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What is Ringworm?

Puppies, animals living in stressful environments, and those with immunosuppressive diseases are most susceptible to dermatophytosis. Lesions from ringworm usually become apparent 7 to 14 days after exposure to the fungus. Infections spread through contact with an infected animal, or after exposure to a contaminated item, such as a dog collar, grooming tools, or bedding. If you in any way suspect that your dog has been exposed to ringworm or is showing signs of the fungal infection, consult a qualified veterinarian for advice. Ringworm is contagious, meaning your furry family member could possibly transmit the fungus to human members of the household.

A fungal skin disease, ringworm is medically defined as dermatophytosis. Characterised by round or irregularly shaped markings which are most often raised, ringworm appears in patches over the body, distinguishable by hair loss. Ringworm is caused by a fungus and affects the superficial layers of the hair, nails and skin.

Ringworm Average Cost

From 13 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,500

Average Cost

$450

Symptoms of Ringworm in Dogs

Some dogs may be asymptomatic, which can present a problem as the ringworm can easily spread in environments where many animals congregate (like boarding kennels). If your dog is having skin related issues, see the veterinarian promptly. If dermatophytosis is the case, early eradication will make the contamination of others less widespread throughout your human and animal companion brood.

  • The skin may or may not itch
  • There may be the appearance of dandruff like flakes
  • The skin could be red
  • There may be broken hairs on the coat
  • The hair may fall out
  • The ring could have inflammation within it
  • Hair may begin to regrow within the circular, crusty patch
  • There may be a presence of raised, rounded, nodular lesions (granulomatous)
  • The claws could be brittle and broken
Types

There are many types of fungi that can cause ringworm. The most common types in the canine world are listed here. These three types are zoonotic, meaning they can be spread between animals and humans.

  • Microsporum canis
    • The main reservoir for this fungus is cats and dogs
    • It feeds on the keratin of the outer layers of skin, hair, and nails
  • Microsporum gypseum
    • It is found in soil
    • Most common in South America
  • Trichophyton mentagrophytes
    • In humans, it is known as athlete’s foot
    • It is found in moist areas
    • It manifests as ringworm in animals
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Causes of Ringworm in Dogs

The fungi that cause ringworm can remain dormant for up to 18 months. This cements the fact that diligent care must be taken if you learn that your family pet has ringworm.

  • Dogs and humans with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to dermatophytosis
  • Spores can be found in soil
  • Fleas can transmit ringworm
  • Contact with contaminated items can spread ringworm (combs, brushes, dog bowls, furniture, bedding)
  • Direct contact with the fungus on an animal or person is a source of transmission
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Diagnosis of Ringworm in Dogs

When you arrive at the clinic, the veterinarian will start the visit with an examination. Be prepared to give as much detail about the recent behaviors of your canine companion. If you know or suspect that your dog has been exposed to ringworm, alert the veterinary caregiver right away. She and her team will want to be as diligent as possible in containing the possible fungus to one area, and will do an extensive cleanup after you and your pet have gone home.

The diagnosis of dermatophytosis is typically done by the following methods.

  • Identification of ringworm lesion
    • This is not the most accurate way to diagnose ringworm because other diseases (like skin mites or allergic skin disease) can mimic the fungus. However, it is a good starting point, as the presence of scaly, crusty ring like lesions may be indicative of ringworm when seen in addition to other diagnostic results.
  • Fluorescence of infected hairs
    • Hairs belonging to your dog will be placed under a special light, called a Wood’s lamp. Ultraviolet light will show the presence of fungi excretion attached to the hair. Microsporum canis will glow a fluorescent yellow-green. It should be noted that microsporum gypseum and trichophyton mentagrophytes do not glow under the fluorescent light, so this method does not completely rule out a ringworm infection.
  • Fungal culture of hair or skin cells
    • This is the most accurate. Most cultures, if positive, will show as such within ten days. It is possible, though, that the results can take up to a month to identify if the spores grow slowly.

Looking at dog hair under the microscope, and taking a skin biopsy are two other methods less commonly used, due to a low rate of accuracy.

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Treatment of Ringworm in Dogs

The veterinary caregiver will decide on the course of treatment for the ringworm affecting your dog. She will give you full instructions on the diligence and care that must be taken in order to eradicate the fungus from your pet, and from your home.

Topical creams and ointments may be used alone or in conjunction with a medicated shampoo, depending on the severity of the infection. The veterinarian will advise on how long a cream or ointment should be applied, but typically the application is once a day for 10 days, up to 4 or 6 weeks. Medicated shampoos are often used twice a week. The shampoo should be left on for 5 minutes before rinsing, taking care to avoid the eyes, nose and mouth.

