Dermatophytosis (ringworm): causes, symptoms, treatment, in dogs

Fungi are microorganisms present in different media in our daily lives, such as food (cheeses and mushrooms), soil, medicines (penicillin) etc.

Just as there are fungi that are good for our health, present in mushrooms, drinks and bread, there are also those that cause damage to the skin, nails, hair etc.

Called dermatophytes, fungi that affect the skin and hair are present in about 25% of the world population, according to the World Health Organization.


What is dermatophytosis?

Dermatophytosis, also called epidermophytosis or ringworm, is a disease caused by fungi that feed on the keratin (protein that makes up various tissues) in our body and can appear on the skin, hair, nails and scalp.

The most common fungal agents responsible for dermatophytosis are of the genus Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton.

When the fungus lodges on the skin, its symptoms usually consist of the appearance of a rounded, itchy, reddish-colored patch with raised edges.

Read more: Fungus present on the skin can trigger atopic dermatitis

Among the conditions that favor the infection are the hot climate (it occurs more in tropical and subtropical countries), age (being common in children), genetic characteristics, conditions of inadequate hygiene, among others.

There are 6 types of dermatophytosis, each is classified according to the area in which it is affected:

  • Tinea barbea (affects the beard);
  • Tinea capitis (scalp);
  • The worm body (do different parts of the body);
  • Tinea cruris (in the groin area);
  • Tinea pedis (on the feet);
  • Dermatophyte reaction (allergy to the fungus that causes skin rashes).

Dermatophytosis is transmissible when in contact with the patient or with objects used by him. Therefore, it can occur when doing nails in beauty salons, using shared bathrooms or borrowing hairbrushes, for example.

Animals can also contract dermatophytosis. The most common species are dogs, cats, birds, horses and cows and, just like in humans, fungi feed on the keratin of the skin and hair.

The specialist recommended to diagnose dermatophytosis in humans, who will be able to identify the type of fungus and indicate the best treatment, is the dermatologist .

Basically, the treatment consists of the use of antifungal drugs, which will act on the lesion until the agent is eliminated and the proper healing is generated.

The condition can be found in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Health-Related Problems, the ICD 10 by the codes:

  • B35 — Dermatofitose;
  • B35.0 – Tinea beard and scalp;
  • B35.1 – Tinea of ​​the nails;
  • B35.2 – Tinea of ​​the hand;
  • B35.3 – Tinea pedis ;
  • B35.4 – Tinea of ​​the body;
  • B35.5 – It had nested ;
  • B35.6 – Tinea cruris;
  • B35.8 – Other dermatophytoses;
  • B35.9 – Dermatophytosis, unspecified.

Dermatophytosis and dermatomycosis: what’s the difference?

Both terms refer to the same condition caused by fungi. Dermatophytosis is a ringworm of the skin, that is, a dermatomycosis.

Therefore, it is possible that the condition is called by both ways.

What are the types of dermatophytosis?

Dermatophytosis has 6 different types, they are:

Tinea barbae or had a beard

This infection by dermatophyte fungi occurs in the beard region, where rounded spots appear on the spot and may be reddish, whitish or even yellow in color, due to the pus on the spot.

tinea capitis

Tinea capitis is characterized by an infection on the scalp, where a spot may appear where the hair strands are missing. It can also present as a dry, white or reddish flaking, with the presence of a few tufts of hair.

the worm body

This type of dermatophytosis can appear on the face, trunk, legs and arms, also in the armpits and folds of the body.

Characterized by pink and red spots, this type has raised edges, with the skin becoming lighter in the center.

Tinea cruris

Tinea cruris, or jock itch, appears in the groin area, has a pink color and is scaly in appearance. It can affect the entire genital region and extend to the inner thighs.

Tinea pedis

Also known as athlete’s foot, this dermatophytosis appears on the feet when there is a lot of sweat production between the toes. It can cause redness, flaking and itching in the area.

Dermatophyte reaction

This type of dermatophytosis is a reaction of the body to an infection caused by fungus, which causes a rash to appear in another area of ​​the body.

For example, contamination by a dermatophyte (fungus) on the foot, can cause the appearance of a rash on the hands.

The rash is a response to the fungus allergy and small patches, full of red and protruding liquid, may appear.

What causes dermatophytosis?

Dermatophytosis is caused by microorganisms, such as fungi, which are classified as dermatophytes.

Read more: Candida auris: superfungo spreads and worries doctors

There are 30 types of fungi that affect humans, the most common are of the genus Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton:


These fungi usually appear on the hair, nails and skin. Usually, its cause is low immunity in people.


Fungi of this genus affect the skin and scalp. They are caused by contact with dogs and other animals that acquire the fungus.


Causes of superficial mycoses in the nails and tissues of the feet, contamination by Epidermophyton can occur when doing nails in the salon, wearing open shoes where the foot is more exposed, low immunity, etc.


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The transmission of dermatophytosis can occur in 3 ways:

From person to person

Through direct contact, through a droplet of saliva when someone sneezes or through objects in common use, for example, when doing the nails in the manicure.

From animal to man

The animal (dog, cat, cattle, fish, poultry and swine) contracts and transmits to humans through contact.

