What Are The Signs Of Ringworms In Pets?
If your pet seems to be itching and scratching more than usual, ringworm could be the culprit. Ringworm is not a parasite, but a fungus that thrives on keratin, a protein that forms hair, skin, and nails. Symptoms of ringworm in pets can range from mild to severe, or may not be apparent at all.
Symptoms Of Ringworm In Cats And Dogs
Itching and hair loss in localized areas is the most telling symptom of ringworm in pets. You may notice a round lesion with a red border that may be flaky, bumpy, and itchy. Pets typically lose hair in patches where they are affected by ringworm.
Many skin conditions can mimic the appearance of ringworm. Lyme disease also appears as a circular rash, though it looks more like a bull’s eye with a ring around it and a red center.
Pets experience hair loss, itching, and redness when they have contact dermatitis from, for example, lying on a wool blanket that they’re allergic to. Food intolerances also cause inflamed skin and are typically triggered by protein sources in your pet’s food.
What Causes Ringworm In Pets
Ringworm is more likely to affect cats and dogs, though both species can be affected, as well as humans. The fungus can spread easily between species through physical contact, such as petting your dog, or through shared surfaces like furniture and towels. Outdoor cats can contract ringworm from wild animals.
Treating Ringworm In Pets
Left untreated, ringworm can spread over large areas of your pet’s body and they can become vulnerable to secondary skin infections. Thankfully, ringworm typically goes away in a few weeks with treatment.
Over-the-counter Clotrimazole Cream is a popular treatment for ringworm. It’s best used in conjunction with medicated baths and oral medications. Be Super Clean Shampoo is another over-the-counter option that can help.
For multi-pet households, it can make sense to treat all pets even if they do not all show symptoms of ringworm. It is possible for pets to carry ringworm without outwardly visible signs and they may re-transmit the fungus to affected pets if left untreated.
Disinfect surfaces that your affected pet has touched. Washable fabrics can be disinfected with hot water and detergent, while a bleach solution is best for non-porous surfaces.