Though its name would suggest it is caused by worms, ringworm is actually a fungal infection of the skin. It's quite common in dogs, and sadly, it can be passed from dogs onto humans and other mammals. If your dog develops the itchy, red, hairless, circular patches associated with ringworm, the best thing to do is take him to your vet for treatment with fungicides. But beyond using the fungicide creams and shampoos your vet recommends, there are three other steps you'll want to take:
Wash All Bedding
The ringworm fungus can live on your dog's bedding, waiting to re-infest his skin whenever he lays down. So, put on a pair of gloves, gather all of your dog's bedding (including any of your own sheets and pillows he might lounge on) and launder them all in hot water. Use bleach if possible; this will ensure the fungi are eliminated. Once the bedding has been washed, dry it in the dryer -- also on high heat. If there are bedding items you cannot wash and dry, throw them away. Again, make sure you wear gloves while doing this and wash your hands afterward to ensure you don't get ringworm yourself.
Watch Your Family Members and Other Pets
It's important to avoid handling your dog any more than necessary until the ringworm has cleared up. Also, try to keep other pets away from your dog. Do keep a close eye on other pets and family members. If anyone develops round, itchy patches on their skin, contact your doctor (or your vet, if it's a pet) to get the necessary anti-fungal medications for treatment.
Shave His Hair
If you have a dog with longer hair, it is a good idea to use a set of clippers and shave his extra hair around the ringworm patches. This will make it easier to apply the fungicide cream, or if your vet has recommended a fungal shampoo, it will ensure greater contact between the shampoo and your dog's skin.
Gather all of the hair you shave off into a bag and dispose of it outside. Sanitize the area where you groomed your dog, and also use some rubbing alcohol on the clippers to kill any fungi they have picked up.
Getting rid of ringworm and keeping it from spreading can be a challenge, but with the tips above, you can do it! Talk to your vet to learn more. Contact a company like Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital for more information and assistance.