It’s unfortunate when your pet gets sick, especially so when they can transfer that illness to you as is the case when your dog or cat has ringworm. Ringworm is a fungus whose spores are very hardy, surviving in your home, in your breeders home, at the pet show, at a kennel, at your vet’s office and transmitting through the air to you or your pet.
In humans ringworm often appears in a ring pattern, but on pets it often appears as a small, hairless lesion. Although you should be choosy about how often you take your pet to places where it will be at a higher risk for catching an ailment such as ringworm, it’s not always avoidable. So after you make an excursion, check your pet for signs of lesions, hair loss, or nail deformity dog ringworm symptoms and cat ringworm symptoms are almost identical. Cat ringworm symptoms may also include large hairballs caused by the hair loss. If your pet has ringworm, take steps to prevent them from scratching the lesion and spreading the condition to their nails.
You can help prevent the spread of ringworm, if you either suspect your pet was exposed or if your pet already has it, by cleaning and disinfecting where your pet sleeps, your carpets (steam clean), as well as your air vents (fungal spores are airborne), and any places your pets favor. Make sure to clean any grooming objects, cat posts, or other things your pet may have come into contact with.
Ringworm can spread from the original lesion, so make sure that you seek treatment right away to avoid a bigger problem. Your veterinarian will diagnose if your pet has ringworm, and should also check for other problems or conditions that may have weakened your pet’s immune system and put it at higher risk for catching ringworm. Although your vet may recommend any number of effective anti-fungal treatments, know that some of them can be hard on your pets/have adverse side effects, especially oral treatments (for severe cases) which can damage your pet’s liver.
Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling an infected pet and keep that pet isolated from other pets and children. Make sure you watch your other pets for ringworm symptoms, and monitor any infected pets with the aid of your veterinarian.
By Emma Spera