Sunday, February 8, 2015

1188. The dog breeders' treatment for ringworm is salt

Article written by Dr Sing Kong Yuen in March 8, 2004.

Active ringworm lesions in a dog that had been clipped 10 days ago.COMMUNITY EDUCATION OF DOG OWNERS SPONSORED BY WWW.ASIAHOMES.COM

The breeder's treatment for ringworm is salt.

Suddenly she put her finger on her upper most button of her blouse and said,  "I have the rings here too."  3 circular rings of around 2 cm in diameter, like those seen in the picture on the dog in the picture (left) flashed out from the pale skin of the lower neck.   

Her husband had presented this puppy to his wife and had no time to object to the display of her upper chest. It was still within the bounds of decency. I did not want to be practising human medicine and diverted her to her hands. 

His wife's arms were dotted with at least 8 of the rings.  Her general practitioner had prescribed 2 types of pills and a cream. 

"The doctor said I could have got the skin problems from my dog," she said. "I have changed the shampoos as I think that the shampoo was causing me skin allergies."

The poodle was licking its right wrist as there was a squarish patch of dead skin covered by scales.  A very itchy area.  There were at least 5 spots of ringworm-like lesions on its lower neck, tip of the right ear, right shoulder and chest. The skin lesions were unlike those reddish ones seen in the owner.

"I have this poodle for 3 weeks and the skin problems are much better than before," the owner said. "Some hairs have grown, but it is too long."    

"What did the breeder give you?" I asked as I examined the black poodle with the softest coat.  Some breeders provide after-sales veterinary services to save some money for the new dog owner.  If they ask the owner to consult the vet, the owner may not buy the puppy as that means it has veterinary problems.  

The owner said, "One big white tablet which I have to break into 4 pieces and which causes the poodle to pass a lot of water. One bottle of brown medicine with your faded surgery label and unclear wordings stuck on it.  One bottle of lotion to apply.

I said, "Definitely, I have not given the breeder to dispense medicine on my behalf and I have not seen this poodle, except for the vaccination." 

So, what was the cause of the skin problems in this 4-month-old poodle?  It was ringworm. However, the drugs given by the breeder had partially solved the problem.  There were no new ringworm areas like those seen in the owner.  New ringworm lesions would be like those with a red ring seen in the picture of the dog.

What shall I do?  "Clip the poodle to reduce the contamination of ringworm fungal spores in your house," I advised. "There may be other new active lesions which we can't see under the lush coat."

The owner was not agreeable as she continued to stroke the puppy. It has that type of fine coat that was a pleasure to touch.

The alternative treatment was to wash the puppy with the anti-ringworm shampoo and give medication for the next twenty days diligently.  The owner was happy with this. 

Some dog breeders in Singapore believe that salt would kill the ringworm. Salt is cheap compared to veterinary consultation and treatment.  Some breeders have learned from experimentation that salt applied directly on the skin lesions for long periods of time, the ringworm lesions will disappear.  But how long will this take?  Ringworm is one of the commonest problems affecting breeder's puppies and it takes time to cure it.  By the time it is cured, the puppy is no more cute and marketable at a premium price.  After the sale, the new owner may find it best to consult the veterinary surgeon regarding skin problems rather than the breeder or pet shop owner.

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