If you suddenly notice a bald spot on your dog's coat, chances are it is not because he is getting older. Sudden hair loss in dogs as well as cats could indicate the presence of ringworm. And although your dog may catch ringworm from time to time, he may experience nothing worse than a bald spot and mild itchiness.
Ringworm creates ring-like, flaky, bald patches on your dog's head, ears, back, nails, and paws. Although the name ringworm sounds like some sort of a curly worm, it is actually a type of fungus that is similar to athlete's foot. Ringworm can be easily seen and looks very similar to a ripple forming when you throw a stone in a pond. The growth begins at a middle point and gradually spreads out in a ring shape. As the fungus grows in the skin cell and hair, the skin may become irritated, reddened, and thickened and the hairs may break off leaving course stubble behind.
The ringworm is contagious to humans, especially children, and other animals. The extensive spread of this parasite could indicate that your pet's health is not doing well. Actually, it is usually the sick, stressed, and weakened ones that acquire serious infestation. Ringworm that spreads throughout the body is a very serious issue that signifies a severely low immune system.
But unless your dog has a low immune system, ringworm normally goes away on its own within one to three months. In the meantime, you may still want to relieve the itchiness and discomfort that is associated with this parasite and also reduce the odds of infection to humans and other animals.
To effectively treat ringworm, the first thing you must do is clip the hair around the area of your dog's bare spot and up to about one half of an inch past it. You may need to have someone help you keep your dog still or preoccupied in order to prevent you from accidentally injuring the skin. Clipping the hair will reduce the chances of spreading the ringworm by confining the infection to just that area and also make for an easier application of the treatment.
Remember to carefully dispose the infected hair once you remove it, burning it if possible. Ringworm can still feed on the hair even after it is off your dog and is contagious on contact. Vacuum the area where you did the clipping to catch loose hairs. You also need to vacuum carefully and regularly if your pet has ringworm. Wash bedding, dishes, and utensils with soap and hot water and always wash your hands properly.
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