Canine parasites is probably not something you worry about all that often. Parasitic fungal infections that affect the skin, hair and/or nails is referred to as dermatophytosis; ringworm is one of these parasitic infections that occur in dogs, cats and other mammals. 

When a dog has ringworm it is a big concern because it can cause painful, itchy lesions on the skin.  Other symptoms of dermatophytosis include:

* Dandruff
* Reddened skin
* Poor hair coat
* Darkened skin
* Hair loss

A victim of ringworm may also experience raised lesions that frequently ooze, and inflammation of the claw folds. Some dogs can simply be carriers of the infection, meaning that they do not show any symptoms but can pass it on to other animals.  Although it does no harm to them, it should always be taken care of to prevent problems for other animals.

Ringworm in dogs is caused by infections from the fungi Microsporum canis, microsporum gypseum and trichophyton mentagrophytes. The risk of your pet developing ringworm varies on where you live.  Dogs kept in environments that are densely populated with animals are more susceptible to infection. For example, if you are adopting a dog from an animal shelter or kennel, you should have their skin checked for ring worm. Also, animals kept in poor living conditions are at an increased risk for infection. It is important to note that there are certain diseases and medications that decrease the body’s ability to develop a normal immune response, therefore making it more prone to infection. Talk to your veterinarian about these risks. 

In order for ringworm in dogs to be diagnosed, a veterinarian needs to do a fungal culture of skin clippings, an examination of a sample of hair and if the case is serious enough, a biopsy.  Treatment for ringworm is usually a simple process, and most dogs can be treated on an outpatient basis.  Antifungal medications are among the most common treatment and it is important to keep an eye on your dog incase side effects develop.  Another way to treat dogs with parasites is by using a lime sulfur dip, which is a sulfur concentrate for non-specific dermotoses and parasites. 

Canine parasites can be prevented by keeping a close eye on your dog's skin and hair condition, maintaining a clean environment and having regular vet checkups.