Ringworms are communicable and can pass from animals to humans. If you have a pet take the necessary precautions to ensure it stays away from it. Ringworm is a fungal skin infection that can affect your cat and others. If you recognize the signs of ringworm early, you can get your cat appropriate treatment and prevent it from spreading because it is highly contagious. Ringworm will often go away on its own, but it takes much longer without treatment. Here’s what you need to know about this common and completely treatable cat skin infection.
What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is a skin infection that can affect both pets and humans. It can sometimes lead to itchy and uncomfortable skin. Different types of fungi can cause ringworm Microsporum-Canis is the common one. A group of fungi called dermatophytes can also be the reason. The fungus can live on many surfaces, including blankets, grooming tools, and towels. Kittens and cats with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop ringworm than adult cats or those with robust immune systems. Cats with long hair tend to be sneaky carriers of ringworm because it is not easily noticeable.
Symptoms and Appearance
Just like the name describes, a ringworm rash often looks like a ring. Ringworm is usually detected when cat owners notice skin lesions, typically occurring on the forelimbs, ears, head, or skin. Minor cases may cause dandruff or redness of the skin. Severe cases could spread to multiple areas of the body. Other symptoms include rounded and knotty bumps with open sores. There could also be inflammation within the folds of the skin. Their claws may turn white or might also shared easily. However, some kitties might carry the ringworm spores without showing any symptoms.
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You might see the following signs of the infection on your cat:
Areas of hair loss
The incubation period might be anywhere from one week to two weeks or a maximum to be three weeks before you start to notice any signs on your kitty’s body of having ringworm.
How Is it Spreads?
Direct contact with ringworm may result in its spread rapidly. That can occur by touching contaminated surfaces with ringworm spores. The spores can remain on objects for as long as 18 months, but you can kill them with a mix of water and chlorine bleach. Detergents are ideal for washing bedding and clothing items. Contact with the fungus does not need to cause infection every time. Healthy adults are typically resistant. Young children, adults with skin sensitivities or compromised immune systems, and the elderly are more susceptible.
A cat with ringworm will be contagious for roughly three weeks. However, the fungus could remain infectious for a longer time if not treated properly. Doctors recommend keeping your cat in a small and private room. Avoid rooms with carpets.
You should follow some protocols to be safe:
- Wear gloves while handling an infected cat.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after the job.
- Vacuum to remove fur, hair and skin flakes.
- Thoroughly disinfect surfaces like furniture, bed and floor.
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If you notice symptoms of ringworm on your cat, bring her to the vet right away. Your vet may use a Wood’s lamp, which uses a UV light, to see if the ringworm glows under the light in a dark room. From where the vet might collect swab samples. That might be all it takes to diagnose ringworm, but it may not work every time at providing accurate answers.
Another method involves taking a culture and sending it to a lab for testing. The vet can collect samples from the skin of the cat for multiple tests. The PCR test identifies the type of fungus for further treatment. Experts recommend keeping the infected cat isolated until the appointment. Always use gloves or wrap when you take your cat to the vet. Once your vet knows which fungus is causing your cat’s ringworm, they will recommend a treatment.
Treatments for Ringworm
Once diagnosed, your vet will prescribe treatments that will kill the fungus. It is also necessary to thoroughly clean the environment to remove the spores. The cat may recover from this fungal infection in a few weeks. Just continue the treatment as the vet prescribes, as the symptoms may recur if you stop the care before time. Doctors recommend both topical and systemic antifungals to treat the infection. Topical medication is for the application to the cat’s skin. A systemic antifungal is a medication that is for oral intake.
If your cat is under a topical medication, do not allow it to lick the cream off as that can cause them to become sick. Use of antifungal shampoos, creams, and dips for the bath of your cat twice a week is also an option. It helps in disinfecting the cat’s fur. The vet should see the cat regularly to determine if the fungus has gone completely.
As mentioned above, thorough cleaning of the environment is the key to prevent it from spreading. Your vet can guide you about what you should be doing to keep your home as clean as possible until the ringworm is gone.
If your cat has spent time on anything washable, such as bedding, you can put those materials in your washing machine. You might want to run them on a long cycle before drying them in the dryer.
When it comes to floors, furniture, and surfaces, it’s best to work on removing hair and other debris by using a vacuum or damp mop. And you can use a disinfecting cleaner that could get rid of fungus too.
Many people bother too much when they learn their fur baby has been diagnosed with ringworm. But this is treatable, so there’s no need to feel like you don’t have any control over the situation. Working closely with the vet and taking steps to treat your pet in a hygienic environment to avoid the spread of ringworm and washing hands thoroughly after handling an infected cat can make a big difference in how quickly you can tackle this issue.
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