Ringworm

ringworm

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Ringworm

You might have heard about ringworm, the easily transmitted infection that turns your lovingly groomed dog into a mangled mess of red lesions and patchy fur. Panicked, you obsessively ran a brush through your dog’s coat and after making doubly sure that there were no worms to be found, you may have started to feel elated. Not so fast! Ringworm is not really a worm, it’s a fungus — and it’s not the kind of fungus that grows up as a horned, obvious mushroom on your dog’s forehead. Confusing right?

If  it’s  not  a worm, then what is it?

Ringworm is a microscopic fungus more similar to yeasts and moulds than to your average Portobello mushroom. These fungi feed on keratin, an essential component of the skin, hair, and nails found in animals, including humans. This disease usually wreaks havoc on puppies or dogs with weakened immune systems, and shows up as round granulomatous lesions or oozing boils. A ringworm infection can also cause an inflammation around your dog’s claws. This disease thrives in poorly managed, damp, overcrowded places, and absolutely revels in cases of malnutrition.

There are three different fungi that are the most common culprits of ringworm in dogs. Each of these species is spread around the globe with varying distributions according to different geographical locations.

Contrary to what the name might imply, the natural host for Microsporum canis is actually the cat. This does not mean that dogs are exempt from its mischief. It easily infects dogs, causing lesions by colonizing their skin and fur. It is also very capable at contaminating the surrounding environment, lying in wait for their next victim over long stretches of time. Microsporum canis is particularly common in Iran, while having lower incidence throughout the rest of the world, and being completely absent from equatorial Africa.

Rodents are the natural reservoir species of Trichophyton mentagrophytes. This fungus is not exclusive to rodents, but also infects a wide range of other animals, including our canine companions.

It is relatively uncommon for Microsporum gypseum to be the perpetrator of a ringworm infection. It usually occurs in dogs, other animals and humans that inhabit more rural areas or those that regularly take part in agricultural activities.

With these species of fungi being of a zoonotic nature (i.e. a disease or condition that spread between animals and humans; as previously explained in our article about vaccinations), these conditions will not stop at only affecting your dog. If a dog with ringworm is not treated and properly managed, it is not uncommon that the disease will find its way to the owner and other pets, making the situation even harder to manage.

Ringworm is not usually a very serious disease in itself, but if not treated, the integrity of the skin may be compromised, and the condition can lead to other, more serious secondary infections. If your dog starts losing hair, and suddenly shows up with a reddened or darkened, crusty, bald spot, you might want to put on a pair of gloves, and rush it to your most trusted veterinarian.

Diagnosis, prevention and treatment

It is only possible to reliably identify the agent causing dermatophytosis by means of fungal culture, microscopic examination or a skin biopsy.

The best thing one can do to prevent the spread of this condition, is to properly quarantine the infected animal. Disinfecting the environment and properly disposing of any material that might be considered contaminated (i.e. bedding and toys), is also suggested in order to manage this condition. If other pets are present in the household, skin and hair samples should be taken from them in order to check whether these are infected as well. It is also useful to make sure that there are no vermin spreading this disease and shedding spores in your pet’s environment. It is also suggested to treat all the pets in the household with preventative treatment to prevent the disease from spreading to your other pets too.

If the infection is superficial, the veterinarian might only prescribe an antifungal cream that can be applied directly onto the lesion. Contrary to many a dog’s fashion sensibilities, such cases might call for the dog to wear an Elizabethan collar which helps to prevent the dog from licking off the topically applied medicine. In cases where the infection is more severe, antifungal drugs designed for systemic application could be prescribed by the veterinarian.

If your pet gets diagnosed with this disease, please do give it your most urgent attention, because if it puts a ring on you or your dog, it isn’t going to look pretty.


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The following is needed to bring a puppy into Dubai:


  1. All dogs entering Dubai from a low-risk country at least 15 weeks old, and those entering from a high-risk country must be at least 27 weeks old.
  2. Microchip – All dogs entering and residing in Dubai must be equipped with either a 9 or 15 digit microchip.
  3. Import Permit – All dogs entering Dubai must be equipped with a Special Permit from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Valid for 30 days.
  4. Vaccinations* – Depending on the country of origin, your pet might need a rabies shot on top of all the age appropriate vaccinations. Dubai specific vaccinations: Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Parvo Virus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Rabies.
  5. Rabies Titer Test * – All dogs entering Dubai must be tested for rabies no later than 14 days before the planned travel date. ( Only from specific
  6. Parasite check - All pets travelling to Dubai must receive preventive treatments against internal and external parasites in the 14 days before travel by an authorised and competent vet.
  7. Health Check – A Health Check by a veterinarian is mandatory in order to obtain permissions to enter Dubai.
  8. Pet Passport – This document verifies that the puppy is fully healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.


