Over the last year, the world has been paying much closer attention to zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can be transferred between humans and animals. Some diseases have taken over the spotlight more than others. However the others, like ringworm, haven’t gotten the attention they deserve. This form of zoonosis can cause serious problems for your pets. Even if they do not have it, it is helpful to know about ringworm treatment for dogs and cats.

What Is Ringworm?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of dealing with ringworm, we want to back up and explain what it is and how your pets can get it. Ringworm is a fungal infection that is very contagious. In very mild cases, your dog or cat (or even yourself) might not display any symptoms. In severe cases, however, there might be a lot of itchiness, patches of hair loss, and blisters on the skin. 

Ringworm is such a big deal because of how easily it passes between hosts (both furry and human). It can survive for weeks in infected tissue, which others can come into contact with on an animal or human, or even on bed sheets, dishes, the carpet, or any other spot where your pet spends a lot of time.

My Pet Has Ringworm, What Do I Do?

If you suspect your pet (or your foster pet) has ringworm, it is important to quarantine them away from all other animals in the house to prevent a potential outbreak. Schedule an appointment with your Elmhurst Animal Care Center veterinarian and do the following in your home:

  • Vacuum Everywhere: Vacuum your entire house thoroughly to get rid of any infected tissue before someone else in your house comes into contact with it. Wear gloves and empty the contents of the vacuum immediately, then throw out the trash right away.
  • Clean Other Floor Surfaces: If you have wood or tile in your home, use a disposable product to clean the floors and dispose of the pad immediately(while wearing gloves).
  • Get Hair Off the Furniture: While wearing gloves, use a lint roller or a long piece of duct tape to remove hair from the furniture. Continue to do it a few times even after you no longer see any hair.
  • Do Laundry: Wash any bedsheets, pet beds, towels, or other items you can put into the washing machine. If you cannot wash your pet beds in the machine, seal them in plastic and replace them with new ones. 

Ringworm Treatment for Dogs and Cats

Your veterinarian will determine the best treatment for your pet’s ringworm depending on its severity. Most treatment options will require a few weeks to become truly effective. Treatments often include at least one of the following:

  • Medicated Shampoo
  • Topical Ointments
  • Removing fur so there is less chance of the infection thriving 
  • Oral medication

Since ringworm is a fungal infection, the fungus needs to be eradicated completely to fully heal your pet from the infection. 
If you suspect any animals in your home might have ringworm, call Elmhurst Animal Care Center at (630) 530-1900 to schedule an appointment with one of our caring veterinarians.