Skin fungus in dogs what dog owners should know

Skin fungus disease. The dermatophytes can cause skin. Infect the hair of the infected animals. The dermatophytes can cause skin. The hairs of infected animals infect. There are different types of fungi that can cause an infection: Microsporum canis, Trichophyton gypseum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. Since these types of fungi are zoonoses, they can be transmitted not only from animal to animal, but also from animal to human or vice versa.

How do the symptoms manifest themselves?

The symptoms of dermatophytosis can be very diverse. Besides the visibly infected animals, there are also asymptomatic carriers, which do not show any external signs of a fungal skin disease, but can still be highly contagious. Often, however, in sufferers can be responsible for skin fungus typical damage to the coat, such as breakage of the coat and hair loss, can be seen. A characteristic feature of psoriasis is that the areas of hair loss are circular and sharply demarcated. In addition, the skin there may also be slightly to strongly reddened and possibly. dandruff. By the itch-conditioned scratching can beyond that Secondary infections develop in the affected areas, which can cause inflammation of the skin as well as crusts to form. Often, especially the face, ears and limbs, as well as the tail of the dog are affected by the skin fungus. Nevertheless, especially through scratching, the spores can also reach other areas of the body and thus spread easily.

Who is at risk?

Especially young and old respectively. weak dogs are at risk of contracting dermatophytosis. Also a weakened immune system, For example, caused by other diseases, parasite infestation or a poor diet of the dog, plays a decisive role and can be a predisposing factor. The infection can be transmitted via a direct contact to a visibly infected or also asymptomatic animal can occur. But also a indirect infection via the infected environment is possible, for example if the same brushes and beds are used. A warm and humid climate favors the spreading of the fungi. Differences could also be found in the different breeds. In particular, infections with the fungal species Microsporum canis have been observed in the Yorkshire Terrier. In the Jack Russell Terrier, on the other hand, the Trichophyton type is more common.

How does the infection occur?

If a dog has direct or indirect contact with an animal or human suffering from skin fungus, the fungal spores can also be transferred to its skin and coat. The fungus enters the skin through small cracks in the skin and forms its root system, which penetrates the keratinized outer layer of the skin and the hair follicle, where it continues to grow in the direction of the hair root. The fungus is able to emit keratolytic substances with which it can destroy the horny layer of the hair. In this way it is possible for it to penetrate even further into the hair. hair loss, allergic reactions and itching as well as inflammations are the result. After the fungus has built up a widely ramified root system in this way, it now begins to reproduce and produces masses of spores to reach the largest possible number of new hosts. Due to the infected hair and dandruff, the fungus can also be easily distributed in the environment.

How is a skin fungus diagnosed?

Visually, dermatophytosis is difficult to distinguish from other skin diseases such as demodicosis or bacterial folliculitis. A thorough diagnosis is therefore the cornerstone for further treatment. This usually occurs via several pathways. On the one hand, the affected skin area can be in contact with the Wood's lamp be examined. Some microsporum species show fluorescence when excited with UV light. This is why the skin appears green when the test is positive. However, this examination is only recommended to a limited extent, as it is very prone to errors. It should therefore only be used as a first quick test. Another possibility is the examination of hair and skin particles under the skin Microscope dar. The most reliable proof, on the other hand, is provided by the Creation of a fungal culture. In this way, it is also possible to distinguish between the different pathogens. If a fungal skin disease is suspected, a fungal culture should be taken in any case.

How is the treatment carried out?

Animals infected with skin fungus have a very high risk of infection, also towards humans. A comprehensive treatment is therefore very important. In general, the treatment is usually very lengthy and often extends over several weeks and months. In any case, a veterinarian should be consulted as soon as the first symptoms appear. The goal of treatment is therefore to completely eliminate the pathogens and effectively prevent reinfection. Since the fungal spores are very persistent, the treatment must be done very carefully according to the instructions of the veterinarian and in most cases consists of 3 steps:

1. Elimination of infectious hairs and scales and reduction of their distribution in the environment 2. Terminating the infection on the affected animal itself 3. Treatment of the environment and thus the prevention of reinfection

An exclusive treatment with spot-on preparations is not recommended, because in this way not all fungal spores are effectively combated and the also important treatment of the contaminated environment is neglected. Thus the danger of a new infection would be very high. Therefore, a optimal treatment from several components together:

– The oral treatment in the form of tablet administration – The topical treatment, in which the affected skin areas are treated externally – The disinfection of the environment

It is important that not only the visibly infected dogs but also the asymptomatic carriers are treated in this way. So also all other animals, which still live with in the household.

Decontamination of the environment

One of the most important and costly parts of the therapy is the oral treatment Decontamination of the environment otherwise it can come again and again to new infections. All objects, such as brushes, beds and toys, must be treated with an antifungal soap, then washed and rinsed and soaked in a suitable fungicidal solution for at least 10 minutes. Afterwards, the objects should only be made accessible to the dog again when it has been proven to be free of fungus again. Since this process is very time-consuming, the simpler solution is usually to simply dispose of all the dog's belongings and purchase new ones. The floors and all surfaces in the apartment must also be thoroughly cleaned. To remove all hair and dandruff, all rooms should be vacuumed first. Then it is important to wash all surfaces with a special solution as well. All animals should be excluded from the room to be treated during this time. To achieve success, the apartment must be thoroughly cleaned in this way every two weeks.

Duration of treatment

To ensure that the dog is really free of skin fungus and that all spores in the environment are removed, the treatment must be carried out until the dog has been tested negatively for skin fungus at least twice in an interval of 2 weeks. The most important thing is that the treatment is carried out consistently and conscientiously until the end. This is the only way to ensure that all spores are removed. It is possible that during the treatment already after a short time improvements and successes appear. Even then, the treatment should not be interrupted prematurely, otherwise the skin fungus can reappear or the dog continues to act as a carrier, even if externally no more signs of disease are apparent.

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