Oral antifungal medications are generally used for a six-week minimum. A culture may be taken about 2 weeks after the medication is started, and then 2 weeks after that, and possibly one more time. Once the veterinarian has seen three negative cultures, it is conceivable that the medication can be stopped. Do not stop the treatment before the veterinary caregiver has given the okay, or your dog may have a recurrence of the fungus.

Clipping is only recommended if the infection is severe. The reason for this is that any nicks that your canine buddy may get while getting clipped can cause the fungus to spread further into the skin.

During the treatment period, it is highly advised that you keep your dog under a quarantine of sorts; do not allow contact with family members, other household pets, or any other dogs in the vicinity. In fact, a wise decision would be to have the veterinarian do a fungal culture on all pets living with you. (Infected pets remain contagious for about three weeks, even once treatment has begun.) Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after treating your dog, or perhaps wear gloves when applying ointments and creams.

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Recovery of Ringworm in Dogs

Don’t be surprised if you see areas of hair loss continue to get bigger after treatment has started. This is normal. The patches will begin to get smaller in size after two weeks, and the hair should start to grow back. If you are not seeing improvement, let the veterinarian know. She will need to do two or three cultures after treatment begins, since three negative cultures in a row is the most common indicator used for determining the resolution of the dermatophytosis.

Disinfecting and keeping clean all areas of the house will be necessary as part of managing the ringworm infection. Keep your pet in a room without carpets. Vacuum and mop the quarantine area daily at minimum. The use of bleach (at a strength of 1:10 - 1:100) is suggested, to be used over all flooring in the house and particularly in the room where your dog is being kept. Lysol can be used to further disinfect floors, radiators, windows, and vehicles your dog may have been in. Wash bedding often. As well, wash (or consider throwing out) collars and grooming aids. In reality, the entire house must be disinfected, including drapes and carpets.

If clipping of your dog is to be done in any amount, be sure to dispose of the dog hair carefully. This may all seem to be unsurmountable at this point, but with diligence, patience and the help of the veterinary team, you can have success in the elimination of the ringworm.

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Cost of Ringworm in Dogs

Ringworm can be diagnosed visually, although that is not as conclusive as a fungal culture or doing a Wood’s Lamp examination. The fungal culture is done on the hair or skin cells and costs $45 on average. Another method used to diagnose ringworm is an examination using Wood’s Lamp. The Wood’s Lamp method illuminates any fungus on the dog’s hair. If the veterinarian chooses to use this method, it can cost $20 - $50 on average. Once your dog has tested positive for ringworm, the veterinarian will begin treating it. Topical creams and ointments can cost between $20 and $100. This method can be combined with a medicated shampoo, adding an additional $10 to $35 per bottle. The last method of treatment that the veterinarian may suggest is using oral antifungal medications for about six weeks. These oral medications cost an average of $20.

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Ringworm Average Cost

From 13 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,500

Average Cost

$450

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Ringworm Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Miska

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Mongrel Dog

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4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Acne
Red Skin
Ring Worm

My dog began with this problem the last year and the medication control the problem, but as 2 months ago begins with the same and I gave her griseofulvin, but until today it´s more aggressive in her skin I try with medicate shampoo too and nothing works. She is a Mongrel Dog

July 24, 2018

Miska's Owner

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1 Recommendations

With a chronic case of ringworm (should reconfirm with your Veterinarian) it is important to ensure that the condition is managed from different angles including topical treatment, systemic treatment and also cleaning the environment since one single approach is likely to be ineffective; using medicated shampoos (miconazole) along with systemic treatment (itraconazole) and environmental decontamination with bleach (1:10 dilution) is probably an effective approach. www.msdvetmanual.com/integumentary-system/dermatophytosis/ringworm-dermatophytosis-in-dogs-and-cats

July 25, 2018

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Yorkie

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Yorkie terrier

dog-age-icon

5 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Crusty, Ringworm, Hai Rloss
Crusty, Ringworm,

My pup is about 5 months old. He is a tcup yorkie doesnt reach 3lbs. He was sold to us with ringworm and we had no idea. We have been treating him with the vet for ever a month! Lime dip and topical meds nothing seems to work. I read online Apple Cider vinegar and an antifungal shampoo malslab. It has been seeming to work better then anything the vet has given. I spray him with apple cider vinegar 3 times a day! Please how can i assure hes better. Its been a very costly road to recover and i am worried about the pup and my kids have already gotten ringworm (luckily apple cider cures it rather quickly) how can i know hes better? What should the lesions looks like?

