Ringworm in Cats is a fungal spores and skin infection that affects different warm-blooded animals like dogs, cows, rabbits and even purring cats. This skin infection appears on warm and wet areas: nails, feet, scalp and groin. These funguses are termed as dermatophytes and feed on a hair mineral referred to as keratin.
Diagnosing ringworm in cats
If you think your cat has ringworm, you’ll need to take them to the vet as they need medication to prevent it and stop it from spreading to humans and other pets in your household.
There are some tests that help to diagnose ringworm, e.g. your vet may use an ultraviolet light to look at your cat’s fur and skin. It is because there are certain forms of ringworm that may turn up under this type of light.
The vet may see your cat’s fur under a microscope and see whether or not your cat has a fungus, but the easiest and most accurate approach is to take a sample of your cat’s skin and place it in a bowl and see whether it develops under lab conditions. It is the most accurate test, but it can take up to two weeks to give results, while other tests can give both positive and negative results.
How is Ringworm Treated?
Treatment is always advised as most cases eventually resolve. Infected cats are a risk to other pets and also to human beings. In addition to treating the ringworm infection with anti-fungal drugs, any predisposing causes (such as other skin conditions) should also be managed. Treatment can be either topical (applied to the skin) or systemic (anti-fungal tablets or liquids given by mouth). While both the therapies are effective, topical treatment is considered more effective and should only be used in very young kittens if there is concern over using systemic drugs.
The classic clinical appearance of ringworm includes one or more areas of patchy hair loss with mild or moderate crusting, but ringworm in cats can have a wide variety of presentations. Infected cats can present with any combination of the following:
- Pruritus (itchiness)
- Hair loss
- Crusting and scaling
- Black heads
- Nail infections
Prevention of Ringworm
The fungi that make ringworms, love to live in dry, damp environments like soil. These then bind themselves to the hair and skin cells shed by humans and animals. Although there is nothing you can do to avoid these diseases, but there are a number of other steps you may take to keep you and your family from catching the infection:
- Regularly clean pet blankets and other bedding from your pet’s quarters
- Regularly dispose any hairs from your pet’s grooming brush
- Vacuuming the house and carpets
- Disinfect other common areas of the house where your cats like to roam