Hearing the name, ringworm, can mislead you into thinking that this is caused by a worm, though, actually, it is caused by a fungus. Ringworm, also known as dermatophytosis, is a contagious disease that can infect the skin, hair, and nail. It even can spread to other animals and humans too. Therefore, it is important for you who have cats to learn how to treat ringworm in cats. Otherwise, it’ll infect other members in the house.
The Symptoms of Ringworm
Common symptoms of ringworm are circular bald patches that often seen on the head, ears, and the front limbs. Sometimes you can see red rings in the center of the patch. The symptoms often appear in localized area, but it can spread over the body if the condition gets severe. Warm and humid condition tend to make the infection get worse.
The Source of Ringworm
A cat can get ringworm if it contacts directly with the infected animals, or if it contacts with other stuffs that have been contaminated with the skin cells, hairs, or nails of infected animals. Ringworm spores are tough. A cat can carry ringworm spores for years without showing any symptoms. Ringworm contagion often happened in a crowded shelter where cats would touch other cats easily.
The Diagnosis of Ringworm
Since ringworm sometimes can be asymptomatic, a veterinarian may use an ultraviolet light and do lab examination to diagnose ringworm. Skin cells, hairs, or nails will be examined for a fungal culture. It is recommended to quarantine the suspected animals immediately until veterinarian gives confirmation of ringworm diagnosis. Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap every time you touch your pet and wash any items like dishes, clothes, and bedding that have been touched by your cat.
How to Treat Ringworm in Cats
The treatment usually shows the result in three to five months. The effective way to treat ringworm usually is a combination between topical treatment and systemic oral treatment. What are they?
Topical treatment is a medication treatment that is applied on the surface of the skin and hair. A veterinarian usually will prescribe you an ointment or cream to be applied on the infected skin area and a medicated shampoo. Shaving the hair around the infected areas may help you to prevent the contagion. It is recommended to clip the hair of longhaired breed short. Use the shampoo at least twice a week to kill the fungus and stop the infection.
Systemic oral treatment
Oral drugs that often used for the treatment are griseofulvin, itraconazole, and terbinafine. Nowadays, a veterinarian prefer itraconazole or terbinafine as the prescription because they have fewer side effects than griseofulvin. The drugs usually are administered for six weeks. The first two weeks after taking the drugs, the vet will do the fungal culture to check whether the cats are still infected or not. If the results are negative for two consecutive rows, the drugs should be continued for the six weeks.
The two methods about how to treat ringworm in cats that given above will be useless if there are still contamination in the environment. Make sure there is no infected hair in the rooms. Clean the house by damp mopping and vacuuming using electrostatic cleaners. Wash the bedding, toys, and other items that often touched by your cats with diluted bleach as a disinfectant.