Ringworm is a common fungal infection mainly affecting puppies and kittens. The disease is highly contagious between pets and may be easily transmitted between infected pets and their owners. Owners should note that most cases of ringworm in people are not caused by exposure to pets, however. Clinical signs in pets include hair loss, usually in a circular or “ring-shaped” pattern. However, ringworm can look like any skin disease. In kittens, tiny scabs (miliary lesions) may also occur in infected pets.
Topical therapy with herbal shampoos containing calendula and goldenseal may be helpful. In addition, a natural diet is indicated. Herbs to boost the immune system that help with infections are astragalus, dandelion leaf, echinacea, garlic, German chamomile, Gotu Kola, Oregon grape, sage, turmeric and yellow dock.
These natural treatments are designed to reduce the growth of the fungus and inflammation in pets with allergic dermatitis.
They can be used in conjunction with conventional therapies, as they are unlikely to be effective by themselves in most pets with severe ringworm infections. The natural treatments are widely used with variable success but have not been thoroughly investigated and proven at this time.
As with any condition, the most healthful natural diet will improve the pet’s overall health.
Conventional therapy utilizes medicated shampoos, and in serious infections, oral antifungal medications, usually griseofulvin.
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Shawn Messonnier, DVM
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Shawn Messonnier DVM Past Supporting Member, Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians Author, the award-winning The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How YOU Can Win The Battle!
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