Ringworm is an obvious disease which can affect your pet, especially cats. Even though there’s a word “worm” in it, please note that this condition is not caused by worm at all. It’s caused by fungus and can affect not only skin, but also nails and hair.
Ringworm is highly contagious, so you should be careful if you have more than one pet in your house. And ringworm can affect human too!
If a ringworm condition has got serious, you’ll see a patch of hair loss in circular motion with red rings in its center. That’s why it’s called ringworm. This condition is also known as dermatophytosis.
In a cat, you’ll see skin lesions which affect its forelimbs, ears, and head. In mild condition, redness in localized area has flaky skin looking like dandruff. In more serious case, the condition could spread in all over your cat’s body. However, it’s also likely that your cat has ringworm spores without showing any symptoms at all.
Cats can get contaminated by having a contact with an infected animal, or indirectly having contact with households containing ringworm spores in them. Households which had been infected by skin cells containing ringworm can be a problem! You should know that ringworm spores can survive for more than 1 year in households!
Actually, every cat has a chance of developing ringworm, but geriatric cats and kitty less than a year have higher risk of developing it. Longhaired cats are also prone to ringworm. When it comes to the environment, humid, warm, and crowded area can give higher risk of ringworm development.
If you find your cat has some ringworm symptoms, it’s advisable to visit a vet to get an accurate diagnosis. It’s also better to quarantine your suspected cat until you get a validated diagnose from a vet. Don’t forget to always wash your hands thoroughly after touching your cat.
Ringworm may be not harmful, but it takes three until five months until your cat can be completely cured. The treatment is not only to cure the cats, but also to minimize the risk of contaminating other pets as well as humans.
The usual way to get rid of ringworm in cats is combining systematic oral therapy and topical medication (shampoo, ointments, or creams). Keep in mind that to successfully treat your cat, the environment must be cleared and cleaned thoroughly first.
This kind of therapy can be a standalone medication in how to get rid of a ringworm, but to double the effect, it’s better to combine oral therapy as well. There are various medications which can be bought freely in the drug store. Creams, shampoos, or ointments are available for you. They just have to be applied to the affected area.
However, before applying topical medication, it’s better to shave the area first. Make sure the fur won’t interfere the absorption of the medication in the cat’s skin. If the ringworm has got severe, where it affects the whole body of the cat while your cat is a longhaired one, you need advice from your vet. He may recommends clipping or even shaving the entire fur.
Bathing the cat with medicated shampoo twice a week is highly recommended in this case. When it comes to topical treatment, it should only be used in period of several weeks until several months, depending on the case.
Warning: After bathing or applying cream to your cat, don’t ever forget to wash your hands thoroughly with soap. You should also sanitize anything coming in contact with your cat during the medication.
Anti fungal drug is also recommended for your cats to double the effect of topical medication. Griseofulvin is a kind of anti fungal drug which is widely used in ringworm case. However, later drugs like terbinafine and itraconazole is preferable because they have less side effects.
Even though each anti fungal drug sure has its benefits, but the response of each cat may vary. If you treat your cat with oral treatment, make sure you follow the instruction of your vet or in the label of each drug, because if you stop the medication too soon, the ringworm will come again.
The repeating process of the treatment must be continued in at least six weeks. In some severe cases, it’s even longer than that. In the first until second week of the treatment, the ringworm culture will be obtained. It takes more weeks after that to make sure two continual ringworm cultures are going to be taken.
If you have more than one pet in your house, always quarantine the infected one and treat only the infected one. Yes, in some cases you should treat all your pets, but it’s recommended to treat your pet individually.
Each hair in your infected cat’s fur has tons of microscopic fungal spores which can be spread to the environment. With that, other animals and humans can occur, be it with direct or indirect contat. Direct contact is when you touch the infected cats, while indirect contact is when you unintentionally come into the contaminated environment.
This is the reason why you need to put your infected cat in one special room only, so it will be easer for you to take care of the environment once your cat has been free of ringworm spores.
