What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin. It gets the name from the red ring that it leaves on a patient’s skin. Ringworm sounds misleading because one would think it is caused by a worm or parasite, but instead it is specifically caused by certain types of fungus.
Ringworm is one of the most common skin disorders in cats, which can be difficult to see. However, many different animals can contract ringworm.
Lesions are a common symptom of ringworm, though they may be insignificant or completely undetectable. Sometimes hair loss occurs when the infection gets in the hair shafts and leads to fragile hair. Some animals won’t have lesions but instead thickened round circles of skin in addition to hair loss. Ringworm can also be asymptomatic, meaning the patient isn’t exhibiting active symptoms but is still capable of passing the infection on. This is one way ringworm can spread quickly, especially in shelters.
Ringworm can take as long as two to three weeks to show symptoms after exposure. You can contract ringworm either by direct contact with someone or something that has it, or by touching a surface that ringworm is living on.
How do you test for Ringworm?
After identifying symptoms, ringworm infections can be determined by testing skin or hair samples from an individual that is suspected of infection. If treatment is started right away, the infected individual should only be contagious for about three weeks.
How is it treated?
According to the VCA, topical treatment works best when combined with an oral treatment. This can be done by bathing your pet in a medicated shampoo at least twice weekly in addition to giving them oral anti-fungal drugs.
Make sure to keep the environment clean. Many sources believe it is best to limit the infected cat to dedicated rooms only to make for easy clean up. Sunlight has been proven to help kill off ringworm, so the sunnier the room, the better.
The VCA says to kill fungal spores with a solution of chlorine bleach and water using the dilution of one pint of chlorine bleach (500 ml) in a gallon of water (4 liters), or a dilution of 1:10 to 1:100 when cleaning those high-contact surfaces.
Why should you adopt a Ringworm Pet?
The payoff is the greatest reward since you come out with a wonderful pet! It might seem like a lot of information to process, but if you follow the proper cleaning and medication protocols, you should be able to eradicate ringworm without any risk of catching it.
Mocha was adopted after clearing ringworm!
A shelter setting is much harder for pets to clear ringworm because they need to be in kennels with more natural sunlight and less foot traffic. Animals can become especially stressed since they don’t know their surroundings or why they’re in our care. The added stress can make it harder for their bodies to fight off a ringworm infection. This is why we encourage you to help a ringworm pet in need and help them fight it. Our staff is more than happy to help assist you with treatment and any additional tips!
Visit our Cats & Kittens page to see all of our currently available ringworm cats.