CBD Oil For Dogs With Ringworms
Most people think of ringworms as a type of parasite, much like tapeworms, whipworms, hookworms, and roundworms. However, ringworm is actually a fungus, common all around the world. This fungus can infect people and most animal species, including pet dogs.
What is Ringworms in Dogs
Ringworms in dogs is a fungal infection termed medically as Dermatophytosis (1). While it is not a deadly disease, it is still advisable to seek veterinary advice. This is because ringworm is highly contagious. An infected pet dog can transfer the fungus easily to humans, and vice versa.
The fungus that causes ringworm lives and grows in the superficial or outermost layer of the skin. Because of this, ringworm in dogs usually affects the hair or coat, skin, and nails or claws.
Different Types of Ringworms
There are three types of fungi that can cause ringworms in dogs. In about 70% of all cases, Microsporum canis is the culprit. Microsporum gypseum causes 20%, and the last minor 10% of all cases is caused by Trichophyton mentagrophytes (2). All these fungal species can also infect humans.
These fungi can live in skin cells and hair follicles. Because both humans and dogs shed both, the infection can easily spread. The fungus Microsporum gypseum lives in soil. A pet dog or a human can get the fungus from spending time in the garden or outdoor parks.
How to Prevent Ringworms in Dogs
A pet dog can become infected with ringworm if it comes into close contact with another dog or person who is infected with the fungus, or, if the dog picks up the fungus from the soil. Although it is almost impossible to rid the soil of the fungus that causes ringworm, There are a few measures dog owners can take to minimize infection and its spread. Such measures are:
- Regular cleaning of the dog’s area, including beddings and toys
- Regular and proper disposal of shed dog hairs from floors, furniture, and grooming tools
- Regular vacuuming of the house
- Disinfection of all areas of the house where the dog frequents
- Quarantining an infected dog to a small area to minimize spread (3)
Fungal spores in particular are hardier than other types of fungi. Microsporum canis and Microsporum gypseum can live in shed hair follicles and skin cells for months. This makes vacuuming and disinfecting important especially if a pet dog already has or is suspected to have ringworm.
Symptoms of Ringworms in Dogs
Ringworm in dogs presents itself in many ways. The most common telltale sign are the circular bald patches throughout the dog’s face and body. These lesions may become red, crusty, or scaly. Some dogs get bumps like acne on their skin. Some dogs will find the lesions to be itchy, but some might not.
Aside from patchy lesions, the dog’s hair or coat will also become dull and brittle. If the paws become infected, the nails or claws will become rough and brittle (1).
Current Treatments for Ringworms
Before treatment can start, a vet must first diagnose if the dog does have ringworm. The vet can do a physical exam, take hair samples to examine under the microscope or send for lab testing and fungal culture (4). The vet can also use a special UV lamp called Wood’s Lamp. It can pick up the fungal excretions and show them as a yellow greenish fluorescence (3).
Treatment after diagnosis depends on the severity of the infection. Other considerations to think about; are there other dogs or cats in the home, and if there are immunocompromised people in the home. These include small children, the elderly, and those undergoing chemotherapy.
The most common therapies include topical treatments, oral medications, and decontamination of the home and surroundings.
Topical treatments may include ointments, creams, or medicated shampoos. Infected dogs with long or fluffy coats might require trimming or even shaving to minimize the spread of infection. Topical therapy takes months before it completely stops the infection. However, it does help with preventing the infection from spreading from stray hair follicles and skin cells.
Sometimes, the vet will add oral medication on top of topical treatments. The most prescribed antifungal medications are Ketoconazole, Itraconazole, and Griseofulvin (5). The medication must be taken by the dog for at least six weeks. As with topical therapy, most medications will take several months before taking effect.
The most important part of the treatment is decontaminating the dog’s area. This is to make sure that the dog will not be re-infected by the fungi still living in the shed hair within the pet’s quarters.
Dogs Ringworms Natural Home Remedies
There are several natural home remedies that can help relieve or eliminate ringworm in dogs. One remedy is apple cider vinegar (6). A solution of one part apple cider vinegar and one part water is used. The solution is applied to the infected lesions several times a day. The vinegar’s acidity may be effective in killing fungal spores. This apple cider vinegar solution can also relieve itching and inflammation.
Another remedy is tea tree oil (6). Tea tree essential oil has anti-fungal properties, so it may be effective in treating ringworm in dogs. Tea tree essential oil is diluted at 1% strength with water, and is applied to the infected areas twice a day. Like the apple cider vinegar solution, this remedy can also help with inflammation and itching.
Another remedy is CBD oil, or cannabidiol oil (5). Cannabidiol is a substance or chemical compound extracted from the hemp plant. CBD oil is a powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory substance, and is effective in relieving many of the symptoms of ringworms in dogs.
Aside from relieving itching and inflammation, which can also be achieved with apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil, CBD oil can also help calm dogs (5). This is especially helpful in puppies and senior dogs, who happen to be the most susceptible to ringworm infections.
Another reason why CBD oil is a recommended natural remedy is because when given in proper doses, it is relatively harmless to dogs, even to puppies (7). This is in comparison with conventional analgesics that may do harm to a puppy’s internal organs.
How Much CBD Should I Give My Dogs with Ringworms
Pet owners who want to try giving CBD oil to their dogs will need the help of their veterinarian. The proper dosage will depend on many things, such as the dog’s other treatments, weight, and severity of the infection. Only a vet can calculate for the correct, effective, and safe dose.
Moreover, it might be illegal in some places to procure CBD oil without a marijuana card or license (7). Talking with the veterinarian will prevent legal and medical complications.