Can We Prevent Ringworm Infection In Cats
Since ringworm is primarily transmitted through contact with infected animals and contaminated surfaces and objects, the spread of the infection can be controlled by proper isolation of infected animals, especially in a multi-cat household. Since ringworm infection is zoonotic and can be transferred from an infected cat to humans, its important to isolate and temporarily quarantine any infected cats at home while undergoing treatment.
Thorough decontamination of areas and objects that may have been contaminated with fungal spores will also help control the transmission of infection. For most households, this is often sufficient in containing the infection and preventing transmission between individuals.
Recently, a vaccine is being studied that protects animals against the Microsporum canis species of fungus that commonly causes dermatophytosis. Since, in cats, ringworm infections are mostly caused by this species, regular vaccination may be highly effective in protecting them against ringworm infection.
How To Treat The Environment
Environmental treatment is key to reduce the likelihood of your pet getting ringworm again from latent spores that can last up to 18 months in the right conditions. The key is thorough cleaning and disinfecting with bleach.
Cleaning is easier if you confine your pet to one room.
Vacuum each area for 10 minutes daily and throw out the vacuum bag.
Steam clean carpets.
Bleach surfaces with a 1:10 ratio of bleach and water, allowing 10 minutes contact time.
Wash clothing, bedding and soft furnishing with a fungal wash.
Dispose of anything that cant be cleaned with the above methods.
Throw away brushes if they cannot be adequately cleaned.
Bleach and vacuuming will need to be repeated at least once even if the pet has been removed from the area being cleaned.
To confirm your environment is clean, you can take a sample from an electrostatic cleaner such as a Swiffer by placing the Swiffer rag into a bag and taking it to your Vet for testing.
How Is Ringworm Diagnosed In Cats
When dealing with skin disorders in cats, effective treatment will highly depend on proper diagnosis. Identification of the fungal organism is needed to properly diagnose ringworm infection in cats. Diagnosis of dermatophytosis is done through different methods.
The most common way to diagnose ringworm is through microscopic examination of hair samples from infected animals. Fungal spores attached to the strands of broken hair are easily visible under the microscope and the presence is highly suggestive of ringworm infection.
Another tool used in diagnosing ringworm in cats is a Woods lamp – a piece of equipment that emits UV light to check for the presence of fungal spores. Though not all fungal spores fluoresce under UV light, the species mainly responsible for ringworm infection in cats will reflect and appear green when illuminated with a Woods lamp in a dark room. The fluorescence of a cats skin and fur under a Woods lamp is highly indicative of dermatophytosis.
These methods, though effective in detecting the presence of fungal spores, do not technically provide a definitive diagnosis. Identification is done through fungal isolation and culture. Proper identification of Microsporum canis from the samples obtained is definitive of dermatophytosis or ringworm infection in cats.
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Treatment Of The Environment
Treatment of the cats environment is also necessary by vacuuming living areas , and using bleach or another disinfectant to wipe down hard surfaces such as flooring.
This is important to prevent other animals or humans from picking up infection, as well as being necessary to avoid reinfection of the treated cat.
How Do You Know When Ringworm Treatment Is Successful
How to tell if ringworm is healing in cats?
It will take from two to four weeks for you to see the improvement in the health of treated cats. However, only when the treatment plans last for as long a period as your vets have instructed can your cats make a complete recovery.
How to tell if ringworm is healing in cats? It is an important question. Right from the beginning of ringworm treatments working, you can spot the skin clearing up as well as the re-growth of your cats hair.
Unfortunately, in the cat communities of the feline population such as cat shelters, especially animal rescues, completely getting rid of the environment and furry friends of fungal spores is, without doubt, such a challenging task.
For these furry four-legged friends that have been susceptible to repeated infection living in these environments, it is necessary that pet owners and shelter workers always keep the environment clean and routinely wash their hands as well as clothes. Also, frequently pay attention to your cats to realize the signs of ringworm infection as soon as possible.
Treat cats infected by ringworm with your care and love, then he/she will soon make a complete recovery.
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Topical Therapy For The Cat
Topical treatment means direct application of medication to the cats skin and fur. Examples include antifungal shampoos, lotions and ointments, using ingredients such as miconazole, chlorhexidine, terbinafine, clotrimazole or enilconazole.
Sometimes the cats fur is clipped off to remove repeated contamination of the skin from fungal spores attached to the hairs. This is more likely to be necessary in longhaired cats.
Is Ringworm Contagious To Other Animals
Ringworm in cats is contagious to other animals. They’ll either acquire it from direct or indirect contact with the infected animal. Ringworm can live for up to 18 months in the environment on items such as brushes, pet beds, furniture, carpeting, and bowls. So if you have an infected animal or suspect a case, immediately separate its items from any other pets you have.
