress to the affected dog and owner.

Can Ringworm Spread to Humans?

Ringworm is a zoonotic infection, meaning it can be transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals or contaminated items. Children are particularly susceptible to contracting ringworm. Ensuring immediate treatment of affected dogs and taking preventative measures play a significant role in keeping pets and their owners safe.

Preventing the Spread of Ringworm Infections

Proper hygiene, including hand washing and avoiding direct contact with infected dogs, is vital in preventing the spread of ringworm infections. Quarantine infected dogs from other animals and humans to help control the infection. Cleaning contaminated surfaces and belongings, like pet bedding or brushes, can also reduce the chances of the infection spreading further.


Ringworm infections in dogs can be unpleasant for both pets and owners. Being aware of the symptoms, causes, and treatments is essential for keeping your furry companion healthy. By promptly seeking veterinary care for diagnosis, adhering to treatment advice, and maintaining proper hygiene, you can effectively manage ringworm infections in dogs and prevent their transmission to humans.

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