All About Animals: An Unfamiliar Ring

Chic Miller photo by Tracey Hedge for Enjoy Magazine

Doni’s note: Please join me in welcoming Chic Miller’s column, “All About Animals,” to Miller and her husband, Bob, own and operate Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary in Cottonwood. 

A very common skin disease affecting dogs and cats is ringworm. It sounds like this would be a parasite, right? Wrong! Actually, it is not a worm at all, as its name might suggest. It is a fungal infection which lives on the outer layer of the hair, skin and nails. It is found in hot, humid climates, occurring most often in the fall and winter months.

Ringworm is characterized by itchy, bald patches which are crusty, scaly and have a moldy odor. Pimples and bumps may surround these lesions. After exposure, it rapidly spreads in a circle, thus the name, ringworm. It may first be seen as a few patches on the face, neck, ear tips, tail, and feet. If not treated promptly, these lesions may spread over the entire body – not exactly a pleasant thought!

Diagnosis can be made by your veterinarian who will examine skin flakes under a microscope or by using an ultraviolet woods lamp. This will show bright fluorescent areas.

Ringworm is transmitted by contact with an infected animal or object such as furniture or grooming tools. It is highly contagious and can spread like wildfire between cats, dogs, and yes, even humans. Yikes! All bedding should be washed with a strong bleach solution, and disinfect all grooming tools after use. Wash your hands frequently with a good antibacterial soap.

Isolation from all his pals – and you – is a must. This means “cool the cuddlin’ ” until you have these “unfamiliar rings” under control.

Sick, weak, or stressed pets seem to be most susceptible. Good nutrition and regular grooming will help fight this skin disease. It can run its course (usually 1-2 months) but why wait it out when you can relieve symptoms quickly with any of the following over-the-counter or simple, inexpensive home remedies. Let’s check out a few.

First and foremost, start by carefully trimming a wide margin of hair around the lesion.

Next, bathe your buddy with a good antibacterial/antifungal shampoo. Use tepid water, lather well, and let set for 15 minutes. Rinse. Air dry, then try any of the following treatments that you may readily have on hand:

Dab lesion with:

Real Lemon 2X daily
Apple Cider Vinegar 3X daily
Listerine 2X daily
Coconut oil 2X daily
Aloe Vera 2X daily

Antifungal creams such as Tinactin work well or try Chlorhexidine, Sulvasan solution, Betadine skin cleanser, tea tree oil, Sulfadine spray or NuStock. Essential oils by Young Living are very helpful – you can try oregano, lemongrass, clove, or myrtle.

My guess is that you found at least one or more of these common household products in your pantry or medicine cabinet.

Remember – if you have tried the above remedies with no success or if the lesion becomes red with weepy sores, it’s time to Get To The Vet – Pronto! Do not wait, because antibiotics or a strong oral antifungal medicine, Fulvicin, will be necessary.

Play it safe, and use precautions, so as not to spread that “unfamiliar ring”.

Chic Miller
Since 1990 Chic Miller and her husband, Bob, have owned and operated Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal sanctuary on Gas Point Road in Cottonwood. The Millers care for hundreds of abused and neglected animals. Animals that come to this sanctuary remain there for the rest of their lives. Chic is a retired nurse and takes care of all the medical needs for the injured and ill animals. Aside from a few volunteers, Bob and Chic take care of all the daily chores. The Millers care for hundreds of animals, including dogs, horses, ponies, pigs, llamas, goats, cats, chickens and yes, even a one-legged turkey. Chic Miller can be reached at 530-347-0544. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help support Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary.
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6 Responses

  1. Beverly Stafford says:

    As with A News Cafe, I am a donor to Chic and Bob’s Sanctuary. They need not only money but also items for the comfort of the animals such as blankets, sheets, towels; so if you have any of those that are ready for the rag bag, don’t toss them, take them to the Sanctuary. In Eastern County, there is an organization called Spay & Neuter Intermountain Pets & Pet Placement, SNIPPP for short, and I told one of the board members about the sanctuary when Chick had a need for bedding because of the very wet winter and keeping the bedding clean was beyond her the ability of her washer and dryer. SNIPPP (another organization I donate to) sent out an SOS and took something like a pick-up load of bedding and food to the Sanctuary. When I spoke with my SNIPPP friend after her trip to the Sanctuary, she said, “That place is just magical.” If you ever want an uplifting experience, drop by – with money or goods, one would hope – and see animals of all kinds living together. Watch out for the goose, though!

  2. Beverly, I know that Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary appreciates you as much as we do here at

    You are absolutely correct that visiting the sanctuary (calling ahead first is a good idea) is an uplifting experience. Sometimes Chic does tours for a donation, which is a hit with kids in particular.

    I thank you, Beverly, for your generosity and being a champion for good causes.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      Chic writes a monthly newsletter. I thought I’d suggest to you that she write for A News Cafe occasionally. So glad you made a space for her. Between Chic and Carla, animals are in good hands.

  3. Gary Tull says:

    Practical and well-conveyed.

  4. Patricia Bay says:

    Chic and Bob are iconic heroes in Redding! They have saved countless animals and enriched many lives of those who have adopted their rescues. Our family is included in those fortunate people. Thank you Chic and Bob for your hard work! Chic’s column will be an awesome addition to a News Cafe.

    • I agree, Patty. Bob and Chic are two of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. I don’t know how they do it, year in, year out. Their animal sanctuary is one of my favorite non-profits.

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