Ringworm. What is it Really?

Ringworm is quite contagious. People or animals can be infected through contact with infected hairs and skin cells.
Aug 22, 2023

Ringworm is not a worm but a skin infection caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. The scientific name for ringworm is dermatophytosis, or dermatomycosis. 

What Does Ringworm Look Like?

A skin lesion caused by ringworm usually results in a hairless patch of skin often with a red halo around it and can be quite itchy. It is this “halo” shape that gives it the name “Ringworm”.  It can often become crusty, especially around the edges and it can take days to weeks for visible lesions develop after a person or animal has been infected. 

Other names for ringworm are based on its location on the body – for example, ringworm on the feet is also called “athlete’s foot”.

Ringworm is Contagious

Ringworm is quite contagious. People or animals can be infected through contact with infected hairs and skin cells, either by direct contact with an infected person/ animal or via indirect contact from contaminated bedding/ clothing etc.

Not every animal that is infected with ringworm develops signs of infection. In fact quite often cats show no signs of infection at all but can still be contagious.  Early identification of ringworm is vital to reduce the risk of transmission to people and other animals. 

When to See the Veterinarian

If your pet develops hairless patches, it should be examined by your veterinarian to determine if a fungal infection may be present. If you or anyone in your household develops an area of skin that appears infected (especially if it appears as a red “ring”), keep it covered with a piece of clothing or a bandage and see your doctor.

Book online at The Village Vet or call us directly at the Pymble Clinic on 9499 4010 or Killara Hospital on 8350 5678.


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