I've received several messages this summer from people concerned that their pup my have a case of Ringworm. While it's not impossible, it's more likely the sores they are finding on their pooch are from a fly bite.
First things first; despite the name ringworm is NOT a worm, but rather a really nasty and contagious fungal infection that can be spread from your dog to you or vice versa.
The name simply came about because the infection can someone resemble a worm when found on a person. Ringworm in animals does not present in the same bulls-eye we have become accustom to associating with the fungus. In fact, Ringworm in animals present as more of a grey discoloration, with dry, scaly skin and cover an animals entire body in severe cases.
It's diagnosed using a Wood Lamp, a skin scrape, or by observing the hairs of an infected area under a microscope. Treatment varies depending on the strain and severity.
So, if it's not Ringworm what else could it be? Fly bites.
Fly bites are most common on a dogs tummy as most dogs have exposed skin or less fur there. Fly bites can appear in a red circular shape, about the size of a nickel, and may even have a red center. Hence why so many think their dog has been infected with Ringworm when they have not. Fly bites generally do not require medical treatment and will go away on their own within a few days.
It's always better to be safe than sorry, so set up an appointment with your vet if your dog presents with any new skin lesions or abrasions.
With over 10 years of experience through ownership and rescue work, I hope to share my knowledge and insight to happier, healthier fur kids. Have a question, feel free to ask!