Pets

Dogs not necessarily the source of daughter’s ringworm

 

khulyp@bellsouth.net

Q: I had to take my daughter to the dermatologist after she developed a rash on her arms and chest. When the doctor told me it was ringworm she got from our pets, I couldn’t believe it. Our dogs are so clean and healthy. What am I doing wrong?

A: Your dermatologist is not necessarily correct. In in cases where other dogs and humans in the household have no lesions, it’s likely that the single infected person or animal picked up ringworm from the environment (soil is a prime culprit).

Ringworm is not caused by worms. Rather, this common skin infection is caused by a fungus but it’s commonly called “ringworm” as a result of the characteristic ring-like lesions. The fungus Microsporum canis invades the superficial layers of the skin, hair or claws.

Because it thrives in moist environments, the fungus is especially persistent in humid climates and damp surroundings such as South Florida backyards. Ringmworm is readily transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa. (Kittens are notorious for their susceptibility.)

While symptom-free dogs are an unlikely source of infection, it is possible that one or more of your dogs is a carrier. To sort it out, your veterinarian can perform a simple fungal culture on each pet and examine their skin under ultraviolet light. Neither test is 100 percent effective, but it should give you peace of mind. So might treating your pets with topical dips or shampoos just in case.

The good news is that ringworm infections in healthy humans and pets are self-limiting, meaning that three months from now this infection will likely be a distant if unsavory memory.

Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice in South Miami. Her website is drpattykhuly.com. Send questions to khulyp@bellsouth.net.

Read more Pets stories from the Miami Herald

  • Talking Dogs: Salutes and tips for owning a canine friend

    Dog lovers had cause to rejoice the last week of August, as the 25th was National Dog Day. This "Howliday" was started in 2004 to encourage the adoption of dogs in shelters - and bring attention to the ridiculously high numbers of such dogs. If you've decided you're ready for the responsibility of owning and caring for a dog, consider finding your new companion at your local shelter or a pure breed rescue organization.

  • What a treat! Your dog might enjoy a kennel stay: study

    Many dog owners have had their vacations marred because they were so worried about how little Scruffy was faring in the boarding kennel back home.

  • Sit! Stay! Listen! Pet Life Radio is on

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -Want to know the latest trends in carpeted cat furniture? What to do about your dog's strange skin rash? If you really can train a rabbit to walk on a leash?

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category