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Cat Ringworm (Dermatophytosis) Symptoms and Treatments
8 years ago

Contrary to popular belief, feline ringworm is not caused by a worm at all but is a fungal skin disease caused by tinea corporis (a microscopic group of parasitic fungal organisms known as dermatophytes). It is highly contagious between cats and is often found in overcrowded conditions or catteries where cats intermingle, or where domestic cats come into contact with ferals who may carry or be suffering the condition and not been treated. This infection is highly contagious between cats, dogs and humans and when you notice ringworm, cats should be isolated from each other until it has been controlled. Strict hygiene should be observed and gloves should be worn when handling him until he is completely free of the condition.

The signs and symptoms include a skin infection which looks scaly, raw and flaky. It is very itchy and the cat is constantly scratching. The incubation period is about 10-14 days so your cat may have ringworm but not display the signs and symptoms until the fungus has got a good hold.

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8 years ago

The fungus inhabits the hair shaft and feeds on the scales and debris at the base of the hairs . Eventually the hair shaft breaks at the base next to the skin and small round areas of bald patches start to appear, and which spread as the ringworm spreads.

Diagnosis is confirmed by the presence of circular patches of hair loss, microscopic examination of the hair shaft, and sometimes an ultraviolet light can be used to determine the presence of the fungus which shows up green under the light. Sending samples of the hair for culture (i.e. to see what organisms grow in an appropriate food medium) will also confirm the diagnosis.

7 years ago
Treatment consists in giving a feline medicine in the form of oral Griseofulvin, which is a systemic anti-fungal agent which is absorbed by the body and lodges in the hair shafts to treat the fungus at the site of infection. Griseofulvin needs to be administered together with a fatty meal, as it is the fat content that activates the drug, and should be give daily for 30 days to ensure adequate take up and treatment. Griseofulvin should not be given to pregnant or nursing queens as it can cause birth or developmental abnormalities. It can also cause immunosuppression which will weaken the body's defences to disease and infection. Your vet will discuss alternative treatments should your cat not be able to have Griseofulvin.
7 years ago

There is a ringworm vaccination that can be given in order to protect the cat from future reoccurrence, as well as protecting any other cats in his vicinity. Some vets also advocate shaving the fur to remove the habitat of the fungus during treatment but in general it is thought that cutting back the hair on long-haired breeds is sufficient as Griseofulvin is so effective.
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