Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ringworm in a Labrador's puppy forehead

Ringworm infestation a 3-month-old puppy or kitten can take a long time to heal despite medications and washes. There are many reasons. One is that the immune system in the puppy is not as developed. The other reason may be that the owners or their maids have not been able to clear the infections through non-compliance with drug dosage or times. There may be re-infection from the surrounding area.

I spotted this case of ringworm in the black Labrador puppy given anti-ringworm medication and sent home during the first consultation by my associate vet. He had lots of scales. All over his body especially his forehead and backbone area from the neck to the tail. As if the skin was sprouting dandruff on the 2nd day after bathing.

I retained the puppy for a more thorough treatment as I know the average Singaporean owner would not be able to treat it as it was full of dandruff. Scales big and small fall from the body. Not just fine scales as in some chronic dog diseases. The puppy's skin was not dry nor oily. Did the breeder or seller give some medication or apply some wash that cause such a condition? Nobody knows. The owner just brought the dog as it was. A lively puppy that would never stop jumping on anybody and straining on the leash like a racehorse in prime condition to win a race. 

I had the puppy clipped bald. Scrubbed the forehead with anti-fungal shampoo and sent the puppy home after 4 days. The owners wanted the dog hospitalised as Chinese New Year was round the corner. So the dog was boarded and treated for more than 10 days. The forehead recovered as new hair grew. The whole body has a new shiny coat about 8 cm long. The puppy went home a week or two after Chinese New Year.

The owners sent him back again as dandruff sprouted from the backbone area, the sides of the thigh and the belly. "It could be due to too much bathing and loss of oil," Dr Daniel gave his opinion. "The owners bathe the dog and scales appear two days later."

OK. Too much bathing? Loss of skin oil. So dandruff forms. If this is the case, don't bathe the puppy often. But the dandruff keeps forming more and more. What is the solution?  The vet is the expert.

Dandruff along the spinal area. It indicated that the puppy had been rubbing his backbone area or somebody had applied strong medication on this area. Some friction on the skin. No hair loss unlike the usual ringworm infestation. Just lots of skin flakes in snow white colour and of various sizes. As if the skin is peeling off.

I checked the anal sacs. Dark brown oil of over 5 ml were expressed. Surprisingly so much oil in a 4-month-old puppy. Then I gave a Vitamin ADE IM and anti-inflammatory injection as well as got the puppy in a bath tub and scrubbed by myself and my assistant. A strong bristle brush. Red papules were seen in the skin after bathing. I started the puppy on the Z/D anti-allergic dog food.

4 days later, I noted that the dandruff did not form on the backbone area from the neck to the pelvis. "Good news," I said to Dr Daniel. "The anal sacs were impacted fully and expressed. The Vitamin ADE seemed to do a good job. Was it the Z/D? Or was it the anti-inflammatory or the scrubbing?"

A few flakes appeared around the tail area. It would take time to recover. I sent the boisterous puppy home and told the owner that recovery of the skin was around 80-90%  and the puppy was to be put on Z/D, anti-fungal medication and multi-vitamins. 

From my experience, it is difficult for owners to treat generalised ringworm in the puppy or kitten. It takes more than a month to recover and require clipping of the coat to remove the contaminated hairs.

I may produce an educational video about this case. An image of the puppy with the forehead ringworm is shown:

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