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What is the best ringworm treatment for cats? Read this pet parent guide!

Ginger cat advice
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Ringworm is a fungal infection that usually affects cats. It is highly infectious and easy to transmit even to humans! Learn about the best ringworm treatment for cats!

By Daniel Mar

Ringworm is an infection often seen in pet cats. Curiously, despite the name, it doesn't involve any worms! Although it is a highly contagious infection, it can be avoided and treated if you simply know what to do. That is why in this pet parent guide, you will learn about the best ringworm treatment for cats and how best to prevent this disease.

What is ringworm in cats?

©Greg Martinez DVM, YouTube

“Ringworm is actually a fungal infection that infects many different species of animals. Cats are often infected with this fungus since it is easily transmitted. Ringworm affects the top layer of the skin and occurs when the fungi or its spores make contact with a cat's skin. It is very similar to other fungal infections, such as athlete's foot”, said Dr Adrienne Kruzer. Identifying this disease is the first step towards its treatment. Once you notice that your cat is showing the first signs of this infection, you can get yourself a ringworm treatment for cats, but consult with your vet first!

What does it look like?

“Ringworm can be challenging to detect in cats, since the lesions of ringworm may be very mild or even undetectable. Ringworm fungi feed on the keratin that is found in the outer layers of the skin, hair and nails. A "cigarette ash" scaling in the depths of the coat may be the only visible indicator of ringworm infection in cats. Some cats may have round thickened patches of skin with hair loss. Hair loss occurs when the spores infect the hair shafts, resulting in increased fragility of the infected hairs”, said Dr Ernest Ward.

In cats, the most common sites for these lesions are the head, chest, forelegs and the ridge of the back. Fortunately, these lesions are not itchy. Sometimes, in long-haired breeds, ringworm is extremely hard to detect since they don’t have any hair loss or clinical symptoms.

Causes of ringworm in cats

This disease is always caused by the fungal spores of ringworm. “The spores can spread to other cats quite easily, either directly or indirectly. In direct contact, a cat touches another animal who has ringworm in order to get the infection. With indirect contact, a cat can get ringworm simply from touching the bedding, food and water dishes, toys, and other items that a carrier or infected pet has come in contact with”, said Dr Kruzer. Since ringworm is always caused by the same thing, treatment is quite straightforward. Ringworm treatment for cats will always focus on exterminating the fungal spores to stop the spreading of this infectious disease!

Diagnosing ringworm in cats

Vets usually perform one or several different tests to aid their diagnosis:

  1. Wood's Lamp – This is a special black light which may cause the fungus to glow a green colour. This is a simple and non-invasive test to perform, but it is also unfortunately not very accurate.
  2. Microsporum – Vets look for the fungal spores under a microscope by sticking clear tape to the lesion and applying a purple stain to the cells.
  3. Culture – This is one of the most accurate ways to diagnose ringworm. Your vet “(…) takes samples of your cat's fur and skin and place them on a special culture medium to see if the fungus will grow. This is unfortunately also a very slow method and can take over a week to get results”, said Dr Kruzer.
  4. Biopsy – This is the most invasive way to diagnose ringworm. it involves cutting out a piece of skin and sending it to the lab for microscopic analysis.
  5. PCR – It uses a polymer chain reaction test that uses skin and hair to detect ringworm in a very non-invasive way.

What is the best ringworm treatment for cats?

If you want to know how to treat ringworm in cats, you need to ask your vet! Once he has declared that your cat has this disease, you should begin training right away. “If your veterinarian has diagnosed your cat with ringworm, they will most likely prescribe an anti-fungal medication to treat the infection. Itraconazole is the most often used medication in pets with ringworm but due to the size of the capsules, it typically has to be compounded into a liquid solution in order to dose it for a cat”, said Dr Kruzer.

Although Itraconazole is an excellent ringworm treatment for cats, vets might recommend topical ointments to treat ringworm in conjunction with the oral treatments. If you use both, you will kill both the spores on the skin and suppress the infection in the cat at the same time! Sincerely, there is no better ringworm treatment for cats than this one!

How can you prevent ringworms in cats?

As you read in this article, ringworm is highly contagious in cats but it is also preventable. There are a couple of measures that you can do to in terms of prevention:

  • Wash your hands after and before handling a cat
  • Don't let your cat play with cats that don't live inside your house
  • Keep your house clean. If your cat has ringworm, use bleach to clean everything!

Ringworms is a very nasty disease in cats. Try to follow these preventive measures to avoid any unwanted complications. Remember the best ringworm treatment for cats in case your cat gets this disease!