Ringworm Treatment for Puppies

Dog with ringworm on nose

Ringworm may affect any dog, but it is particularly frequent in pups under the age of a year and elderly dogs with impaired immune systems. It creates a crusty, itchy skin rash in people and is communicable. Ringworm in people usually appears as circular, ring-like lesions.

What Is Ringworm?

Ringworm is a fungus that causes skin infections in both dogs and humans. It belongs to the dermatophytes family of skin fungus. Keratin, the outside dead surface of developing skin and nails, is where the feeds. There are many different forms of dermatophytes, but one of three species is responsible for the majority of canine ringworm infections. Microsporum canis is the most prevalent species. Puppies digging through rat holes may get another type of ringworm spread by mice. The soil is home to the third type of ringworm.

Ringworm easily spreads to humans but most healthy adults won't become infected. Young children, the elderly, or anyone with a depressed immune system are most susceptible.

As the inside central sore heals, the “ring” of reddened inflammation surrounding the area gives it its characteristic look and name.


Symptoms of Ringworm in Puppies

Ringworm infection in puppies does not always result in a ringed skin pattern. Alopecia (loss of hair) and sores develop but do not form rings, and can mimic a range of other pet skin illnesses like as allergies.

Scaling and crusting are common at the edges of bald patches, coupled with broken or stubbled hair and irritation. The dermatophyte can only thrive on actively growing hairs. Infected hairs fall off, leaving a stubby patchwork fur pattern, as well as mild to severe crusty ulcers.

Some pets scratch, whereas others do not. As the bald areas begin to recover, they seem clear. The face, head, and forelimbs are usually the first parts to be afflicted, but in extreme cases, the fungus can spread throughout the pup's body.

Cause of Ringworm

Ringworm infection is frequently prevented by the immune system of healthy adult dogs. Some healthy pets, on the other hand, can become asymptomatic carriers, meaning they show no symptoms yet transfer the sickness to others. Ringworm spores infiltrate the surroundings after a pet becomes afflicted, spreading the sickness further.

Direct animal-to-animal contact, generally through contaminated hair or skin debris, is how the disease is spread. Ringworm can also be spread by contaminated grooming equipment, toys, bedding, and infected furniture and clothes.

If one pet in the house is diagnosed, all of them should be treated, whether or not they are displaying symptoms. Infected pets should be separated from non-infected pets.


Diagnosing Ringworm

The fungus that causes canine ringworm is identified. A Wood's Lamp can be used by the veterinarian to screen questionable cases; when exposed to ultraviolet light, around half of M. canis cases "glow." Because not all instances will show up under this specific illumination, a negative result should not be assumed to be a genuine negative, and additional diagnostic testing should be performed.

A skin scraping is sometimes used to collect material from lesions, which is then studied microscopically. Taking a sample of skin or fur and sending it to a lab for culture is the most accurate technique to detect ringworm. A sample of the lesion is deposited in a specific ringworm-growing media. The test might take up to three weeks to show a positive result.


Ringworm in pets should be treated to prevent the disease from spreading further. The most effective ringworm treatment regimens include topical medicated shampoos with oral antifungal medicines. Both methods of medication must be continued for several weeks; it is critical to follow your veterinarian's advice and not discontinue treatment prematurely.

To limit the amount of contaminated hair, longhaired pups should be cut initially (remember to disinfect the clipper blades afterward). Your veterinarian will advise you on the best option for you.


Prior to a veterinarian inspection, avoid medicating wounds with anything. This might make an accurate diagnosis difficult. Only treat once your veterinarian has diagnosed the problem, and follow all post-treatment instructions.

How to Prevent Ringworm From Spreading

You must clean your puppy's surroundings in addition to treating it for treatment to be effective. Because ringworm spores are not visible to the human eye and can readily spread across a home, this is easier said than done.

Currently, experts recommend environmental control by daily cleaning of all surfaces using a diluted bleach solution (one part bleach to 10 parts water), along with thorough vacuuming.

Disposable spore reservoirs, such as pet bedding, should be avoided. For carpets and drapes, a high-temperature steam cleaning is advised. Vacuum many times, but remember to discard the bag each time, otherwise the spores may spread. With the bleach and water spray, disinfect the vacuum as well.

You must treat the puppy and keep the area disinfected until the pet's follow-up cultures are negative. Treatment may be required for six to eight weeks in a single pet household, and possibly longer in multi-pet families with numerous infections.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.


"Dermatophytosis in Dogs and Cats. Merck Veterinary Manual", "Symptoms of Ringworm Infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" ;