Despite its name, ringworm is actually caused by a fungal infection of the top layers of skin and hair, not a worm. This infection is one of few that can transfer easily from pets to humans, especially children, the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system. Early diagnosis is vital to isolating this highly contagious infection and curing it before transfer occurs.
Signs to look for in pets include dandruff-like scaly patches deep in the coat; red lesions on the head, chest, forelegs and ridge of the back; scaling, crusting, thickening or reddening of skin or circular patches of hair loss, especially on the head, tail and ridge of the back.
If you suspect ringworm in your pet, it is important to visit us right away — we have several different ways to diagnose the infection such as observation, using a special light to look for secretions that the infection has left on the shaft of your pet?s hair or examining samples of your pet’s hair underneath a microscope.
Once ringworm has been identified, treatment can begin immediately. In addition to creams and ointments or oral medications that are available to treat ringworm, a thorough housecleaning is recommended to remove any contaminated hairs that may have been left behind. Effective treatment of ringworm may take up to six weeks, during which time your pet is still infected, so limit contact with persons susceptible to the infection.
Regular cleaning of pet bedding, disposing of hairs that get caught in grooming
instruments and vacuuming of common areas that pets and your family share can help prevent ringworm.