Skin infections caused by fungi in dogs and zoonoses


Did you know that there are thousands of different species of fungi? And many of them can affect your dog. But don't get overwhelmed! It would be impossible to talk about all types of fungi, but we are going to tell you in general terms how to detect fungi in dogs, their possible causes and their treatment. Keep reading!

Symptoms of fungi in dogs

Fungi in dogs, whatever type they are, They are a topical condition, that is, fungi affect the surface of the skin. Although they can vary depending on the case, usually the symptoms of fungi in dogs are:

  • Itching
  • Localized hair loss
  • Flaked skin with whitish or black tone
  • Inflammations, irritations or skin hardness.
  • Hair color change without hair
  • Nail injuries
  • Discomfort, nervousness, lack of comfort> (Photo via: elblogdeabritos)

If you suspect your dog may have fungus, go to the vet immediately. There he will perform an eye exam and take samples of the affected areas, usually skin and hair, but sometimes also of the nails. After, the samples are studied by means of a culture or by the microscope.

If it is confirmed that your dog has fungi, The veterinarian will prescribe the most appropriate treatment to fight the infection. Remember, the sooner you go to the office, the easier it will be to get it, if not, the fungi will reproduce more and more.

Treatment for fungi in dogs

After the diagnosis, we will proceed to treat the fungi in dogs that best suits the type of fungus, severity or other factors.

The most common is allopathic (conventional) treatment: are used antibiotics or corticosteroids, sometimes a combination of both. The most common medication is Ketoconazole and it exists in several formats, both oral and topical.

Remember! Give these medications to your pet only if prescribed by the veterinarian., and always do it at the recommended doses and frequencies. Don't medicate your dog on your own!

On the other hand, ask for advice on what you can do at home to speed up the healing process: keeping the area well clean and dry will be essential. Complements the treatment for fungi in dogs with the care that you recommend. Further, You know that good food is essential for your pet to have good defenses and be free of fungi in dogs and many other problems.

Are dog fungi spread to people?

Yes, fungi are contagious: between dogs, between dogs and other animal species ... and also from dogs to humans! The contagion can be produced by direct contact or even by transmission via objects if they have hairs or skin scales affected.

That is why it is so important to be aware of the symptoms of fungi in dogs and go to the veterinarian for treatment. If you don't, not only your hairy is in danger, but also you and your whole family.

Fungal infections in dogs

Fungal infections at the skin level are called dermatophytosis or cutaneous mycoses. Fungi have the ability to invade and live in the hair, skin and nails of many living things, in this case, we will talk about fungi in dogs.

The genera of fungi that most frequently affect domestic animals are: Microsporum, Trichophyton and Epidermophyton, being the Microsporun canis, Microsporum gypseum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes species which are most often isolated in dogs and cats.

Fungal infections have a higher incidence in tropical or humid climates, and these infections have a high zoonotic potential, that is, they can be easily transmitted to humans.

The causative fungi:

• Microsporum canis: this fungus is zoophilic, that is, it is adapted to live in animals and causes most of the fungal infections of dogs and cats, in addition to being the one that is most frequently transmitted to humans (zoonosis).

• Microsporum gypseum: it is a geophilic fungus, that is, it normally lives in the soil, but it can cause skin infections that cause a lot of inflammation and thickening of the skin, especially in dogs that live outdoors, it is regularly isolated in the body areas that contact the ground, for example the legs, head, face and mouth.

• Trichophyton mentagrophytes: It is another zoophile-like fungus that affects dogs more than cats and has serious consequences on rabbits and all types of rodents since it manages to infect them, and produces very extensive infections in these that are associated with bacteria that worsen the situation.

Symptoms seen in dogs:

Fungal infections in dogs, depending on the causative agent, can range from hair loss and crusting, to the appearance of brittle hairs, small vesicles with pus (pustules), presence of exudate, and even color changes on the affected skin (hyperpigmentation).

Occasionally there is an injury called querion, which is a mass that exudes purulent material and is usually caused by the union of a fungus with a bacterium.

