A lot of pet owners know that dogs are generally some of the hardiest and most resilient pets you can ever have. That makes them quite easy to take care of as you only need to make sure they get the right nutrients and are given the love and care they need to stay healthy. But, still, you have to consider the fact that even the hardiest of dogs are still prone to some health concerns.
One of the health concerns that you might want to look at and consider is the existence of ringworms. If your dog has ringworms, you might need to be concerned because of the effects that this infection may have on your pet. Luckily, there are a lot of different ways for you to treat and prevent ringworms the moment you detect them.
What are ringworms?
Ringworms are not worms per se or are not even parasites. Instead, these are microscopic organisms that can be called fungal infections. They infect the dog’s skin instead of its internals and are the main causes for a lot of different skin and nail problems you see in your dog. As such, ringworms are not something to be taken lightly of as they may actually cause some serious health concerns. And if the infection is too heavy, it might even infect your other pets or even the members of your households as ringworms are also known to infect humans.
Symptoms of ringworms
- Patch areas on the dog’s skin caused by hair loss due to the ringworm infection.
- Poor coat on your dog or broken hair.
- Reddened skin that looks dry and somewhat dark.
- Dandruff coming from the dog’s skin.
- Crusty and dry-looking skin on your dog.
- Itchiness is caused by a lot of factors, including severe dryness and irritation.
Main causes of ringworms
The main cause of ringworm infection in dogs is the fungi called Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. These fungi vary depending on your region and your environment, but they usually infect dogs through direct contact with animals that also have ringworms. In some cases, an indirect infection may occur when the ringworm fungus can transmit from one dog or animal to another through simple objects such as bedding, a brush, a pair of clippers, and anything that usually comes in contact with a dog’s skin or coat.
One consideration that should be taken note of is that a dog is more prone to this infection the older it gets because of how its immune system is weaker. An older dog also is more prone to a more severe kind of infection compared to a younger dog. Other things that should be taken into consideration is the density of animals in the area, the nutrition you provide them, and the overall presence of other skin conditions such as fleas, wounds, and skin-related illnesses.
Top 10 ways of treating and preventing ringworm
Antifungal creams are the best treatment or prevention for ringworm in dogs if you are only looking at mild to moderate cases. Simply apply the cream on the affected area the moment you see signs of ringworm on your dog’s skin.
Ointments are similar to creams when it comes to helping in the treatment and prevention of ringworm and its effects. Ointments are only good for mild to moderate cases and are applied directly to the dog’s skin.
- Antifungal shampoo
When the dog’s case of ringworm is already more serious, this is the time when you should go to the vet and ask for a prescription for an antifungal shampoo. This shampoo is used to treat the dog’s entire body to help stop the spread of ringworm and prevent it from coming back.
- Oral medicine
Creams, ointments, and shampoos are indeed effective when it comes to treating and preventing ringworm. However, one of the better ways of eradicating and preventing ringworm is by providing your dog with oral antifungal medicines. Such medicine should be administered continuously for a span of about six weeks or until the vet recommends. This should be so even though any signs of ringworm are already gone so that you can prevent the fungal infection from coming back in the future.
Vacuuming the house is an effective way of making sure you are not only treating ringworm but preventing it. That is because ringworm lives on both the dog’s skin and hair and can easily transmit from place to place if you are not keeping the house clean. Vacuuming will make sure that you are thoroughly cleaning every nook and cranny in your house so that you can prevent ringworm.
- Washing down surfaces
Cleaning the house by washing down surfaces will help you keep the environment as free from any ringworm-causing fungi as possible. Use cleaning agents that help kill and prevent fungi from making sure that you are effective at eliminating them as much as possible.
If there are areas in your house and property that are prone to ringworm, the best way for you to make sure that your dog does not get it is to restrict its movements and prevent it from going to such places. You may need to do some special training, or you may actually put a barricade top, make sure that he does not go to that restricted area.
- Clean your brush and dispose of any hairs on it
As mentioned, ringworm can live on your dog’s hair. In that case, whenever you are brushing it, always promptly throw away any hair on the brush. After this, thoroughly clean the brush and make sure that there are no longer any hairs on it so that it will be safe to use again later on.
- Replace the bedding on your dog’s bed
If you are using some sort of bedding for your dog, regularly replace or clean it from time to time so that you are sure that ringworm and fungi do not build up on it and eventually infect your dog later on even when your pet is already free from any signs of ringworm.
- Keep it away from infected animals
If you have other pets that are infected by ringworm or if you are living in an area that is densely populated with animals, you may want to keep your dog away from any of those other animals because of how ringworm is easily transmitted from one animal to another just by them being simply close to one another.