Our Vancouver Animal Hospital wanted to offer some insight and helpful tips regarding ringworm and your pets. Even though the name Ringworm suggests a worm, ringworm is actually a fungal infection of the skin. The name itself is derived from the red worm like lesion seen on the surface of the skin of an infected animal or human. Ringworm can be distinguished by hair loss in some areas with rough patches on the skin. Ringworm is contagious and can be passed from human to human, from animal to human and vice versa. Ringworm can also be transferred on infected grooming utensils, carpets, bedding, and from direct contact.

How to Treat your Pet:
In the best case scenario the ringworm may go away on its own but this really depends on your pet’s immune system, skin condition and severity of the infection. In mild cases using an anti-fungal shampoo can be beneficial as well as shaving the affected area. Ringworm is more common in felines than in canines especially in kittens and younger cats.

How to Protect your Home:
If you are concerned that your pet may have become infected with ringworm then you should contact your vet as soon as possible. If you have multiple pets in your household then your other pets may need to be disinfected as well. The spores of ringworm are very resilient and can survive up to 18 months if the environment is right.

Corral the pets to a confined room so you can begin disinfecting the household. Vacuum the entire house thoroughly and often. Dispose of any bedding, rugs, or toys if possible. Wash surfaces with warm water and soap and disinfect surfaces with 1:10 bleach to water mixture. Repeat these steps as often as possible until the infection is completely resolved.

How to Protect Yourself:
After you’ve devoted some time to maintaining the cleanliness of your home spend some time on taking care of yourself. Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning or touching your pets. Disinfect any of your belongings that come in contact with your pets and wash your clothes often.

We hope that this blog post can provide some helpful information in understanding and dealing with ringworm in the household. If you are concerned that your dog or cat may have become infected with ringworm don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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