What You Need to Know about Ringworm in Cats in Rye, NH
Do you think your cat could have ringworm? Would you know how to recognize it if so? What should you do if your cat has ringworm, and what does this mean for the other human and animal members of your household?
Ringworm is a common ailment in cats. Many cats will experience this problem at least once in their lives, so it is important to understand what ringworm is and how to help your cat. In this article, we’ll dive deeper and help you gain a more thorough understanding of ringworm, its symptoms, and its treatments.
What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is the common name given to a type of fungal infection known scientifically as feline dermatophytosis. This condition is extremely common in cats.
Although it sounds like ringworm is caused by a worm, there is no parasite involved in this condition at all. It is only caused by a fungus, and it only affects the surface of the skin in almost every situation. The term “ringworm” comes from the ring shape it causes on the skin.
What are the Symptoms of Ringworm in Cats?
The most common symptom of ringworm in cats, and the one most pet owners notice first, is a raised ring of scaly skin that looks like a lesion or sore. This ring typically causes hair to fall out in round patches as well.
Other symptoms may include skin inflammation and redness, dandruff, infections of the claws, and excessive grooming. Some cats may be itchy from this condition and may scratch excessively, too. Most likely, if your cat has reached the point of secondary symptoms, you will be able to see the ringworm lesion on her skin.
What are the Risk Factors that Contribute to Ringworm in Cats?
Most of the time, cats who contract ringworm do so because they’ve been in contact with other infected cats. If you’ve recently adopted your cat from a shelter or rescue and she has ringworm, she probably caught it there. And if your cat has recently been boarded or kept at the vet for a while, this could be the cause of her ringworm instead.
Some cats may also catch ringworm from human family members, dogs, and other animals in the home as well. If you pick up a ringworm infection yourself somewhere, you may risk giving it to your cat.
Is Ringworm Contagious?
Yes, ringworm is extremely contagious. Cats typically pass it to each other very quickly. Dogs can also catch it from cats, as can ferrets, horses, pigs, and goats. All of these animals are capable of spreading ringworm between each other, and the infection spreads rapidly among animal communities.
Keep in mind, too, that humans can also catch ringworm from cats. If your cat contracts ringworm, you will be at risk, and so will other members of your household. You may also risk spreading the infection further to your other pets or people you know.
How is Ringworm Treated?
First, your vet will prescribe a couple of medications for your cat. These will include a topical ointment that has antifungal properties and can help reduce the infection, as well as an oral antifungal medication. The vet will also likely give your cat a medicated bath and may recommend you do the same at home.
Next, your vet will instruct you to remove all environmental risks of further infection. This means cleaning your cat’s bedding and toys, cleaning your carpets and furniture, washing your own bedding if your cat sleeps on your bed, and treating human family members for ringworm as well.
How can you Protect your Cat from Ringworm?
The best way to protect your cat from contracting ringworm is to keep your home and your cat’s items clean. Wash your cat’s bedding frequently, clean your floors, and keep your home disinfected regularly. These cleanliness habits can help reduce the risk of spreading ringworm.
Otherwise, keeping your cat indoors can make a big difference, too. Do not let your cat go outdoors (for this and many other reasons), and try to avoid boarding as much as possible. If you must board your cat, choose a high-quality, clean boarding facility that you know cares about protecting its animals.
As you can see, although ringworm is highly contagious and transmissible, it is not too serious. It will likely not clear up fully without proper medication, however, so be sure to talk to your vet as soon as you suspect your cat may be dealing with ringworm.
Your vet will help you figure out the best course of action for treating your cat’s ringworm and helping her get back to her usual self in no time. If you or your family members have also caught ringworm, be sure to see your family doctor for treatment as well.
We're proud to have many long-time staff members at our hospital who get along like family and treat their patients and clients the same. The compassion and commitment of our veterinarians and staff make our team a reliable, trusted partner for you and your pet.