Ringworm, or in medical world known as dermatophytosis, is skin disease that common found in cats and dogs. Other than skins, ringworm can spread to hair and nails. It is highly contagious, not only to other pets but also to humans. So, it is best for cat owners to know the
The general symptoms of ringworm in cats are the redness skin lesions on the head, ears, chest, the back ridge, tail, and forelegs. Circular bald patches are often found in cats with ringworm especially on the head, the back, and the tail. In severe infections, these symptoms can spread all over the body. A cat can be a carrier for ringworm spores without showing any symptoms on its body.
Ringworm can infect a cat when it directly touches the infected animals or when it touches objects which have been contaminated with skin cells, hairs, or nails of infected animals. The same method is applied when human gets infection. Ringworm spores are tough spores. They can live for more than a year even when the skin cells, hairs and nails are no longer attached with the host body. Humid condition and crowded environment increase the infection spread.
Symptom observation is not enough to diagnose ringworm in cats since there are particular cats which don’t show any symptoms but definitely carry ringworm spores in their skin cells. Therefore, a vet will take some samples such as hair samples to be examined under microscope and to be taken to the lab for fungal culture. For quick diagnose, a vet will use ultraviolet light to see the fungal excretion on the hair shaft. The cat might have ringworm infection if its hair shaft shows yellow-green fluorescent under the ultraviolet light.
Ringworm treatment for cats depend on its severity. For mild cases, a vet usually prescribe ointment or shampoo to treat the infected cats. For severe cases, oral medication will be added to the regimen. The cat may need the treatment for few months to make sure all ringworm spores have been eradicated from the cat.
Cream or ointment
A vet prescribe antifungal cream or antifungal ointment for the cats with mild symptoms. This cream or ointment needs to be applied directly on the lesions. Remember to always use glove when you rub the ointment. The vet may prescribe antifungal shampoo if the lesions have spread out over the entire body. Avoid using other cream, ointment, and shampoo that are not prescribed by the vet because they may cause the infection worse.
Sometimes ointment and shampoo are not enough to eradicate the ringworm fungi especially when they have spread out all over the body and the cat has shown severe symptoms. Oral medication will treat the ringworm from the inside. The pet owners need to give oral medication at least for six months to eradicate the fungus thoroughly. Please, be remember to not abruptly stop the oral medication in the middle of regimen. The action can lead to recurring infection since the medication doesn’t kill the fungus completely.
There are also home remedies that can treat ringworm in cats. However, the effectiveness of these remedies are not scientifically proven. It is strongly advised to consult with the vet before you start natural ringworm treatment for cats. Home remedies to treat ringworm include:
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains antibiotic properties in its compound that may be able to stop the infection. Dilute the vinegar with water then wash the affected area with the solution. Rinse the cat after the treatment.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil have been used as topical ointment since a long time ago. The antibiotic properties in tea tree oil compounds are often used to treat bacterial and fungal infection. Dilute tea tree oil with water then soak cotton balls with the solution. Dab the affected area at least two times a day for one week. Tea tree oil solution also works to treat ringworm infection in humans.
Papaya can treat ringworm in cats, dogs, and humans. Take raw papaya then cut it out. Rub it over the affected area few times a day for better result.
Bleach contains antiseptic chemicals that can eliminate bacterial and fungal infections. Pure bleach may cause skin irritation, so it is strongly advised to dilute bleach with water. Soak cotton ball with the bleach solution, then dab it on the affected areas. Always monitor for skin irritations and itches. Stop the treatment if your cats show skin irritations. It is recommended to put Elizabethan collar around the cat’s neck, so that it can’t lick the solution.
Garlic is known for having antibiotic and antimicrobial properties, thus, it can be used as natural remedies for ringworm. Cut a clove of garlic into halves, then rub one half over the affected areas. Repeat the process at least two times a day for one week for better result.
Lime dip can be used to treat ringworm in cats. In the beginning, it is best to use lime dip two times a week. After couple of weeks, use lime dip once a week for the next 4-6 weeks.
Clean the house and furniture
To prevent the infection spread more, you should clean your house and wash all the furniture that have been directly contacted with the infected cat. Vacuum every nook and cranny of the house to make sure all the cat’s hairs, nails, and dead skin cells are removed from the house. Wash every objects that have been touched by the infected cats using disinfectant. Discard the items that you find impossible to be cleaned such as cat tree or carpet.
Ringworm is highly contagious. As the pet owner, you must know how to prevent ringworm infected you, the family members or other pets.
- Wash regularly the bedding, blankets, and other objects that your cat often used with disinfectant.
- Vacuum every nook and cranny of the house regularly.
- Dispose cat hairs each time you groom it.
- Clean the areas where your cat often use to play with disinfectant.
- Quarantine the infected cat during the treatment.
- Wear gloves when you treat the infected cat.
- Always wash your hands each time you touch your pets.
- Educate the family members about ringworm treatment for cats.