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How Can I Tell If My Cat Has A Ringworm
One of the most important things to understand about ringworm is that it is caused by a fungus, not a parasite or worm. Ringworm is a fungal skin infection named after the ring-shaped rash that commonly occurs on the skin of an infected person or animal. In cats, most ringworm infections are caused by the fungus known as Microsporum canis.
Ringworm is contagious and can spread easily, but it is treatable. While any cat could potentially contract ringworm, kittens and long-haired cats are the most susceptible. If your cat is struggling with hair loss, round sores on its skin, or excessive grooming, ringworm could be the cause.
Below, well go over what to look out for if you think your cat might have ringworm.
Microscopic Examination Of Hairs And Skin Debris
Your veterinarian may collect samples of hair and debris from around infected areas of skin and examine them under the microscope to check for fungal spores or hyphae.
If fluorescence is seen with the ultraviolet light, the veterinarian may collect some of the infected hairs or other skin debris that light up as they are more likely to be positive under the microscope.
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How Can Humans And Pets Catch Ringworm
Ringworm can be caught from a variety of sources ranging from the soil, other people and also from your pets. It is one of the few infections that can be transferred from animals to humans. As the fungi can live on stray hair follicles and skin cells, it is quite easily transmitted. One species of ringworm is a soil organism and can be picked up spending time in the garden. If you know your pet or another person has ringworm, avoid the following:
- Skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or animal
- Sharing of towels, clothing or sports gear
- Contact with infected household items, such as a brush, pet clothing, towels and furniture.
Ringworm On Cats How Is It Spread
Ringworm is spread by contact with the fungal spores . It can be by contact with an infected animal, or a by contact with a carrier animal that doesnt show any symptoms. It may also can be contracted by direct contact with the fungal spores in the environment. Like many spores, ringworm spores are quite resistant to environmental factors, and they can survive for up to eighteen months.
Not all animals exposed to ringworm will actually develop the disease, as it depends on the strength of their immune system. Some cats may become infected but will not develop any obvious signs of ringworm, and some of these animals will go on to become a-symptomatic carriers.
Sheaths of arthrospores on an infected animal are found around their infected areas, that is their hair strands, nails and skin. These spores are then shed and can travel. They are commonly found in furniture, carpeting and cat bedding, and even in air filters. Usually ringworm on cats can be contracted by contact with contaminated objects such bedding, grooming products and even clippers. It is easily caught from another animal that already has ringworm. If there are animals in your home or around your house that have ringworm , your cat may catch it very easily from them.
If you have kittens or cats that are less than a year old in your house, you should always use precautions, because younger animals are more susceptible to any infectious disease, including ringworm.
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Is It Contagious To Humans
Ringworm is a zoonotic disease, which means it can spread from an animal to a human. A ringworm infection in a person typically occurs after a person has touched an infected or carrier cat. But it can also occur after simply handling items that were used by an infected cat. Immune-compromised individuals are more prone to contracting ringworm. Hand-washing and maintaining sanitary conditions can help to prevent the spread.
Protecting Yourself And Your Space
When you have ringworm kittens, youll want to protect your environment, your supplies, and yourself to ensure that the fungal spores are not spreading. Whenever coming into contact with the kittens or their space, you will want to:
Wear protective clothing such as a smock or a large shirt and booties/socks
Put your hair up into a bun
Avoid bringing any unnecessary items with you, like cell phones
Put your kittens in a contained space like a plastic playpen that can be sanitized daily. Make sure to only put things that can be washed or disinfected in their space, or use things that are single use and can be easily thrown away afterwards. Youll still want to give the kittens toys and enrichment of course, but try using plush toys that can be washed, or DIY toys that can be tossed after Be very careful not to let the exposed items touch anything else in your home. Several times a week, change the kittens bedding and toys, and sanitize soiled items in a washing machine with hot water and bleach. Completely disinfect the kittens area and all supplies using an approved disinfectant. My recommendation is to use a product like Rescue disinfectant.
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Topical Antifungal Creams And Ointments
For some mild cases, when your cats are diagnosed to be affected by the offending fungus, your vets will typically prescribe a topical ointment, antifungal creams, or shampoo. After being applied to your cats affected skin areas directly, they will kill the offending fungus.
Make sure to use only topical ointment, antifungal cream, and shampoo highly recommended by your vets. And if you want a much more effective topical treatment, youd better shave the hair in infected areas.
Symptoms Of Ringworms In Cats
The following symptoms are most commonly seen with ringworm in cats.
Cats may have circular thickened patches of skin with hair loss. Hair loss occurs when the fungi infect the hair shaft, resulting in weakening of the infected hairs. These hairs are easy to remove with gentle pressure.
Redness or gray scaling of the lesions may also be noted, along with dull, poor fur.
