Ringworm Is Not a Worm

By Susan Aiello • Published: October 1st, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

Just as cat burglars aren’t felonious felines and pony tails aren’t found on horses, ringworm isn’t actually caused by worms at all.

It’s a fungus that forms ring-shaped skin lesions on people and cats. In dogs, ringworm usually consists of bald, scaly patches on the feet, face, ears or tail.

The fungus attacks dead tissues such as hair, nails and dandruff, but living skin may become red and itchy because of an immune reaction or bacterial infection. Although this annoying rash might clear on its own, some cases are persistent and treatment can stop its spread to other pets or people. Children and adults with weak immune systems are particularly susceptible.

After a culture confirms the diagnosis, your veterinarian can prescribe topical or oral medications to kill the fungus.

It’s good to treat all pets as well as items such as brushes that touch skin and hair. That’s the best way to keep this rash from worming its way into your family.