Dermatomycosis in dogs is caused by many species. Mycosis of the superficial layer of the skin is usually caused by dermatophytes or yeast-like fungi. The latter usually complicate canine ear infections or sole infections. Mould infection of the skin is less common
HOW DOES INFECTION OCCUR? CAN HUMANS BECOME INFECTED?
Infection most often occurs through direct contact with a sick animal or an animal that does not show signs of disease but is nevertheless a carrier. The likelihood of infection increases if the fungus enters the affected skin or the animal is immunosuppressed. The decrease in immunity may be temporary, e.g. due to severe stress or heat, or long-lasting if the animal suffers from other diseases or receives immunosuppressive drugs.
Every owner needs to be aware that this is a zoonosis, i.e. a disease that can be transmitted to humans. If dermatophytosis is diagnosed in a dog, special hygiene should be maintained after contact with the dog.
HOW DO YOU RECOGNISE DERMATOPHYTOSIS? WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Dermatophytes usually cause the appearance of bald „patches” on the skin of the animal. These „patches” are characterised by increased hair loss (or rather a brittleness) and the skin in the area is often flaky. Mycosis rarely causes itching or redness of the skin, however, mycosis is often complicated by bacteria (or vice versa) and such a mixed infection can manifest itself as itching and redness.
Not only bald patches are a symptom of this disease. Not infrequently occurs generalized mycosis, the symptom of which may be dandruff.
Infection with yeast-like fungi occurs most often in the animal’s ear canal or the foot area. It is important to know that yeast-like fungi are physiologically present on the skin of the animal and do not cause disease in healthy animals. Excessive growth of these fungi and the inflammation they cause usually occurs as a result of other diseases in the animal, e.g. in the case of allergies. To cure your dog of candidiasis, you must first diagnose and treat the root cause of the disease.
Ultraviolet light is often used to diagnose dermatophytosis. Some types of dermatophytes glow when exposed to ultraviolet light. If the fungus „lights up” the vet will know which dermatophyte he is dealing with. The main diagnostic test for suspected dermatophytosis is scraping and Trichogramma, which is a microscopic examination of hair and epidermis from the affected area. The material taken from the affected area may also be used for microbiological examination, i.e. culture of the fungus in a suitable medium for identification.
TREATMENT OF DERMATOPHYTOSIS IN DOGS
Treatment can be topical or general, depending on the severity of the symptoms. During general treatment, drugs are administered orally, usually in tablet form. Antifungal drugs often have nephron or hepatotoxic effects, i.e. toxicity to the kidneys and liver or other organs. Before, during and after the general treatment, it is advisable to have a blood test to check for organ damage.
The second way of treatment is local. It can be used if the mycosis is only local. In the case of local treatment shampoos, sprays or ointments are used.
Sometimes both local and general treatment is necessary. The decision about the way of treatment should be made by the vet together with the owner of the animal.
PREVENTION OF DISEASE
To prevent mycosis in dogs it is necessary to keep dogs in hygienic conditions and low density. Well-fed dogs, that have regular visits to the vet and are in good physical condition are less likely to suffer from ringworm. Fungi are rarely the primary cause of disease. Once ringworm has been diagnosed in a dog, it is important to establish why the animal is infected. It could be that he is suffering from another disease that has lowered his immunity.