* The United Arab Emirates classifies all countries into two rabies categories:
  • Low-risk countries: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Falkland Island, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Montenegro, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Portugal, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, and Vanuatu.
  • High-risk countries: All other countries are considered high-risk countries.
** Only for puppies from high-risk countries
Travel Requirements

The following is needed to bring a puppy into Abu Dhabi:


  1. All dogs entering Abu Dhabi from a low-risk country at least 15 weeks old, and those entering from a high-risk country must be at least 27 weeks old.
  2. Microchip – All dogs entering and residing in Abu Dhabi must be equipped with either a 9 or 15 digit microchip.
  3. Import Permit – All dogs entering Abu Dhabi must be equipped with a Special Permit from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Valid for 30 days.
  4. Vaccinations* – Depending on the country of origin, your pet might need a rabies shot on top of all the age appropriate vaccinations. Abu Dhabi specific vaccinations: Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Parvo Virus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Rabies.
  5. Rabies Titer Test * – All dogs entering Abu Dhabi must be tested for rabies no later than 14 days before the planned travel date. ( Only from specific
  6. Parasite check - All pets travelling to Abu Dhabi must receive preventive treatments against internal and external parasites in the 14 days before travel by an authorised and competent vet.
  7. Health Check – A Health Check by a veterinarian is mandatory in order to obtain permissions to enter Abu Dhabi.
  8. Pet Passport – This document verifies that the puppy is fully healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.


* The United Arab Emirates classifies all countries into two rabies categories:
  • Low-risk countries: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Falkland Island, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Montenegro, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Portugal, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, and Vanuatu.
  • High-risk countries: All other countries are considered high-risk countries.
** Only for puppies from high-risk countries
Travel Requirements

The following is needed to bring a puppy into Hong Kong:


  1. All dogs entering Hong Kong must be at least 3 months old.
  2. Microchip – All dogs entering and residing in Hong Kong must be equipped with either a 9 or 15-digit microchip.
  3. Import Permit – All dogs entering Hong Kong must be equipped with a Special Permit from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Valid for up to 6 months.
  4. Vaccinations* – Depending on the country of origin, your pet might need a rabies shot on top of all the age appropriate vaccinations. Hong Kong specific vaccinations: Canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus and rabies.
  5. Health Check – A Health Check by a veterinarian is mandatory in order to obtain permissions to enter Hong Kong.
  6. Pet Passport – This document verifies that the puppy is fully healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.
  7. Captain’s Affidavit – Document to be provided by the airline personnel confirming that your dog has not left its crate or interacted with other pets at any point during the journey.


* Hong Kong classifies countries into 3 groups. Vaccinations against rabies are only required from Groups 2 & 3.
  • Group 1: Rabies-free countries (at least 6 months of residency) Australia, Fiji, Hawaii, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Bailiwick of Jersey.
  • Group 2: Rabies-controlled (at least 4 months of residency) Austria, Bahrain, Bermuda, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Guam, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Vanuatu, Bahamas, Belgium, Brunei, Cayman Island, Denmark, France, Gibraltar, Iceland, Jamaica, Maldives, Mauritius, New Caledonia, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands, USA (Continental), Virgin Islands.
  • Group 3: All other countries.
** Only for puppies from high-risk countries
Travel Requirements

The following is needed to bring a puppy into Switzerland:


  1. All pets entering Switzerland must be equipped with a 15-digit microchip that is compliant with ISO 11784/11785.
  2. Dogs must be vaccinated against distemper.
  3. Rabies vaccinations are mandatory. Dogs must receive their first rabies vaccine at least 21 days before entering the country.*
  4. The state veterinarian of the origin country must equip the dog with a valid Health Certificate.
  5. Import Permit – all dogs entering from a 3rd level rabies country must carry an import permit issued at least three weeks in advance. Entry points through Basel, Geneva, Zurich.
  6. Different regulations depending on whether it is a commercial purchase or individual and where the dog is coming from.


* Specifications differ for booster shots. ** Switzerland categorises countries by level of risk of rabies in three levels.
  • Level 1: All EU Member States and Andorra, Switzerland, Faeroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Northern Ireland, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City State.
  • Level 2 (Low Risk of Rabies): Ascension Island, United Arab Emirates, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Aruba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Barbados, Bahrain, Bermuda,Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Belarus, Canada, Chile, Curaçao, Fiji, Falkland Islands, Great Britain (including Crown dependencies), Hong Kong, Jamaica, Japan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cayman Islands, Saint Lucia, North Macedonia, Montserrat, Mauritius, Mexico, Malaysia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Russia, Singapore, Saint Helena, Sint Marteen, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, United States of America, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.
  • Level 3: All other countries are considered as having a high risk of rabies.
Travel Requirements