Can Cats and Dogs Catch Ringworm?

Yes, dogs and cats can absolutely get Ringworm! Ringworm, also known as Dermatophytosis, is the name for several types of fungal infection that can infect the skin of both pets and people. Below is a brief guide about the causes of Ringworm, the signs of an infection, the methods for diagnosing and treating Ringworm, and some important tips on keeping your pets safe and healthy.

How Is Ringworm Spread?

The organisms that create the Ringworm infection can be found most soil, or even on the surface of pets and humans. Fungal spores in the environment can remain a source of infection for long periods of time, potentially infecting multiple animals who come into contact with them. Pets may catch the infection from any of these sources and, in turn, pass the infection along to others through physical contact - a common way that the fungal infection spreads.

How Will I Know If My Pet Is Infected?

The skin lesions caused by the Ringworm infection are usually circular with a red outer edge, inspiring the name "Ringworm" for the condition. Hair loss and skin crusting may accompany infection. However, the lesions may not always look like this, so be sure to consult your veterinarian, who can test any crusting spots.

How Is Ringworm Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on an examination of any potential signs of infection as well as a host of laboratory tests. Often, special skin testing is required to confirm a diagnosis of the infection.

How Is Ringworm Treated?

Treatment varies depending on the extent and severity of infection. Topical medications or medicated shampoos are effective in many cases, though, in some cases your veterinarian may prescribe an oral antifungal medication if necessary.

Important Information About Handling a Ringworm Infection

  • Use all medications and skin treatments as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Monitor your pet's progress carefully and have him or her rechecked as directed by your veterinarian.
  • Clean all pet bedding, clothing, and grooming materials.
  • Up to six weeks of treatment may be required to resolve some cases of Ringworm.
  • Some types of Ringworm are contagious to humans. Check with your physician if you have questions.

Need More Information?

If you have any other questions about this or any condition, consult your local veterinarian, look through our Pet Health or Ask a Vet libraries, or browse through a few of the infection and parasite control links below.

Updated 11/06/2015