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Ringworm, What Is It? Prevention And Treatments

Ringworm also called tinea is a communicable disease that can be transferred from pets to people, person to person, as well as from people to pets.

I caught ringworm about a week ago. I had made the mistake of commenting to an employee that I had worked with all these animals for 3 years now and never had caught ringworm, even though other employees had. Sure enough a few days after I said that I noticed an extremely itchy spot had appeared on my arm.

Ringworm is not a worm at all, but a fungus that tends to present itself as a scaly round red raised patch on the skin, and tend to look normal and healed in the center, giving it an appearance as if there was a worm under the skin. The most common areas for ringworm to appear on pets are the face, ear tips, tail, and paws. Any mammal can catch ringworm and it is extremely contagious. The most common pets I have seen get ringworm are guinea pigs, cats, dogs, and rabbits.

If you are not sure if you have ringworm or not, some cases are not as obvious as others, your doctor can run tests to confirm if it is a fungus. Ringworm can also typically be seen under a black light. Ringworm is very easily treated in people. Topical antifungal creams and sprays such as lotrimin or tinactin can be found at almost any drugstore. You will want to cleanse and apply the topical as recommended on the label and keep the area covered until the ringworm has completely cleared and then continue to treat the area for at least an additional week to insure the fungus has been completely killed off.

If you are unsure if you have ringworm, or are having difficulty treating it, doctors can also prescribe antifungal pills to help get rid of it.

Ringworm in pets will typically result in hair loss at the infected area and tends to cause scratching and discomfort. Not all hair loss is always the result of ringworm and a trip to the vet will be able to tell you if it is ringworm or something else. Treatment for pets is still simple and your vet can prescribe an ointment or pill to help get rid of the ringworm, but preventing it from spreading can be more tasking. Keeping pets bedding clean and keeping your pet confined until the infection has cleared as well as using gloves and thoroughly washing your hands while treating your pet or handling their belongings can help aid the process.

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