Worried your cat has ringworms? Not sure what ringworm is? Read on and your questions will be answered.
What Is Ringworm?
You may assume that ringworms are living parasites like tapeworms, but ringworm actualy has nothing to do with worms at all.
Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection (medically known as dermatophytosis) which can be passed on to other cats, dogs and humans. It is caused by fungal spores which attach themselves to the skin or hair.
How Is It Spread?
Ringworm is very contagious and easily spread by exposure to an infected animal or through brushes, furniture, carpets, toys, bedding or other items that have encountered the infection. Ringworm can survive on hair follicles and skin cells, so it’s easily transmitted.
Some types of ringworm are transmitted through soil through soil and you may catch it by spending time in the garden.
Any human, dog or cat could catch ringworm, but children, older people and anyone with a weak immune system are especially vulnerable. Kittens are especially vulnerable.
What Does It Look Like?
The spores themselves are not visible to the naked eye. Some infected animals may not show visible symptoms, but pets with ringworm may experience hair lost, they may have red, scaly patches on the skin around the head, paws or ears, and parts of the skin may get crusty, thicken and become red.
It can be hard to tell if your cat has ringworm because these symptoms could also be caused by feline acne, dermatitis or an allergy, but if you suspect your cat has ringworm it’s important you keep them away from other animals to stop the infection spreading.
What To Do If You Suspect Ringworm?
If your pet has ringworm you may well have caught it yourself, so you should avoid direct contact between your cat and other people or animals until your cat has been tested.
You’ll need to take your cat to the vet so they can run some tests. The vet will probably use an ultraviolet lamp to see if the infected hairs show up and then they should do a few microscopic and culture tests to confirm if the cat has ringworm.
My Cat Has Ringworm, Now What?
Your vet will probably prescribe a mixture of oral medicine and cream or ointment. It’s important you follow the vets instructions and keep giving your cat their medicine even if the condition seems to be gone.
You should use disposable gloves and protective clothing while treating your cat. Dispose of the gloves after to stop yourself re-infecting the cat. If you think you may be infected see a doctor and get your own human treatment. Don’t use the cats medicine and don’t give human medicine to your cat.
If possible try to keep your at in one room to stop the infection spreading to other areas of the house. Clean the room daily and disinfect any objects – including bedding and toys – which have encountered the infected animal. If you can’t disinfect the item, you will have get rid of it.
How Long Does Ringworm Last?
Ringworm treatment may take up to six weeks. Your pet could still be contagious during this time, so keep them away from human and animal family members.
You can’t prevent ringworm altogether as it is so easily spread and you can’t always tell if an animal is infected before it’s too late, but there are things you can do to avoid it.
Keep your pets bedding clean, remove hairs from your pets grooming brush, and vacuum, clean and disinfect your house regularly.