From earth to man

When taking care of the soil, having direct contact with the contaminated land, the human being ends up contracting the fungus.

Risk factors

All age groups are at risk of contracting dermatophytosis. Children, because they are always in contact with the land at play, are a group that is more likely to be infected than adults. Among the factors that can promote the transmission of this disease are:

  • Hot climate;
  • People who sweat too much;
  • People who play sports;
  • Genetic factors;
  • Systemic diseases, such as diabetes;
  • Moisture;
  • Age;
  • Genetic characteristics;
  • Inadequate hygiene conditions;
  • Immunodeficiency;
  • Contact with an object used by an infected individual.

Dermatophytosis symptoms

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The main symptom of dermatophytosis is the appearance of a reddish spot, with a rounded shape, in which the edges have greater relief causing itching.

It looks a lot like the injury we do when we fall and scrape the knee. Generally, in each part of the body, dermatophytosis appears in a different way and with different characteristics.


On the feet, blisters may appear between the toes, on the scalp they appear in a rounded shape and are white in color.

It can also appear on the skin of the arms and legs in the form of reddish-colored patches.

Itching and redness

The spots can cause itching and intense redness, regardless of where they appear on the body. In more severe cases, skin rashes may occur, which appear in the shape of a ring.

Nail changes

Dermatophytosis can manifest on the nails and make them brittle, yellow in color and uneven surfaces.


To diagnose a case of dermatophytosis the clinical appearance exam is first performed, the specialist recommended for analysis is the dermatologist . He will be able to analyze the appearance of the stain.

Mycological examination

Then a mycological examination, also called a “direct mycological examination”, can be performed in which fragments of the stain / lesion / fissure are collected and sent to a laboratory.

After the sample is sent to the laboratory, it is possible to use staining tests to identify the fungus responsible for the problem.


In more severe cases, a more in-depth analysis is carried out, called “Culture of fungi”. With identification of the organisms by the culture of each fungus until reaching a satisfactory and accurate result.

Is there a cure?

Yes , dermatophytosis can be cured. After the diagnosis is made, the dermatologist will be able to indicate the medications that will be used.

Dermatophytosis Treatment

The treatment for dermatophytosis is simple and should be carried out as soon as the symptoms are observed. In addition to speeding up recovery, this prevents contamination in others close to you. The treatment consists of two modalities, they are:

Local antifungal

The specialist can request the removal of hair in the area that was affected by the fungus, to clean the infected area and then start using drugs and obtain a better result.

Systemic antifungal

In systemic treatment, remedies called antifungals are indicated, which are able to solve the problem. From drugs taken orally to creams and ointments to stop the fungus that causes the disease.


Depending on the location of the injury (arm, leg, etc.), itching can occur, causing discomfort to the patient.

In these cases, the doctor may recommend corticosteroids to relieve itching and inflammation.


The drugs used to treat dermatophytosis are antifungals, which will act in the affected area eliminating the problem. Oral medications, creams, ointments and aerosols may be indicated by the doctor to help:

Oral antifungals

Among the drugs used are systemic medications orally and systemic antifungals, after diagnosis of the case the doctor will be able to indicate the best medication to be used. Among the most recommended antifungals are:

  • Terbinafine Hydrochloride ( Ceremil , Zior );
  • Itraconazol (Sporanox, Itralex , Itraconazol);
  • Fluconazol (Fluconid, Flucanil, Fluconazol);
  • Ciclopirox (Micolamina Esmalte).

Antifúngicos spray

Spray options for treatment include terbinafine hydrochloride and clotrimazole:

  • Terbinafine Chloridrin ( Lamisilate Spray );
  • Clotrimazol (Canesten Spray Gotas)

Antifungal cream

Depending on the type of dermatophytosis, the cream can be used for treatment as in the case of nails, some of the options are:

  • Miconazole Nitrate ( Ciconazole cream , Mizonol , Miconazole Nitrate cream );
  • Clotrimazol (ABC, Clotrimazol);
  • Ciclopirox (Loprox, Ciclopirox Olamina);
  • Cloridrato de Butenafina (Tefin)

Cream corticosteroids

Some examples of corticosteroid medications are:

  • Hydrocortisone Acetate ( Berlison , Cortigen , Hydrocortisone Acetate );
  • Fludroxyfuel ( Drenison , Occlusive Drenison );
  • Desonida (Adinos, Dermatol, Desonida);
  • Betamethasone Valerate ( Betnovate Creme , Benevat , Betamethasone Valerate ).


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained on this site is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

Home treatment for dermatophytosis

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The recommended treatment is the use of medicine by prescription, but some home care together can help the treatment, they are:

Give preference to some foods

Some foods can help increase the body’s defenses so that fungi lose strength, for example, citrus fruits. Orange, lemon, tangerine and grapefruit are options for juices.

Use natural oils

Aloe vera is a plant that has antifungal properties and can assist in the treatment. Cut a leaf. open it and remove the gel from inside, deposit the gel in the area affected by the fungus and wait for it to dry. You can apply several times during the day.

Read more: What are the skin types, their characteristics and how to care?


