Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Ringworm

Question from Pam in Wilmington:
What causes ringworm? Why is it so hard to cure?

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
Ringworm is actually a fungal infection and not related to a worm at all. The disease was incorrectly named based upon the inflammatory skin lesions it caused. The fungi that cause the disease are called dermatophytes. You may be familiar with this term thanks to a popular televsion commercial featuring "Digger, the Dermatophyte." Pets and people with weakened immune systems are predisposed to infection.

The spores of Dermatophytes live in the environment and can survive for a long time. Infected animals shed spores and constantly infect their surroundings.
Treatment involves both the patient and environment. Pets can be treated with both oral medications and Lyme Sulfur dip. Your veterinarian can recommend the appropriate treatment for your pet.

Affected pets should be confined to a single room while the rest of the house is treated. Thoroughly vacuum and steam clean carpets. Hard surfuces should be cleaned with soap and water several times weekly, then treated with a 10:1 bleach solution if possible. Persistence is the key to eliminating Ringworm.

Posted April 4, 2006

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