When it comes to your cat, there are a number of diseases and parasites that you need to be aware of. One of these is ringworm in cats, otherwise known as dermatophytosis. Ringworm is a type of fungal infection in cats that has an impact on skin, nails, and hair. It’s not limited to cats, in fact dogs and ringworm can be passed on to people although it’s not exactly the same symptoms.
What is Ringworm in Cats?
One form of dermatophytosis is caused by parasites called Microsporum gypseum or ringworm. It can occur in other mammals including humans. Ringworm infections are more common for long-haired cat breeds than for short-haired cats. Ringworm is contracted by contact with fungal spores on other infected animals or in the environment.
Ringworm infection is more likely in some geographical locations and in places where animals are kept in large numbers such as an animal shelter. Poor nutrition, poor hygiene, and poor veterinarian care can increase the risk of ringworm infection.
How to Spot Ringworm in Cats?
Ringworm in cats typically shows up as dandruff, with patches of irritated skin that may be red and itchy. Your cat may develop a poor coat or even lose their hair in patches. Common areas for ringworm in cats are the ears, front feet, and face. One of the classic signs of ringworm is circular patches of hair loss and this is most common in cats. Your cat may also develop boils or raised sores that ooze from the infection.
Some cats with ringworm may develop swelling in the skin around their nails. This is known as paronychia. Cats with compromised immune systems are at an increased risk of fungal infections, including ringworm.
If you suspect your cat has ringworm, the best option is to have your cat diagnosed by a vet. Your vet can look at hairs from your cat under a microscope, do a fungal culture, or check for signs of ringworm using an ultra violet light.
How to Get Rid of Ringworm in Cats
Once you’ve had your cat diagnosed with ringworm, your vet may suggest an anti-fungal medication such as Griseofulvin or Ketoconazole which your cat will have to take for several weeks.
Depending on the severity of the infection, some vets recommend cutting your cat’s coat short with scissors to limit ringworm colonization and reduce shedding. Your vet may also suggest that you use a medicated shampoo to give your cat a bath and then limit your cat’s movement to just one room in your house for the duration of the ringworm treatment period.
It’s also a very important to treat any areas that your cat has access to in order to get rid of ringworm. It’s prudent that you discard any items your cat uses regularly that cannot be adequately washed or disinfected.
All remaining cat toys and bedding should be washed with a solution that is specifically designed to kill ringworm spores. Treatment can take several months depending on the severity of the infection. Your vet will conduct follow up cultures to confirm all the ringworm is gone.