The most common is the appearance of several hairless areas, usually circular, with scales and dried in the center, this when the causative agent is the fungus Microsporum canis.

In young animals or those that have low defenses for some reason, skin lesions may be more extensive and require longer treatment.

Generally, extensive dermatomycosis is caused by M. gypseum fungi and by T. Mentagrophytes, where there may be itching, extensive skin inflammation, scaling, scabs and seborrhoea (excess oil on the skin and skin). hair).

It should be taken into account that demodectic mange, staphylococcal folliculitis, scrapes, zinc deficiencies, erythematous pemphigus, keratinization failures, allergic dermatitis and endocrine dermatitis are just some of the conditions that cause hair loss or loss, and show symptoms very similar to fungal infections, hence the evaluation by the professional is essential.

Similarly, if our pet is affected by fungi and lesions appear on our skin, it is important to consult with the veterinarian.

Prevention of zoonosis in people:

As with many diseases, hygiene and frequent disinfection are the best tools to prevent fungal infections. It should be noted that fungal infecting spores can live in wet environments even for several years.

It will also be necessary to avoid that the other pets with whom the infected animal lives use the same utensils or share the same place where they sleep.

Those animal owners who are applying some type of antifungal cream to their pet should wash their hands very well with a special antibacterial soap after applying the medication.

Children and people with some type of immunodeficiency should not over manipulate or medicate infected animals.

Finally, remember that the veterinarian is here to serve you and to clarify your doubts about this or other diseases of your pet.

Treatment of fungal infection in dogs:

In addition to the antifungal medication for an animal, the spread of infected materials should be avoided for both other animals and the human being.

If fungal infection is localized, topical treatments with creams may be sufficient, while with generalized conditions they require systemic medication.

Many people believe that the use of certain shampoos and soaps is sufficient to treat skin fungus, however, these are ineffective if an accurate antifungal therapy is not established.

I dare to say that the main mistake that many owners of fungal-infected animals make is to suspend the medication when they see an apparent improvement of the animal, and that is that many animals can show a normal appearance on their skin long before they are completely cured, hence the medication should be continued until the veterinarian deems it appropriate.

Fungi alone can be a causative agent of disease, however, they can also contaminate other existing skin lesions, for example a wound that has not been sutured, or skin lesions caused by the extreme itching of an allergy or Scabies, hence sometimes antifungal therapies can be accompanied by other medications.

When there is the presence of a fungus on the skin there are certain medications that should not be administered, for example, corticosteroids (prednisone, dexamethasone, betamethasone), these medications are usually used to control the itching of allergies and when applied in a dermatophytosis What they achieve is to increase the problem.

Never overlook a scratch attack or unusual pestilence. Your dog could be on the verge of suffering a serious infection. Or maybe I am already suffering from it. Here the main signs.

While they don't speak our language, dogs have many ways to communicate when they are having a health problem. You just have to be attentive and inform us.

Color and texture change
The signs that your dog has fungus on the skin will depend on where they are. The greatest alert will be given to you by the appearance of the skin. A pink or red coloration is the most common when the fungus or infection is in early stage. If it is a chronic situation, the skin may become thick, grayish or black.

Oily skin
Another sign of fungal infection is excessively oily skin.

Scaly skin
If you think that your dog is with dandruff to find small white flakes in his hair, better make sure before not self-medicating it with anti-dandruff products because it could be something more serious, such as a fungus that requires another type of treatment.

He shakes his head
Dogs shake their heads all the time, the problem is when they do it in excess. This is an alert signal as they may be suffering from ear infection. Other signs are tilting the head.

Scratching or rubbing
If your dog has an ear infection, it is possible that he also scratches his ears frequently, not only with his paws, but also with external helpers ’such as furniture, your legs or other surfaces that generate temporary relief.
Another part of the body that usually rubs when there is an infection is the anus. Dogs are put in a position similar to sitting and it can be funny, except when they rub against your favorite carpet.

