Ringworm infections in domestic animals

Fungal infections in Pets

Ringworms (also called dermatophytoses) are fungal infections of the skin, nails or hair and are one of the most common skin infections in animals. They can occur in different types of animals like dogs, cats, horses etc. By petting infected animals, the pathogens can be transferred to humans and cause disease in them. It is therefore important to recognise the signs of the disease and to take the animal to the vet in order not to get infected yourself.

Can dogs and cats get ringworm

Fungi can affect animals of any age, but younger pets appear to be more frequently ill. Longer fur is more susceptible to these pathogens than short. The most common species of fungi causing ringworm infections are Microsporum and Trichophyton.

Infected animals are more frequent in places with poor hygiene (like shelters) and where there is a lot of animals living in a small place. Pets that are not otherwise healthy are more prone to ringworm infections and the disease can have a more severe course.

How does it look: the affected skin usually looks scaly, reddish or dark in colour, the site is frequently itchy and loses hair. Sometimes, you can see nodular, raised lesions. Most commonly, the lesions are found on the face, around the ears or on the extremities. The dog or cat can be an asymptomatic carrier which means that it carries the pathogens but has no apparent signs of infection.

Diagnosis: when you take your pet to the vet, he or she will perform some basic test to confirm the visual diagnosis. These test usually include taking small skin scrapings and examining them under a microscope or taking a small fur sample. Taking a small piece of the skin (called biopsy) is rarely necessary.

How to get rid of ringworm in cats and dogs

Treatment: the infection can a lot of times go away by itself, but applying topical treatment will speed up the recovery time of your pet. If the disease is severe and it lasts for a very long time, systemic anti fungal treatment will be used. It includes drugs such as ketoconasole, itraconasole of fluconasole. Treatment should be continued until the tests for fungi on your pets skin/hair come back negative.

References

Dermatophytes.reviberoammicol.com, 2015, Dermatophytes in domestic animals. [online]. 2015. [Accessed 8  February  2015]. Available from: http://www.dermatophytes.reviberoammicol.com/contents.php?104108

Merckmanuals.com, 2015, Dermatophytosis in Dogs and Cats: Dermatophytosis: Merck Veterinary Manual. [online]. 2015. [Accessed 8  February  2015]. Available from: http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/integumentary_system/dermatophytosis/dermatophytosis_in_dogs_and_cats.html

Petmd.com, 2015, Ringworm Symptoms in Cats | PetMD.com | petMD. [online]. 2015. [Accessed 8  February  2015]. Available from: http://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/skin/c_ct_dermatophytosis%20?page=2

Petmd.com, 2015, Ringworm in Dogs – Symptoms, Prevention, Treatment | PetMD | petMD. [online]. 2015. [Accessed 8  February  2015]. Available from: http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/skin/c_dg_dermatophytosis?page=2

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