To reduce environmental infection, sometimes it’s also better to clip the infected fur which is also combined with topical treatment in the affected spot. Electrostatic cleaners could also help removing strands of pet’s fur in furniture or floor.
Vacuuming the entire affected area is also recommended. If it’s not possible, damp mopping is also good. Those things should be done as often as possible. When mopping the floor, some people use diluted bleach (in ratio 1:10 with water), because this mixture is believed able to disinfect the area.
Some people also use tea tree oil to get rid of ringworm. It’s because tea tree oil is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial substance which is able to overcome almost every skin issue. However, that’s for human. Be careful, cats and humans are different when it comes to digestion.
Some essential oils are dangerous for cats. And cats tend to lick everything we put on their fur, you should be very careful with this. If you insist on using tea tree oil, never forget to dilute it first. Remember, essential oil mostly can’t be used directly to the skin. And the diluted tea tree oil should only be applied to the small spot. If it’s a larger area where your cat has been infected, better not to use tea tree oil.
Plus, cats usually don’t like the aroma of essential oil. You wouldn’t like your cat acting like crazy and getting even harder to be treated. If you force your cat to stay still while you applying tea tree oil, it will be traumatized.
Beside tea tree oil, some people also use undiluted apple cider vinegar to the affected area. ACV contains high acidic which can kill the fungus spores. You just have to apply it using cotton ball 6 times a day until the ringworm disappears.
When treating your cat, always remember ringworm is contagious not only for other pets, but also for humans. So, after treating the cat, follow these hygiene precautions; wear gloves during the treatment, throw away the gloves after using it, wash your hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap after that (yes, even though you were wearing gloves at that time).
If possible, rinse your clothes with bleach and tea tree oil in it as a preventative substance. If you have kids at home, better to keep your kids away from the cats until both the environment and the cat is disinfected.
If you apply aggressive treatment for your cat, it may only need three weeks until everything’s cleared. However, ringworm can last longer than that and still be contagious if you only have minimum treatment and approach to treat the infected cat. Minimizing contact with other living creatures in the family is also important in this case.
It usually takes several weeks for the ringworm cultures to be taken after the first treatment. If there are two consecutive negative ringworm cultures, it means your cat has been completely cleared and the treatment has been successful.
Most people wonder how to get rid of a ringworm completely? Will my cat be cured and recovered again? Majorly, if you treat your cat properly (and aggressively if possible), cats will always recover only in several weeks.
You may observe your cat during the treatment. The lesions in the skin or the bald patch in it may not change much in the first week of the treatment. However, you’ll see some good improvements in another second and third weeks of the treatment.
Beware! Some cat owners think it’s a sign that their cats have been completely recovered. In fact, it’s not the case. The improvement that you’ll see within two or three weeks is a symptom that the first ringworm culture has been taken, but not completely.
If you discontinue the treatment too early, the symptoms of ringworm will occur again. Same case will happen if the treatment you give to your cat is not aggressive enough (for instance, only topical treatment is used and only once a day).
Symptoms of ringworm can also be back again if your cat has underlying medical condition which affect the immune system. In some case, in spite of the appropriate and aggressive treatment, the infection stays still. In this case, you need to check to the vet again and ask for an alternative anti fungal medications.
Sometimes, isolating your affected cat is not enough. It still needs another step to make sure other pets you have, or kids and other members of the family, won’t get affected by this ringworm.
It’s better to ask for advice from the vet. She or he will tell you what should you do to prevent the ringworm from spreading.
However, if you have more than one pet, even though you have quarantine the affected one, it’s most likely all of them are infected as well. It’s because you only quarantine the infected one after you suspect the ringworm. Right before you suspected it, probably the fungus had already been there.
So, to get rid the ringworm all at once in your pets, you’ll need to:
Always notice the first symptom of ringworm. Don’t leave your cat untreated, because even though this condition is not lethal, but it can spread over the entire body of the cat. It leads to skin infections and hair loss.
And for the medications, be it topical or oral, even though most of them can be purchased without prescription, it’s always better to visit the vet first. You may think you don’t need prescription, but purchasing drugs or medication treatments without instruction from the professional may lead to wrong applications.