Lesions are most likely to be found on the skin on your cats head, chest, front legs, and spine. These lesions are usually not itchy at first but can become itchy if severe scaling or bacterial infection occurs.
Infection of the nails is occasionally a symptom. Your cats nails may become rough and have a scaly base. This can lead to distortion of the nails as they grow.
Ringworm may sometimes cause a more generalized condition where a larger area of the body is affected, often appearing as patchy hair loss. In some more severe cases of ringworm, the skin lesions are raised and nodular. These are called granulomas. These skin lesions may frequently ooze.
Many cats, especially longhaired breeds, may have ringworm without any clinical signs at all. These cats, called asymptomatic carriers, may still infect other pets or humans. Its important to note that even though these cats dont look sick, they are very contagious.
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Should I Be Concerned About Ringworm
Yes and no. Ringworm in cats is not typically serious, but it can spread to people as well as other animals, such as dogs. Transmission occurs through direct contact between infected and uninfected individuals. It may be passed from cats to dogs to people in any number of spreading paths.
Adult humans are usually resistant to infection unless there is a break in the skin, such as a scratch, but children and the immune-compromised are especially susceptible. Seek care from your physician if you notice suspicious skin lesions similar to those described for cats. The good news is that because human hygiene is generally more thorough than our pets’, a topical antifungal cream or spray may be all that is needed for human treatment.
Don’t neglect the environment when dealing with a ringworm infection of either people or pets. The fungal spores may live in bedding or carpet for up to 18 months! A solution of bleach and water can be used to disinfect and kill the fungal spores: One pint of chlorine bleach in a gallon of water is effective on hard surfaces suitable for dilute bleach. This is very important to prevent recurrence of the infection.
How Do You Treat Ringworm
Answer: Ringworm is typically treated with antifungal medication, which can be applied to the skin or taken orally.
In some cases, ringworm may go away on its own without treatment.
However, it is important to see a doctor if the rash is spreading, if it is causing pain, or if it is not responding to over-the-counter treatments.
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Treatment For Ringworms In Cats
Treatment is usually a combination of medication applied to the cats skin and an oral medication. Its critical to clean your cats environment at home to reduce further spread and lower the risk of reinfection.
Topical therapy: Treatment thats applied directly to the skin can be used alone when there are small lesions, but it is usually used in combination with oral medication. Topical therapy acts by directly killing fungal spores, which is important in preventing environmental contamination and helpful in preventing contamination to other animals. Topical treatment will usually continue for several weeks or even months depending on your cats diagnosis.
Oral therapy: These medications are considered the most effective treatment against ringworm in cats because this treatment targets the fungus to stop reproduction and spread. Once treated, only the original fungus remains and can be removed with other treatment options. Each of these oral medications help treat the most common type of ringworm in cats, Microsporum. This same fungus is left as spores in the environment which is why environmental disinfection is so important.
Your veterinarian may prescribe one of the following:
What Are Ringworms In Cats
Ringworms or ringworm are the common names for dermatophytosis, a fungal infection that can affect a cats skin, hair, and nails. The fungus, which feeds on dead cells, is not actually a wormthe name originated from the classic round red target-shaped lesion surrounded by a scaly ring mostly seen in humans with ringworm. In cats, youre more likely to notice hair loss and scaly lesions of any shape.
There are several types of fungus that can cause ringworm:
Some are species-specific, meaning they only infect one type of animal.
Others can be contagious between different species, which means they can move from pets to humans. These are called zoonotic.
One species of dermatophyte, Microsporum canis, is responsible for almost all ringworm infections in cats. It is also infectious to humans and dogs.
In some cases, ringworm infections in cats can be caused by Trichophyton mentagrophytes. This species is also contagious to humans.
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How Can I Treat My Home For Ringworm
I heard that I have to decontaminate the environment with bleach because the organism has spores like anthrax does.
Ah so are we starting to panic again. Ringworm is classified as a biohazard class 2. When you have a cold, you are a biohazard class 3. The higher the number, the more dangerous the biohazard. Ringworm does produce spores that are like dust, but these spores are not like mildew. They need to be on skin to live.
Surfaces will need a hard cleaning. Think of this as removing diarrhea or vomit from a spot. The hard cleaning is to eliminate any organic material. Then the disinfectant cleaner can be used. Regular bathroom cleaners with accelerated hydrogen peroxide will eliminate them. If it is labeled against Trichophyton, it will eliminate the fungus that causes ringworm too. In order to be the most effective, youll want to spray the cleaner and let it sit for a 10 minutes then wipe the area.
For fabric, towels and clothing should be washed twice. Those areas can be cleaned with carpet shampoo, allowed to sit, and then vacuumed. Food and water bowels just need to be washed with soap and water.