Ringworm in cats is a skin and fungal disease that causes discomfort and discomfort to your pet. It can spread to humans and you must be aware of all its signs to protect the whole family.

Ringworm in cats is a highly contagious disease caused by the fungus  microspurum canis . The symptoms are evident mainly in the fur of felines and it usually affects those pets that have problems in their immune system.

In addition to cats, ringworm can also affect other animals and humans. That is why it is important that you know all the details of this disease and know how to attack it in a timely and effective manner.

What is ringworm in cats 

The first thing you should know is what is ringworm in cats, a very contagious disease that can affect cats, other pets and even humans. 

Ringworm in cats is also known as  feline dermatophytosis  and is considered a skin and fungal pathology . This means that the disease is generated in the skin of felines and is caused by a fungus, which is called  microspurum canis.

Although ringworm in cats is considered a skin disease, the fungus that produces it also affects the hair and nails of pets. This is because the fungus that produces it feeds on the keratin present in these three parts of the body: hair, nails and skin.

Ringworm in cats is a zoonosis, that is, it can be transmitted from animals to humans . This makes it a delicate pathology that requires constant avoidance and supervision, since it can put the well-being of both the feline and the whole family at risk.

Being transmitted by a fungus , it is an easily contagious disease that is generated after close contact between a sick cat and a healthy one, or after contact with infected environments or objects.

However, you should know that there are certain factors that increase the probability of contagion of ringworm in cats:

  • Malnutrition
  • parasites in cats
  • weak immune system
  • Lack of hygiene
  • lack of sunlight
  • Living in precarious conditions
  • feline stress

That’s why it’s important to keep a close eye on your cat’s overall health and make sure you provide a clean and safe space in which to be , especially if you have more than one pet. Likewise, we recommend that you comply with all the  mandatory vaccinations for cats .

The environment in general, outside your home, is also essential to avoid these infections, especially if your cat goes for a walk. Make sure that the cats in your area are healthy and if there are stray cats, it is best to seek help from people who specialize in street pets.

Symptoms of ringworm in cats 

The symptoms of ringworm in cats are external, visible and begin to be noticed after two weeks of contracting the fungus.

In each pet , the appearance of symptoms may vary depending on the behavior of its organism and the state of its health , therefore, you should be attentive to any of the following signs:

  • Hair loss, can be localized or general.
  • Itching, which causes your cat to start scratching, licking, or chewing excessively.
  • Coasts and scales.
  • Appearance of  dermatophytic kerions,  which consist of severe inflammation in very specific and delimited areas of the skin.
  • Change in body odor.
  • Cracked or broken nails.

The symptom of itching is one of the most common and to which special attention must be paid, since it is one of the triggers of the disease. Cats tend to scratch or lick themselves to relieve itching, however, this action makes the fungus spread faster to the rest of the body.

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned, the first thing you should do is isolate your cat, especially if it lives with other pets inside the house. You should contact your trusted veterinarian to indicate the protocol to follow .

To determine whether or not your cat has ringworm, the vet should perform one of the following tests:

  • Fungal culture : It is done in a clinical laboratory from a sample of the affected hair that is around the lesions.
  • Microscopic analysis of the affected hairs : it must be carried out by a specialist mycologist who knows how to take the appropriate samples so that the result is optimal.
  • Wood’s ultraviolet lamp : it is the least reliable of the three, it consists of analyzing the cat’s body in a dark room using an ultraviolet lamp that will show a fluorescent light where the fungus is. It is not 100% effective because it was found that not all infected cats show this fluorescence.

Ringworm in Cats: Treatment 

The treatment of ringworm in cats should be determined by the veterinarian depending on the progress of the disease.

When cats have a strong immune system, the fungus can self-eliminate during the first few days of infection. Otherwise, the cat with ringworm can receive two types of treatment:

  • Topical.
  • Systemic.

Topical treatment is applied directly to the cat’s skin and fur . A special shampoo and rinse is used for ringworm in cats and in some cases it is recommended to shave the pet to eliminate all traces of the fungus. For the latter, the cat must be sedated and the hairs that are removed must be burned to prevent the spread of the fungus.

Systemic treatment for ringworm in cats consists of the administration of medications for a period not exceeding one month. There is a wide variety of medications and the veterinarian is the one who must decide which is the best option and the recommended frequency.

In most cases, systemic treatment must be accompanied by topical treatment.

Differences between ringworm and scabies in cats 

It is common to confuse the symptoms of skin diseases and therefore you should know what the differences are between ringworm and scabies in cats.

Mange in cats is a disease that also affects the skin and coat of cats , but unlike ringworm, which is caused by a fungus, it is caused by mites that commonly live on the skin surface of pets.

Ringworm is most commonly seen on the cat ‘s head, tail, and limbs, although it can affect any part of the cat’s coat. You may also notice that your cat’s claws have become unnaturally malformed, scaly, crusty, or broken.

Mange shows visible hair loss around the cat’s head, eyelids, neck, and sides . In addition, scaly lesions, scales, and crusty patches may appear. Skin crusting and hair loss first appear on the ears, head, and neck, but can spread throughout the body.

While the symptoms of ringworm and scabies may appear similar, one noticeable difference is that with scabies the cat’s hairs usually break off at the base, whereas with ringworm, they often break off mid-stem.

Another important difference is the transmission of the disease , since cat scabies, except for notoedric scabies also known as “feline scabies” which is very rare but highly contagious, are not easily transmitted to humans and in the case of other animals the probability of contagion by contact is almost nil. In the case of ringworm, the chances of contagion are very high in both cases.

In addition to scabies and ringworm, we recommend that you learn about the rest of the dermatological conditions that can affect your cat, such as dermatitis in cats .

home remedies for ringworm in cats

The first natural remedy to treat ringworm is to keep your cat’s fur clean by bathing it regularly with a special antifungal shampoo.

Other home remedies to naturally combat ringworm in cats are:

  • One of the best natural remedies against this skin infection is to make a paste with salt and vinegar and then apply it to the wounds.
  • To treat ringworm in cats naturally, you can also use Neem oil , which contains antifungal properties that will speed up the healing process of ringworm.
  • Apply an ointment of garlic and neutral Vaseline . Garlic, due to its disinfectant and antifungal properties, is also a perfect home remedy for ringworm in cats.


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