When we refer to the feline ringworm we are talking about dermatophytosis, this is the scientific name of the disease that cats can have. It is a reaction that occurs in the skin and can affect a large number of animals if they are not controlled. It is quite a contagious disease. For that reason, if you suspect that your cat may have it, we advise you to take him to the vet so that he can advise you on the best treatment to follow.
For your furry to be well, it is very important that you follow the specialist's recommendations to the letter, especially if you live with more felines. Next I will explain to you what the disease consists of, what are the symptoms and how is it treated.
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What is feline ringworm?
It is a disease transmitted above all a fungus, specifically dermatophytes of the species Microsporum canis, which can also affect other animals, such as dogs and humans. However, there are others, such as the Trichophyton mentagrophytesplatforms, microsporum persicolorplatforms, Microsporum gypseumplatforms, microsporum fulvum and Terrestrial trichophyton which are also potential causes of ringworm in cats.
Fungi are microorganisms that multiply producing spores (which would become the seeds). When these spores reach an animal, if it is completely healthy, they will not be able to do anything, but if you have any wounds or irritated skin, then they will germinate and start to produce hyphae that will spread throughout the body, causing the appearance of normally circular and alopecic lesions in the superficial dead layers of hair, nails and skin.
How do cats get infected?
Ringworm, as we said, is very contagious. It is enough for a cat with an injury or a weak immune system to come into direct contact with a spore for it to become ill too. Other ways of contagion are living with a sick feline, since by sharing the rest areas and the objects that we use to keep them clean, what we do is transmit the spores from one cat to another without realizing it.
Even so, it is important to know that, although the spores can stay alive for two years, it is not so easy for a furry dog to become infected, especially if they have received all their vaccines and remain dewormed. But, if your feline is young (less than 1 year old) and / or has long hair, you should take special care.
What are the symptoms of dermatophytosis or ringworm in cats?
One of the main symptoms are the small lesions that may appear on your skin, in some areas small hairless circles may appear. It is normal for cats to bite in these areas or have the need to lick the diseased regionIn this way they spread ringworm to other parts of their body.
The most common place for this disorder to appear is behind the ears and also on your extremities. Cat ringworm can appear on your nails, causing them to break easily.
As we told you before, If your cat has ringworm, it will surely have caught it from another animal. Although there are cases in which it appears due to a high level of stress or the appearance of parasites.
How is it diagnosed?
The most commonly used method is performing a mushroom culture; that is, collecting some previously selected hairs and placing them in special media to later be incubated in a laboratory. After analyzing it, after a few weeks since they grow very slowly, they will be able to know what species of dermatophyte it belongs to.
Other ways to diagnose it are with a Wood's ultraviolet lamp, directing the light towards the hair in a dark room (in case of infection, the infected hairs will appear apple green), or an examination under the microscope of some suspicious hairs.
Treatment of feline ringworm
If you suspect that he has this disease, you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible, not only to prevent it from getting worse, but above all to make it better. Once there, and the diagnosis confirmed, give you antibiotic medications, external dewormers, and antifungal creams that will relieve your symptoms and discomfort.
Never forget to give her a lot of love and keep her a lot of company. In addition to medications, to recover you need to feel loved, as this will give you strength and courage to move on.
Household cleaning and disinfection
Apart from treating the cat, it is very necessary carry out a thorough cleaning of the home and everything in it. Sheets, blankets, animal beds, toys, ... everything, with hot water (almost boiling) and with household fungicides or bleach.
In case of living with more than one cat, the patient must be kept separate from the rest until they have improved, and of course take them to the vet to find out if they have been infected or not.
How long does it take for a cat to heal from ringworm?
As long as an early diagnosis is made and remains well medicated and treated, in at least six weeks it will improve, and it could even be cured. But if you live with more animals, it will take longer since it will take more time to eliminate all the spores of the fungus.
Prevention of feline ringworm
The first thing to do, whether you are adopting a cat for the first time or if it is already the second (or third), is to take him to examine. Especially kittens are very vulnerable, so this testing by the veterinarian can avoid many problems in the short and medium term.
You also don't have to accept toilet materials or second-hand toys., otherwise the risk of infection would increase, and both felines and humans living in that home could be endangered.
Another thing that is very important is that of keep him up-to-date on vaccinations and dewormed. So your health will be good.
We hope you have learned a lot about this disease, which although it is contagious, with a few basic care it can be well prevented.