Ringworm in Pets Hot to Spot and Treat Ringworm Skin Infections

Ringworm in Pets
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Ringworm in dogs and cats is an infection that must be treated to prevent its spread to other animals or contamination of your home. Find out how to treat ringworm in pets.

Ringworm in pets, or in humans, in a type of skin infection. The name "ringworm" is a misnomer in that the organism causing the infection is not a worm at all; itโ€™s a fungus. Pet owners can catch ringworm from their animal friendsโ€”their dogs, cats, horses, cattle, etc.

Ringworm gets its name from the ring-shaped pattern it causes on peopleโ€”a round, red patch that encircles an area of skin. On animals, ringworm appears instead as a dry, scaly patch of missing hair.

Ringworm fungi spores can live outdoors, on animal items, and in animal bedding. They can be passed to other animals from the spores dropping off the infected animal or through using an infected animalโ€™s grooming items or bedding.

Diagnosis of Ringworm

If your cat or dog is missing patches of hair or has skin lesions, you should take them to the veterinarian for diagnosis. The veterinarian might inspect your pet's hairs under a microscope to see the spores, or they may perform a culture to attempt to grow the fungi from spores taken from the cat or dog. A skin biopsy would also show if spores are present in the skin.

Treatment for Ringworm

Oral and topical anti-fungal treatments are available through your prescriptions from your veterinarian to treat ringworm in your dog or cat. Some studies have shown that the medication lufenuron, as found in the monthly flea and worm preventative Sentinel, may reduce a petโ€™s risk for contracting ringworm. Ask your veterinarian if that medication is right for your pet.

Even without treatment, ringworm could go away on its own within a few months; however, the spores would still be contaminating the animalโ€™s areaโ€”potentially your home. If this is the case, you and your pets could get ringworm again. So for your benefit, as well as your petsโ€™, treatment is recommended.

While your pet is receiving treatment, youโ€™ll want to decontaminate your home. Vacuuming and steam cleaning of carpets should help remove the spores. Diluting bleach 1:10 will also kill spores on surfaces like floors. While your pet is being treated for ringworm and youโ€™re disinfecting your house, you might want to keep the animal confined to a particular area until they are not carrying ringworm spores anymore. A follow up culture performed by the veterinarian will determine when their ringworm infection has resolved.

How To Treat Ringworms In Cats

Ringworm is a generic term given to any fungal infection formed in the skin's superficial layers. It also affects the nails and the hairs of your kitty. This disease can happen in multiple animal species, humans included.


The name โ€œringwormโ€ comes from the fungal infection's appearance. It takes the shape of a round and red ring raised above the surface of the skin. It is to be noted that contrary to its name, not all infected areas show the ring. The dermatophytes, a special variety of fungi, causes the ringworm infections. The medical name of this condition is thus dermatophytosis.Any cat with ringworm will suffer from skin lesions on the forelimbs, head, and the ears. This disease leads to bald and flaky patches which occasionally appear red at its center. Mild cases have dandruff or the redness gets restricted to a local area. Severe infections could infect the entire body of the cat. A few cats could carry ringworm spores but will not exhibit any symptom.

Infection and treatment

A cat can be infected with a ringworm when it directly touches an infected animal. It can also get indirectly via contact with materials like bedding and dishes which were contaminated with infected animals' hairs or skin cells. The spores of the ringworm are tenacious and could survive for a year under hostile conditions. Any species of cat could surrender to ringworms but it was observed that kittens below a year and older cats are vulnerable to infection. Immunocompromised cats can also get infected. The fungus swiftly spreads in crowded environments and warm shelters. Ringworm infections are more likely to happen in humid and warm conditions.It is to be kept in mind that ringworm is self-limiting. Resolutions will happen within five months. The disease is treated to minimize infection spread towards humans and pets. Children are not permitted to come near it. The standard method of ringworm treatment is to employ a mix of topical therapy with systemic oral therapy. Other environmental contamination should be eliminated to make the treatment a successful one.If your cat has ringworms, then sometimes the cat could be given topical treatment to cure it. The most common method is to combine with any oral medication. A number of ointments and creams are sold to be rubbed on the local skin which is affected by the ringworm. If the affected areas are few, like two or three, simply shave off the hair from the affected part. The most popular anti-fungal drug is usually thegriseofulvin. Do the full course, as any laxity on your part will cause the disease to relapse.

Some more ways to treat ringworms are listed below hover over to know more.

Ringworms are a common condition in humans but pet owners everywhere dread having to deal with ringworms in their cats. Getting rid of ringworms and the overall treatment of the condition can be quite expensive as well as time-consuming. So instead of going to the vet every time, some pet owners try to treat the condition from the comfort of their home. Cats who are brought up indoors can get ringworms from their owners or from other infected surfaces. Despite the name, ringworm isnโ€™t a type of worm at all but a fungus that can affect the hair, nails, and skin.

Symptoms Of Ringworm

Typical signs that a cat has ringworms is the appearance of lesions on the head, forelimbs, and ears. Ringworms can appear red in the center with flaky patches towards the sides. In its initial stages, it looks like dandruff and as it progresses, the signs appear more severe as the infections can spread through the whole body. Sometimes, you will not be able to find any symptoms at all as fungal spores can remain dormant for a long period of time.

Ways To Prevent And Treat Ringworm

  1. Use anti-fungal creamsThese ointments and sprays can be bought over the counter and are lifesavers when it comes to treating ringworms in cats. They are affordable and provide fast relief.
  2. Give your cat oral medications.Oral medications like Itraconazole among others are guaranteed to prevent ringworm in felines. These medications block the spores from sticking to the catโ€™s fur.
  3. Bathe your cat.One of the most effective home remedies for treating cats with ringworms is bathing them using an anti-fungal shampoo. You can use these shampoos on felines that arenโ€™t infected to prevent infection. Go over the usage of the shampoo with your vet.
  4. Apply lime sulfur dips.These are another guaranteed remedy for treating feline ringworm. Apply lime sulfur dips to the infected area at least once a week. Lime sulfur dips arenโ€™t exclusively for felines. They can also be used for other infected pets in your household.
  5. Patience is a virtue.There are no remedies that promise immediate results. You will start seeing results within 3 weeks of the treatment so itโ€™s important to stay patient.
  6. Clean Household SurfacesIndoor cats can acquire ringworm from infected surfaces in the house. Throw away infected items and clean all surfaces with hot water and a bleach solution.
  7. Keep infected pets quarantined.When your infected pets are roaming around the house, they have a higher chance of infecting you, your children, and other surfaces in the house.
  8. Clean your house thoroughly.Make sure you vacuum your entire house regularly during and after the ringworm treatment. Wash you felineโ€™s bedding, toys, collars, bowls, and other items.

To make sure that your cat is completely cured, it is advisable to continue treatment until you start seeing a change in her lesions and general behavior.

More on Pet Skin Health

Hot Spots in Dogs and Cats
Pruritus, or Scratching and Itching, in Pets
Pyodermas, or Skin Infections, in Pets

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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