Ringworm in Dogs and Cats
When a person contracts ringworm, dogs and cats are the most common culprits. Cats are particularly susceptible to ringworm. One study showed that when a cat has ringworm, there is a 30 to 70 percent chance someone in the household will contract the disease, too.
How Long Does Ringworm Last in Cats?
Ringworm on a cat usually goes away without treatment, but it takes nine months to a year. During that time the cat’s hair will continue to fall out, putting it at greater risk of wounds and infections. Plus the cat remains contagious to anyone in the home. Symptoms of ringworm in cats include:
- Broken or stubbly hair
- Crusty, scaling skin
- Changes in hair or skin color
- Inflamed skin
- Circular spots where hair has fallen out
- Excessive grooming
- Infected claws
With treatment, a cat can be cleared of ringworm in as little as six weeks, though curing a cat’s ringworm can take much longer.
Ringworm in Dogs
For dogs, ringworm infection usually comes from the fungal species Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes.
Unlike cats, dogs often (but not always) show symptoms of ringworm. The main symptom dogs with ringworm show are hairless, circular lesions on the head, ears, paws, and forelimbs. These lesions expand, and when they do, they become more irregular in shape and may become scabby.
Puppies, malnourished or stressed dogs, and dogs that have been in a kennel or shelter are especially prone to ringworm.
Ringworm Treatment for Dogs
A veterinarian will determine the severity of a ringworm infection before recommending treatment for an infected dog. There are various treatments for treating dogs with ringworm, including shampoos, ointments, dips, oral treatments and simply clipping back fur.
The lesions caused by ringworm should begin to clear up in about one to three weeks. But keep treating your dog for as long as the veterinarian recommends. Just because a lesion heals does not necessarily mean the infection has been cured.
Ringworm and Other Animals
Cats and dogs aren’t the only mammals susceptible to ringworm. Ringworm can be transmitted from horses, pigs, cattle, rodents, and hedgehogs. These are only some of the animals that might pick up this potentially itchy, burning disease.