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Questions for Dr. Shawn - Ringworm

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"Dear Dr. Shawn:
"Recently we got our daughter a kitten for her birthday. After we got it home we discovered it has ringworm. I am treating the cat with organic apple cider vinegar, but now our dog has ringworm on his face and by his eye. Should I treat him the same as the kitten, or does he need more help?"

”Ringworm is quite common in kittens and is often seen in puppies as well. Usually, due to a mature immune system, it’s not a problem in older dogs and cats. Typically, ringworm (which is caused by a fungus and not a worm) produces ring-like circular lesions of hairloss and crusting. These are the classic lesions, but in practice ringworm can look like any number of skin disorders.

The best way to diagnose it is by a fungal culture. Conventional therapy uses a drug called griseofulvin which is taken orally for 1-2 months. It is relatively expensive and rarely causes side effects. Using natural therapies, including tea tree oil, olive leaf extracts, echincacea, homeopathic sulfur, topical shampoos, or the apple cider vinegar that you mentioned are also effective.

In my practice, it is very rare that I ever need to use conventional medications to treat fungal skin or ear infections and most respond quite nicely to natural therapies. I would recommend treating all exposed pets including your dog, as exposed pets can harbor the infection even though they may never develop dermatitis. Finally, keep in mind that ringworm is a zoonotic disease which means your pet can transmit the infection to you and other family members.



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