Most of the cases of dermatophytosis are solved when the patient takes the treatment seriously, performing the ingestion and application of the remedies as directed by the specialist.

The treatment lasts around 15 to 30 days, and a positive result can be obtained at the end of this period, in cases of dermatophytosis on the skin.

For cases of dermatophytosis that affects the scalp hair, the time is longer, taking about 90 days to obtain a satisfactory result.

Dermatophytosis in the nail region, the prognosis is satisfactory in about six months.

But if the treatment is not followed to the letter, complications and resistance of the fungus can occur at the site. In such cases, it is necessary to return to the doctor.


Dermatophytosis is a condition that can be treated and is unlikely to bring complications to the patient. People who have autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or multiple sclerosis, may have a harder time ending the disease.

But the dermatologist will be able to indicate the best way to treat it considering the health history of each patient.

Secondary infections

When dermatophytosis affects the skin, it makes it more likely to develop other infections depending on the environment in which the patient attends.

These infections, called secondary infections, consist of bacteria that take advantage of the fragility of the skin and cause itching, nail problems, cracking of the skin, among others.

Care is needed in hygiene, so as not to allow opportunistic agents to cause more skin problems.

How to prevent?

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Dermatophytosis is a difficult condition to be avoided, due to contact with other people and animals in our daily lives. But with some care it is possible to prevent the growth of fungi:

Avoid wearing clothes that are too tight

Clothes that are too tight, tight or smaller than the usual clothes do not let our skin breathe properly, causing injuries.

Take care of the immune system

Dermatophytes, fungi responsible for dermatophytosis, are opportunistic and take advantage of low immunity to cause lesions. So, take care of your immunity, consume foods with vitamin C and minerals.

Do not share personal items

Try not to share your personal items, such as hairbrushes, toothbrushes, towels, nail kit, among others.

Take care of excessive sweating

The humidity, resulting from excessive sweating of the body, ends up allowing the fungi to enter the skin more easily. Therefore, when doing activities in which we produce a lot of sweat, the ideal is to always take a towel along to keep the body dry after the activity.

Wear gloves when touching the earth

Contact with the soil can promote the encounter with fungi, so when moving the soil, use gardening gloves to prevent these microorganisms from settling on the skin.

Avoid tight shoes

Shoes that are too tight or with a pointed toe, if worn for many hours and days in a row do not allow nails and skin to breathe properly, allowing fungi to settle.

Take care of the health of the animals

When the pet has flaws in the hair, in a circular shape, it may be that the fungi are settling on the skin. When noticing lesions and spots, it is necessary to take the pet to the veterinarian to carry out an analysis.

Dermatophytosis in animals

Dermatophytosis also affects animals and, like humans, it is caused by fungi that feed on keratin in hair and nails.

The causative fungi are Microsporum canis, Tricophyton mentagrophytese or Microsporum gypseum, and among the 3, the most common is Microsporum Canis.

They can infect dogs, cats, horses, birds and cows, causing hair loss and flaking on the animal’s skin.

Transmission occurs from an infected animal to a healthy animal through contact, the fungus can lodge in fences, troughs and objects, such as the bed in which the animal sleeps.

The treatment consists of the use of oral antifungals, sprays, creams and ointments to eliminate the fungus.

Depending on the animal, dermatophytosis presents itself differently:


They appear in the form of a lesion, in which there is a lack of hair. It can also appear in the form of flaking, broken hair and pimples, evolved to scabs in different places.


In cats, which have long hair, it can be difficult to notice the presence of fungi. So it is necessary to observe in more detail, looking for signs of flaking and very brittle and weak hair.

Cattle and horses

In large animals, such as cattle and horses, dermatophytosis also appears in a rounded shape and with flaking, but what differs is its grayish color.

In oxen, they usually appear on the head, neck, tail and limbs. In horses, they appear in the loin area, rump and head.

Common questions

What is the etiologic agent of dermatophytosis?

The etiologic agent that causes the dermatophytosis, are the dermatophyte filamentous fungi of three genera: Micrisporum, Trichophyton and Epidermophyton .

What is dermatophytosis in dogs?

Dermatophytosis in dogs is a zoonosis, a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans, so it requires attention. It has a fungal origin, which settles on the animal’s fur and skin. The transmission of this disease occurs in contact between an infected dog and a healthy dog.

What are dermatophyte fungi?

They are fungi that, in order to survive, feed on keratin, located on the skin and nails of animals and humans. In nature there are 40 types of fungi, about 30 of which can cause disease in humans. Dermatophyte fungi usually live in places of tropical and subtropical climate.

What is tinea from the skin?

Ringworm is the popular and generic name given to skin infection (dermatophytosis), caused by the presence of fungi that feed on keratin. Ringworm can occur in different parts of the body and the treatment consists of the use of medications and hygiene care.

Is dermatophytosis ringworm?

Yea! Any disease caused by a fungus is a ringworm, from dermatophytosis to pityriasis versicolor, ringworms and onychomycosis.

Dermatophytosis is a dermatological disease caused by fungi, which feed on the keratin present in the skin, hair and nails.

Share this article with your friends and acquaintances, so that more people know how to protect themselves from these microorganisms!