Does your dog have fungus problems? Just the word alone is enough to make a pet owner shudder. Dog fungus is a pesky problem. Not only can it irritate your dog’s skin and cause hair loss, but it can also spread to humans.
Is contagious? Very, which is why it is so frustrating. But there are steps all dog owners can take to prevent it. Let’s review what dog fungus is, how it’s caused, and how to prevent it.
What Is Dog Fungus?
Dog fungus is a collection of pathogenic fungi. The fungi grow in the hair follicles and the outermost layer of skin of the infected dog. The fungus is superficial, and therefore only affects the dog’s skin and coat.
Different types of fungi can cause this in dogs. The most common are:
- Microsporum canis (70% of all dog dog fungus cases)
- Microsporum gypseum (20% of all dog dog fungus cases)
- Trichophyton mentagrophytes (10% of all dog dog fungus cases)
dog fungus is not a life-threatening condition, but it is very contagious and requires veterinarian care.
Dog Fungus Symptoms
Dog fungus infiltrates hair follicles to create hair loss. Most dogs with dog fungus develop bare patches of skin on their bodies. The fungus also creates lesions that can become inflamed or scabbed.
Pet owners need to be on the lookout for dog fungus symptoms. Early detection makes it easier to support. Signs of dog fungus in dogs include:
- Scabby skin
- Dry and brittle hair
- Circular areas of hair loss
- Brittle claws (only occurs if fungi infect the paws)
If you notice these symptoms, contact your local veterinarian for assistance. Changes in a dog’s coat and skin infections can be signs of something more serious or nutritional deficiencies. It’s best to get a professional diagnosis so you can give Fido the right treatment.
Dog Fungus Treatment
A veterinarian examines dogs with fungus through a physical exam. The vet may take hair or skin samples to evaluate under a Wood’s lamp. A Wood’s lamp uses ultraviolet light to detect fungi.
If diagnosed with dog fungus, the veterinarian may recommend long-haired dogs get clipped to stop the fungi from spreading. The vet will start by using topical creams or medicated shampoos to control the fungus.
In addition to topical treatments, anti-fungal oral medications are also given to dogs with dog fungus. Both topical therapy and oral medications must be given to the dog for a minimum of six weeks. Stopping too early allows the fungi to return and continue spreading to other pets and humans.
How Does Dog Fungus Spread?
Dog fungus is not deadly, but it is easily spread.
Like all fungi, it spreads through spores. When a dog comes into direct contact with an infected person, animal, or object, the spores attach themselves to the dog. The fungi spread by infiltrating hair follicles. When the hair breaks or naturally sheds, the spores can travel to new hosts.
Can dogs spread fungus to humans? Absolutely. An estimated 50% of people who have contact with a fungal animal develop a fungus. Dogs can contract fungus from anything and anyone. It could be another pet, a human, or an object. Once the dog has it, he can easily spread it to others. When another pet or a human comes in contact with contaminated objects like couches, food bowls, bedding, and clothing, they can contract the fungus.
For example, let’s say your dog sleeps with you in bed. When the dog hops into bed, he leaves behind fungal spores responsible for fungus. When you climb into bed, you expose yourself to fungus. And once you have fungus, you can easily spread it to others.
How Long Is Fungus Spreadable?
What makes fungus so contagious? The longevity of the fungal spores combined with how it spreads. Hair follicles carrying fungal spores are contagious for up to 18 months. That means for 18 months, hair follicles can contaminate objects and spread to others.
If your dog has fungus issues, you and any others who live in your house may have it as well. Anyone can contract the fungus, but young children, the elderly, and those with autoimmune disorders have the highest risk.
Can You Prevent Dog Fungus From Spreading?
Preventing the spread of dog fungus requires decontaminating your environment. Fungal spores live inside hair follicles. If you are worried about a dog fungus outbreak, try:
- Vacuuming dog hair from furniture and carpets once per day
- Using diluted bleach mixtures to clean surfaces twice a week
- Washing pet bedding with hot water once a week
- Keeping up with regular pet grooming and bathing to reduce shedding
Keep an eye on your dog to prevent dog fungus contractions. Do not let Fido dig around rodent holes, as they are common dog fungus carriers. Immediately wash your dog if he comes into contact with a feral animal or an unfamiliar dog at the dog park.
Pet owners of dogs with higher risks of developing dog fungus may need to be especially cautious. This includes young puppies, older dogs, and canines with compromised immune systems or skin conditions. Certain breeds, including Yorkies and Jack Russell terriers, are more prone to contracting dog fungus than others.
Keeping your canine in tip-top shape plays a key role in preventing fungal problems. Stay on top of wellness visits by getting your dog a checkup twice a year. Feed your pooch a nutrient-rich diet that fuels his immune system. The healthier the dog, the easier it is to treat any type of fungal infection.
Protect Your Pup From Unhealthy Skin
Dog fungus is easily spread and can quickly affect an entire household. But by familiarizing yourself with the common signs of fungus in dogs, you can potentially catch a dog fungus crisis before it starts.
Strong skin is the foundation of a healthy dog. Not only can resilient skin help with seasonal and occasional allergies, but it can also lead to better immune health and reduced excessive occasional shedding.
But how can you boost your dog’s skin health? Try using Pet Honesty’s Chlorhexidine Shampoo.
Order a bottle now and start promoting your dog's skin health.