Announcement: Ringworm

Ringworm

Dog portrait 1—Tambako the Jaguar (Flickr.com)

A pet is often treated as a member of the family but owning a pet can bring about health risks.

Pets can contact ringworm which needs to be treated. Ringworm is sometimes called dermatophytosis which is another word for athlete’s foot. Microsporum is a genus of fungi that causes diseases of the hair, nails and skin. Microsporum canis is the agent that causes ringworm in cats and dogs.

Many infections can be transmitted from pets to humans. Ringworm is a zoonotic disease. A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be spread from animals to humans. Research indicates that cats contact ringworm more than dogs. Some pets may have the fungus without showing any signs. Signs of ringworm can be almost invisible but the disease can still be transmitted. Ringworm can look like dandruff on your pet’s fur. The fungus can be transferred to your face or hands within a few weeks after exposure. Ringworm infection is highly contagious. Ringworm begins in one area and multiplies quickly if not treated. Ringworm is not caused by worms. It is caused by a fungus that lives off of dead tissues of the skin. The fungi spores can survive in an environment for a long time. Ringworm infection can be spread via touch. It is always a good idea to wash your hands after touching a pet.

Ringworm infection can infect many animals such as guinea pigs, goats, horses, rabbits and others.

The incubation period for ringworm is usually a couple of weeks before signs start to show.

Ringworm is not always in the shape of a ring. Ringworm infection infects the hair follicles and causes the hair to fall out. Before applying a topical agent you may need to cut the hair. Always wear gloves when doing so and disinfect the scissors after use.

Ringworm takes place more often in the fall and winter.

Ringworm lesions mainly infect the head but can also develop on the legs and tail. Sometimes healthy dogs with just a few lesions will heal on their own.

It may be a wise decision to confine the dog to one area of the house as spores can be spread throughout the environment. Disinfect the area using a bleach mixture. Wash the pets bedding in hot water. It is important to keep the area the animal is in clean. The fungi can grow in contaminated bedding and dirt.

Sometimes a ultra-violet light is used to diagnose the disease. After a few minutes the infected hair starts to glow. This test is not completely effective because certain soaps and topical agents may cause the hair to glow.

Pets with diabetes may be more susceptible to ringworm lesions.

It is good to ensure your pet receives regular vaccinations to keep them healthy. Research indicates that there is a vaccination for pets to prevent ringworm. See your veterinarian.

Infected pets should not be held close to the body.

If you bring children to a petting zoo make sure you have them wash their hands thoroughly after. They should not eat or drink before hand washing. Hand sanitizers should be used after hand washing.

In addition to topical agents Pet Shampoo for Ringworm may be used to assist in eliminating ringworm.

People with AIDS or HIV should take precautions when around a pet with ringworm. Wearing gloves and hand washing is a good idea.

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