An eight week old stray kitten showed up at my door one day sick and hungry. I pledged it my love and my home and rushed it to the vet. After at least two trips to the vets office and medication for a cold, my kitten seemed to be on track to a full recovery. Until, that is, I noticed I had started to notice a ring shaped rash on my skin. I went back to the vet to convince them that this kitten did indeed have ringworm that needed to be treated. My kitten was carrying ringworm that went un-diagnosed by him during our first few visits. He gave me a couple of reasons for this and this is why I share this story with you.
Ringworm is a fungus that can be passed from infected animal to animal, from person to animal, from animal to person or you can get it from the soil. Most likely this is how my kitten got ringworm or maybe its mother had it and passed it along. Either way, I now had it as well. It normally shows up on animals by appearing as round lesions missing hair. The lesion might also have scaly skin in the center. They are most common on the head, ears, and tail of a cat. With some infections, the fungus will not be a circular shape. It can spread to the face, lips, nose and chin. It can sometimes look like and autoimmune disease which is what happened in the case of my malnourished kitten. The only hair loss my kitten had was a thinning of the hair in front of the ears which is common in a cat that is malnourished. The down side was that by the time we caught the infection, it had spread to another kitten I had I the house, myself and my dog.
The effectiveness of the ringworm treatment is really up to you and the vet. With small, isolated lesions, a vet might prescribe an antifungal cream. There is also an oral medication available to cats that have a more severe case of ringworm. They might even prescribe a lime sulfur dip. These dips smell terrible and can temporarily turn the cat’s coat a yellowish, range color. One of the most effective ways to treat ringworm is with an antifungal shampoo. The other half of the treatment is up to you.
Once ringworm has entered the life of your cat, drastic steps need to be taken to endure that it will not continue to spread. One of the ways that ringworm spreads is through bedding, fabric or other types of material like gym mats, etc. You need to be diligent about washing everything that you cat is sleeping on everyday in hot water and bleach. In the case of cats, they like to sleep everywhere. Since it is not realistic for you to wash the fabric of your furniture everyday, cover your furniture that your cat goes on or sleeps n in sheets which can be removed and washed everyday. If your cat has a bed, wash that everyday in hot water and bleach as well. Keep the contact that you have with your cat t a minimum. Make sure you change and wash your bedding every day as well. Even if the other pets in your household are not showing signs of ringworm, you should treat them as well. Typically treatment is kept up until two negative lab tests come back in your cat’s favor ensuring that they are ringworm free.