April 17, 2018

Yorkie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Resolving ringworm starts to look like normal hair, and normal skin, with no areas of hair loss, itching, or scaly skin. We often bathe for a few weeks after things are starting to improve to make sure that there aren't any spores residual in the environment. Washing bedding frequently also helps to decrease re-contamination. The only way to tell for absolute certainty is to have a fungal culture done, but typically when the hair is growing back, things are getting better.

April 17, 2018

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Riley

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Retriever mix

dog-age-icon

7 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Ring Worm

We noticed a red ring on our puppies belly last Saturday. We bought medicated shampoo and bathed her and almost immediately went away. 5 days later we noticed a few more. Is it normal for them to go away that quickly? Can we continue to just bath her and clean area?

April 13, 2018

Riley's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Since we don't know what the rings are caused by, it might be best to have her seen by your veterinarian to make sure that the lesions aren't anything more serious that need to be treated. Common causes for skin disease in puppies include parasites, bacterial infections or fungal infections. When you take her in, take the shampoo with you, and they will be able to let you know if you just need to keep shampooing, or if she needs more specific treatment.

April 13, 2018

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Riggs

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Great Danebull

dog-age-icon

7 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Ringworm

How do I know ringworm is gone and no longer contagious. I got my puppy Tuesday and it has been on a shampoo and cream medicine since. The spot is mostly bald with patches that look like the hair is growing back but I don't know when he can be let out of his crate safely without being contagious.and how long do I continue medicine for him?

Feb. 17, 2018

Riggs' Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. If Riggs is on medication for the ringworm infection, and the hair is growing back, the fungus should no longer be alive and contagious. It is important that all of Riggs' bedding and toys are washed thoroughly, in bleach, to kill the spores. It would be best to ask your veterinarian when he is okay to mingle with everybody, as they have seen him and know his health status, but it shouldn't be too long!

Feb. 17, 2018

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Millie

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Pit Pei

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

My dog has been on medication since November 20th. Almost all spots have disappeared, but the largest one on her snout was black and raised, and is now pink and flat, and looks so much better. Her last pill is tomorrow. Is she healed, or do I need to go back to the vet?!

Dec. 13, 2017

Millie's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Most likely Millie no longer has ringworm but the lesions are still present due to the healing process of the skin being a little slow; you should return to your Veterinarian for their opinion to be on the safe side and possibly getting another round of treatment based on their judgement. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Dec. 13, 2017

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Rudi

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Miniature Dachsund

dog-age-icon

3 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

One Ringworm Lesion

I purchased my puppy on 9/7/19. On 9/13/19 I noticed a lesion on his side. I took him to the vet and they did a scraping and said it would be 14 days before they would know if was ringworm but we would treat is as it was. They prescribed Clavamox, and Hexachlor Shampoo, and a spray on conditioner to use daily. We finished the Clavamox on 10/02/19. They just called today 10/7/19 with results and say it's "the worse case they have seen" and they say he needs different meds for another two weeks! He only had one lesion and the hair is growing back and the skin is smooth. Are they pulling one over on me? I don't feel right medicating an 11 week old puppy so much. Everytime I take him in there they want to prescribe more and more.....(the first time I took him they put him on antibiotics for his ears). He is 11 weeks old and has been on antibiotics of some kind for 4 weeks.

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Irie

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Mixed breed

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Small Raised Red Patch On Front Leg

Dog is a carrier of ringworm - what does this mean for her? Will she be able to have playdates again or no? The vets said they would not ever be able to board her again due to this. She has only ever had one spot but is a carrier, which makes it different. Pls help.(She was treated for the spot with topical and oral meds.)

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Chico

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Pit bull

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss
Discharge
Poor Hair Coat

I have a pitbull named Chico, and I recently came back home from serving in the military. My dog was left to my parents who look after him as I did & ended up catching ringworm. However, they never sought help & has been stuck with ringworm for some time now. His ringworm is covering his rear legs and starting to spread to lower back & even face. I never dealt with this problem and just now facing this as I’ve come home. Any advice on treatment?

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Lucy

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lab, weimeraner

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Patches Of Itchy Hair Loss

My dog has been having small circular patches of hair loss on her face for the last two weeks. The vet first prescribed cefpodoxime after which she got hives. She has been on oral terbinafine since then for about a week. Also treating her with miconazole shampoo. Is oral terbinafine a treatment you would use for ringworm? Thanks!

Ringworm Average Cost

From 13 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,500

Average Cost

$450

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