While some dogs lick themselves for cleaning, they often do so to relieve itching and / or pain. If you see your dog licking a certain area of ​​his body more than normal, investigate, it could be a fungus that, if left untreated, can result in an infection.

While a fungal infection can start with a reddish appearance in the affected skin area, if not treated in time, it can become inflamed, warm up and even cause pain.

Have you ever felt that no matter how much you bathe your dog, the strong smell it emits does not go away? In that case, be sure to check closely different parts of your body, such as your ears and ears, as you might be missing an infection. The fungus can also be recognized with smell and is sometimes quite pestiferous.

Hair loss
This is a strong sign of fungal infection and is associated with inflammation.

Of all those mentioned, this is the least common. However, a fungal infection in your dog's mouth can not only cause excessive drooling but also trouble eating because of how uncomfortable it is. If your dog drops a lot of saliva, also look at his teeth or possible bites.

In all the cases mentioned, if you are not sure what may be causing the symptom in your dog, it is best to consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Most common fungi in legs and ears

There are many types of fungi that can affect a dog. However, some tend to concentrate on certain parts of the body. This is the case of malassezia pachydermatis.

This fungus usually appears on the dog's paws, as they remain wet for longer and where there is little air circulation between the fingers.

Many hairy people have this fungus, but most of the time this is not a problem. However, when the dog's immune system is weakened by some disease, allergy or skin irritation, malassezia pachydermatis can proliferate and cause discomfort.

In fact, there are some breeds of dogs more predisposed to fungal infections in the legs than others. For example: poodles, terriers, chihuahuas or German shepherds.

Fungal infections in dogs can also occur in the snout, in the groin or in the ears. In the latter case, the most common infections are those caused by the yeast fungus and should be treated to avoid ear problems.

Main symptoms of fungi in dogs

Although the symptoms of fungi in dogs can vary, normally the signs that should put us on alert are:

  • Itch on the fingers, on the pads or on the ears.
  • Loss of hair in the affected areas.
  • Peeling skin , inflamed or red>Injuries in the nails.
  • The dog seems more anxious and annoying than usual.
  • Shake your head vigorously, as if saying "NO".
  • Has earwax remains or small crusts in the ears.

If this is the case, the way forward will be to visit a veterinarian so that he can examine the affected legs or ears well and confirm if it is fungus. Normally the diagnosis is quite simple and happens to see how are the injuries that the dog presents.

To know the type of fungus that is affecting the dog, it is also likely that samples of hair, nails or skin are taken for analysis in the laboratory.

What is the treatment for fungi?

The treatment of fungi in dogs can vary depending on the type of condition and the severity of the lesions that you have on your legs or ears. Normally, the veterinarian will prescribe antifungal medications.

On the other hand, the diet will be key so that the dog returns to have high defenses and can better fight the infection. To do this, it is recommended that you eat healthy. And what else can help the fungi in the dog disappear? lets go see it.

Tips for caring for a dog suffering from fungus

So that the fungi disappear as soon as possible and, with them, the discomforts that the dog experiences in its paws and ears, it is important to take into account a series of recommendations that will help the infection does not spread. The main ones are:

  • Avoid bathing the dog in excess , so that fungi do not proliferate with heat and humidity.
  • If there are more animals at home or children, don't let the dog sleep with them or share blankets or brushes.
  • Clean your hands well After being in contact with the dog, it also disinfects the house and throws away any objects that may be contaminated.
  • If you go in the car or if you get on the couch, cover these places before with a blanket or a sheet and wash it regularly.

As you have been able to intuit with these last tips, fungi in dogs can be spread in humans sometimes, either by direct contact with the affected legs or ears or through some objects.

Therefore, it is important to follow the treatment indicated by a professional and take all the precautions you can so that the fungi do not affect other family members and stop disturbing our dear adventure partner as soon as possible.

