Ringworm

Ringworm is a contagious skin disease caused by a fungus. It is transmissible to man and other animals. Two genera of fungi are responsible for ringworm. They have long names: Trichophyton megalosporon and Trichophyton microsporon. The T. microsporon fungus is the type most often encountered in dogs.

The fungi causing ringworm more or less limit their activities to the epidermis or outer layer of skin. They grow onto the hair follicles and in between the hair sheaths, finally killing off the hair and causing it to fall out. Ringworm usually starts on the head, neck, legs and will spread to other parts of the body.

The symptoms of ringworm are round or oval-shaped lesions on the head, face, legs or body; scabs and crusts; and loss of hair. The lesions may appear in several forms: 1) as well-defined scaly patches, which form an irregular circle up to two inches in diameter; 2) as small red and raised areas on the hairless parts of the dog's body; 3) as scaly lesions with reddish pustules around the edges or rims.

Treatment: Localized lesions can be treated with tincture of iodine or iodine ointment. Since ringworm is contagious, wear rubber gloves when handling the dog. Stand him on newspapers, clip the hair from around the lesions, and remove the scabs and crusts by washing with a mild soap and warm water. After the lesions are cleaned, apply tincture of iodine or iodine ointment. Wrap up the trimmed hair, scabs or crusts and burn them. Oral medication for ringworm is available and can be procured through your veterinarian.

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