Ringworm in cats is the most common form of skin affliction that affects the feline species. Unlike what the name suggests, ringworm is not a worm but in fact a fungal infection. You may identify this condition by the circular rosy lesion that it causes. The skin around the lesion is usually bald and may be flaky. It is not a condition you can ignore, as it is very contagious and can affect other pets in the home, and humans too.
Identifying Ringworm in Cats
If your cat has a bald patch or several patches, has dandruff, and a coat that looks dull and unhealthy, it is likely that it has ringworm. The reddish raised circular lesion, that the skin infection gets its name from, may also be visible. The lesion does not necessarily have to be seen in every case of ringworm, though it does make it easier to identify the skin condition.
If you suspect that your cat has ringworm, you should seek the veterinarian’s advice. There are several ways by which the fungal skin infection can be identified. It is possible that the doctor may use the black light from a Wood’s lamp to check for presence of fungus. Thereafter, it is likely that a sample of the fungal spores would be collected and send it to the laboratory for a culture test. A PCR test, which is a non invasive technique of confirming the presence fungal spores, may also be carried out.
What Causes Ringworm?
The fungal infection seems to affect cats as well as dogs with long hair more than those with short hair. Veterinarians say that they usually see more ringworm cases in kittens and young cats as opposed to older cats. Poor nutrition and a weak immune system tend to make an animal more vulnerable to this fungal infection. Animals that suffer from immunodeficiency diseases or are on medication that lowers their immunity are also at risk.
How to Treat Ringworm in Cats
Ringworm in cats needs to be treated with anti fungal medication. The veterinarian is likely to recommend both topical as well as oral medication that will help eliminate fungal spores from the cat’s skin and body. The cat hair around the infected patch would need to be trimmed. As the fungal infection is very contagious you should wash your hands after handling your cat.
The cat’s surroundings must be kept clean and free of fungal spores. This is easier said than done as the spores can survive for several months in room temperature. It is important that the house is vacuumed and furnishings cleaned properly to get rid of cat hair. The cat’s bedding, bowls and toys must be washed with a disinfectant and rinsed with boiling water. The floors and hard surfaces in the home should be mopped with a solution made from chlorine bleach diluted with water.
It would be a good idea to minimize your cat’s interactions with stray cats and animals. As the fungal infection is contagious, you will also have to be careful that it does not spread to other pets or to humans in the family. In turn, if you have ringworm you must be careful about touching your pets until you are infection free.