Unlike how it sounds, ringworm is not a condition caused by worms, but is actually a fungal infection (dermatophytosis). It appears as a type of skin infection that can range from subtle lesions to serious hair loss, inflammation, scales, and itching. It occurs most frequently in young cats as well as long-haired cats, and it can be picked up from other animals or the environment. Ringworm is very contagious and can spread not only from cat to cat, but also from cats to dogs and even humans. It is very important that if there an outbreak of ringworm in your house, it is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Your cat should be taken to the veterinarian so they can have a microscopic examination and fungal culture to determine exactly what kind of dermatophytosis they have and how it should be treated.
How to Get Rid of Ringworm in Cats with Medication
Your veterinarian will most likely prescribe either a systemic or topical approach to treating the ringworm, depending on the severity of the problem. The systemic system uses a liquid such as Itrafungal, which contains itraconazole. Your cat is treated with the product for three weeks, followed by a week of no treatment as the chemicals build up in the skin. Itrafungal is safe to use in all cats over 10 days old and is one of the most prescribed forms of ringworm treatment. The topical system involves shampooing or dipping the cat with a chlorhexide and miconazole shampoo. How often this is done depends on the condition of the cat’s skin. If they have severe lesions it may be done less often as it could cause discomfort or even pain. For both types of treatment it is recommended that the cat’s hair be cut very short, especially if they are a long-haired cat.
How to Get Rid of Ringworm in Cats by Disinfecting the Environment
Just treating your cat will not be enough to fully get rid of a ringworm infection. The environment your infected cat has been living in will also have to be treated. Set up an area that has been completely cleaned and disinfected using bleach or other anti-microbial cleaners. Quarantine the cat in this area until they are done with all treatments and are clear of the ringworm as well. Clean all areas of your house where the infected cat has been. If they have soft toys, bedding, or blankets, you may need to dispose of these altogether as the fungus spores may not clean from them all the way.
How to Get Rid of Ringworm in Multiple Cats
An outbreak of ringworm among multiple cats can be a much harder problem to take care of than in just one cat. All of them will need to be taken to the veterinarian and diagnosed for sure, and then all will need to begin a treatment regimen. It may be harder to clean your house, as more cats mean more chances the spores were spread. It is necessary that you do this thoroughly, however, as otherwise the infection will return.