Ringworm in Dogs

Cecilia de Cardenas
Sep 08, 2008
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Ringworm Treatment for Dogs

Most dogs can be treated for ringworm on an outpatient basis, but quarantine procedures should be considered due to the contagious and zoonotic (transmissible to humans) nature of many types of ringworm. In mild cases, topical treatment may be all that is needed to speed recovery and reduce the chances that the disease will spread to other animals or people. Shaving a pet with a long coat can help topical medications reach the skin. Options include lime sulfur dips, enilconazole rinses, and miconazole shampoos.

For more severe cases, a veterinarian will also prescribe oral anti-fungal drugs like itraconazole, griseofulvin, fluconazole, terbinafine, or ketoconazole. Treatment often must continue for several months and should not be stopped until followup diagnostic testing shows that the dog is free of ringworm. If an underlying condition (e.g., malnutrition, administration of immunosuppressive drugs, etc.) is thought to be playing a role in the dog’s development of ringworm, it should be addressed as well.


Living and Management

Repeated fungal cultures are the best way to monitor your dog's response to treatment. Some animals will look better with treatment, but ringworm is still present in their fur, skin, or nails. If treatment is stopped too soon, the dog may relapse and continue to pose a risk to other individuals. Most veterinarians will wait until a dog has no clinical signs of ringworm and at least one negative fungal culture before recommending that treatment be stopped. Also, monthly checks of blood work may be indicated for dogs receiving ketoconazole or itraconazole as these drugs can be toxic to the liver.

It may be necessary to screen or treat other animals (and people) in the home that have had contact with a ringworm positive pet to prevent reinfections from occurring. 

Ringworm Prevention

Pets undergoing treatment for ringworm need to be isolated to prevent the spread of the disease to other animals or people. Wear disposable gloves and wash your skin and clothes after handling an infected pet. To decontaminate your home, thoroughly vacuum floors and upholstery and clean hard surfaces with an effective disinfectant like a dilute bleach solution. Your veterinarian can put together an appropriate plan for treatment, monitoring, and environmental decontamination based on the specifics of your dog’s case.

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