Symptoms of fungi in dogs

The first thing we have to keep in mind is that regardless of the type of fungi that are affecting our dog, we will be facing a topical condition, because fungi first colonize and then reproduce in the superficial layers of the skin. The symptoms may vary but mainly we must be alert in the following items:

Diagnosis of fungi in dogs

The diagnosis that the veterinarian will make is very simple. First, before the ocular inspection of the lesions you can use the Wood lamp which generates a fluorescence in the presence of mites, which in 50% of cases is positive. These will be the injuries chosen to continue the evaluation.

Samples are always taken from the periphery of the lesionIf you have many, the most representative or newest will be chosen to avoid contamination. In general, the oldest are the most contaminated. But to continue reducing this possible contamination, they will clean the area with some disinfectant prior to sample extraction.

The samples are usually from hair, nails or skin. The most common are hair and skin. The hairs are usually removed to get it complete and not cut, the skin is scraped on the periphery since normally in the center we have inflammation and the sample would not be as representative.

Once the sample is obtained correctly by the veterinarian, the procedures that can be used are: direct examunder the microscope which generates many doubts and false positives so it is not the most used method and crops. The latter are the most common for accurate diagnosis as it is faced with possible antibiotics to see which ones are resistant and which are not. Many times this method must be sent to laboratories since the veterinarian is not always equipped with everything necessary and could delay the result a few days.

Tips to keep in mind if our dog suffers fungus

We already talked about the fact that in the presence of any of these symptoms we should go to a veterinarian for a correct diagnosis since there are many pathologies that share symptoms. Some measures that we could take until we could go to the veterinarian would be:

  • Do not bathe the dog very often because that creates an ideal environment for the parasites to continue to proliferate.
  • In the case of having more animals at home or children, try not to sleep together, share blankets or clothes or brushes, since we would be encouraging contagion.
  • There are fungi that can be transmitted to humans, such as ringworm, so we must thoroughly sanitize our hands.
  • If you travel by car or get on the couch, place blankets and wash them regularly.

Possible treatments for fungi in dogs

My training is from allopathic veterinary but after discovering the Natural therapies, I will tell you all the treatments we can use, after the correct diagnosis.

  • Allopathic or conventional treatment: corticosteroids and / or antibiotics. Ketoconazole is the most commonly used medication in these types of diseases. It is found in the form of lotions or ointments and, in its variant orally. I insist that only your veterinarian can prescribe it and indicate the most appropriate use in each case, depending on the severity of the animal.
  • Homeopathic treatment: There are no exclusive medications for these problems but I can tell you several things that will motivate you to choose it. This type of diseases they are caused by a drop in our animal's defenses, we live with these pathogens daily, but we don't always get sick. So if we take out your base medication we will help you find balance again and not to get sick again by fungi or other pathologies.
  • Bach flowers: exist 38 different flowers according to mood of our pet, the animal that is depressed is not the same as the one that is anxious about the itching that it is suffering. Therefore, consult with a veterinary floral therapist or your own veterinarian if you know the subject.
  • Reiki: I will not tell you that we will find the solution through this therapy but yes, will help to accept any treatment we face in complete harmony and not ending up in a new problem that often happens in these cases.
  • Healthy nutrition: As we know today this is not a minor issue, there are homemade diets that will help your dog to be with high defenses to face any pathology that comes before him. They are progressive changes but in the future it will help in the life of your pet.

As you will see we have several possible treatments for these "bugs" and some tips that will be useful for your pet to be happy and full again. Perform a complete cleaning of the environment to eliminate spores that re-infect my pet, clean or remove all objects that have been in contact with my animal and wash our hands periodically.

The spread of fungi from dogs to people

Among the different diseases that a dog can transmit to a human being we find the fungi, that well they can spread to a human being, between dogs and even between different types of animals, such as cats or guinea pigs. It can be produced by direct contact or by objects containing the agents that cause this disease, usually by peeling or hairs.

Treating your dog's fungi is not only important for their health, but also for yours and that of your family members.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Fungi in dogs - Symptoms and Treatments, we recommend that you enter our section on bacterial diseases.