Cat Ringworm: Signs to Watch for and Protecting Your Pet

Ringworm is one of the most common skin disorders that cats can suffer from. This is a fungal infection despite its name, and it needs to be treated with the help of a vet. If your pet is showing signs of this condition, you need to be sure that you get an appointment with your vet. The sooner that you treat ringworm, the easier it is to get the issue under control. Ringworm that is well-established can be hard to treat and can take weeks of treatment to resolve.

Cat ringworm can make your pet very uncomfortable as well, which is a good argument for being aware of what the condition looks like. Protecting your pet from this condition is easier than you might think, so the more that you know about this skin issue, the easier it is to care for your pet.

cat ringworm

Signs of Cat Ringworm

The most common symptoms of ringworm in cats are circular areas of hair loss. Your pet might also have stubbly hair, scaling and crusty skin, and changes to their skin color in the areas that are affected. Pets with ringworm might also groom excessively, have infected claws and nailbeds, or have severe dry skin and dandruff.

Some cats will also be protective of their coat being touched and will not like being handled or picked up. This is more common in cats with advanced cases, but some pets have painful skin early in their infection.

When you take your cat to the veterinarian, the vet might look at their coat under an ultraviolet lamp. This lamp will reveal the cat’s hair to have a yellowish-green color to it which is indicative of this skin condition. Vets also often take skin scrapings and do cultures to verify that ringworm is the reason for your cat’s symptoms.

Can Ringworm be Treated Easily?

Ringworm can be treated with a variety of different treatment methods. Most pets will need to be treated with both systemic medications as well as full-body rinses or dips that help kill the fungus that causes ringworm.

It takes about six weeks to treat this kind of infection and in some pets, it can take even longer. Ringworm can be very hard to cure in some pets and you will need to follow the directions that are given to you by your vet very carefully to make sure that your pet heals. It is not uncommon for treatment to end too soon and ringworm to reassert itself.

How Can You Protect Your Pet from Getting Ringworm?

Ringworm is very contagious, so you need to be aware that it is likely that all your pets will get this fungal infection without careful sanitizing and care being taken with regard to contact between pets. You can also get ringworm.

Separate the Cat with Ringworm

It is usually a good idea to keep the cat with ringworm separated from the other pets to make sure that you don’t end up with a major issue in your home.

Ringworm is often transferred between pets. If an animal that visits your home or a pet that is at the boarding location your cat stayed at while you were on vacation had ringworm, your cat could easily catch it from this animal. Even contact outside with infected animals is enough for your pet to get ringworm and indoor/outdoor cats are more at risk than pets that live indoors only.

Work with a Reputable Groomer

This fungus is also present in the environment and some animals can get it just from being outside. Pet grooming locations are also havens of these kinds of infections when they are not correctly sanitized and cleaned. Always be sure that you are working with a reputable and skilled groomer so that you and your pet are not exposed to this kind of infection.

Wash Your Cat’s Bedding and Clean Toys

Infected bedding, brushes, and even toys can spread ringworm and re-infect animals that already have this skin condition. You will need to be sure that you wash your cat’s bedding regularly and you will also need to make sure to disinfect and clean toys and brushes on a regular basis to prevent your pet from getting ringworm or continuing to be infected with this fungal infection.

Wear Gloves If Your Cat Has Ringworm

Because ringworm is communicable to people as well, you will need to make sure that you wear gloves while you are handling an infected pet. This is true even when washing or rinsing your pet with anti-fungal treatments. The less exposure that you have to your pet’s ringworm the better. It can be hard to keep up this level of care for long enough to cure ringworm, but it must be done if you want to make sure that your cat becomes 100% healthy again.

Ringworm Can Become a Serious Infection and Requires Careful Treatment

Recognizing the signs of ringworm can be critical for cat owners to prevent having to cope with a long-term and very well-established infection. Cats can give this infection to other animals in the house, as well as people and you will probably need to isolate the cat that has the infection from other animals in the home. Treatment can take a long time and you will need to follow the instructions of your vet very carefully if you want your pet to fully heal.

Ringworm can be picked up by pets at the groomer or the pet boarding facility. Your cat could also get ringworm outside and become infected. While you don’t need to live in fear of this skin condition, you do need to be aware of what it looks like and what you can do to prevent it from becoming something that you and your pet had to contend with. Always make sure that you take your cat to the vet if you think they have ringworm so that you can get access to the treatments that you need to ensure that they can get over ringworm and get back to feeling their best.

Is your cat showing signs of ringworm? Talk with a veterinarian by booking an appointment online at any of our Heart + Paw locations.

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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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