When we decide to have a pet, in this case a cat, we must understand that to take care of it we need more than food and attention, we must also take responsibility for its health. Well, if we are not, they can suffer from ringworm or dermatophytosis, one of the skin diseases they most often suffer from.
If you think that your cat may be suffering from this disease, you should immediately go to the vet to have the necessary tests done, since this skin condition, which is caused by a fungus, spreads quickly throughout your pet’s body — and it can even spread to people.
In this article, we will have a look at what a ringworm is and how long to quarantine a cat with ringworm. We will also talk about how it spreads and the treatments that currently exist, including home remedies that work.
- 1 What is Ringworm?
- 2 How Long to Quarantine Cat With Ringworm?
- 3 Factors Favoring Ringworm
- 4 The Contagion of Ringworm in Domestic Cats
- 5 Symptoms of Ringworm in Cats
- 6 How to Treat Ringworm in Cats
- 7 Tips and Home Remedies to Treat Ringworm
What is Ringworm?
Dermatophytosis or ringworm is a fungal skin disease that normally affects cats and is caused by fungi. This fungal disease is very contagious since it not only affects cats, but also other beings such as dogs and even people. If it is transmitted to a person, it is considered to be a zoonosis and therefore, we must be vigilant and prevent its formation in addition to applying the treatments as quickly as possible if the cat presents it.
The Microsporum Canis is the fungus that causes this disease. It is a fungus that, in addition to affecting the skin, affects the nails and fur of the animals that are infected, since its source of food is keratin, which is found in these areas of the body.
When ringworm reaches the nails of our cat, it becomes known as onychomycosis and we will notice its presence because its nails will be broken or easily broken.
Since dermatophytes cannot develop in parts of the body where there is fur or are inflamed, we can notice that in the area where the fungus is developing there is a lack of fur, this being one of the most outstanding symptoms that the cat is suffering from this disease.
It is important that if we become aware of the presence of the fungus (because contagion is easy and reproduces quickly), we must begin treatment as soon as possible and isolate the infected cat from the rest of the pets to avoid contagion. This is why cats with this disease are often seen in places where there are many, such as in colonies, in shelters, kennels, etc.
Depending on how long the disease has been developing in the cat, the ringworm will be more or less severe. Another factor that also influences the severity of the disease is the state of health in which our pet is. If its health is weak, it is more prone to the appearance of opportunistic parasites.
How Long to Quarantine Cat With Ringworm?
A good course to follow would be to quarantine the cat for the entire duration of its treatment, which can take 1 to 3 months.
Once the cat is healed, we must bring it to the vet to perform another test and determine if it has fully recovered. Only when the disease has completely disappeared can you allow the cat out of quarantine.
Factors Favoring Ringworm
Like any other disease, there are factors, whether external or internal, that contribute to its development since it infects other living beings, in addition to spreading through the body of the affected animal.
A cat that lives in a home will be more likely to be affected by ringworm according to its health and its environment, and the factors that contribute to the formation of ringworm in cats are:
The Contagion of Ringworm in Domestic Cats
Cats are animals that catch ringworm and transmit it more easily than others. Since it is a fungal disease, it takes advantage of the spores released by fungi to spread between animals.
By reproducing in this way, it is easy for our cat to catch the disease if it has contact with another cat that is infected, in addition to touching its things, such as food, toys, blankets, and its litter box.
Environmental and health conditions discussed above are important factors for the presence of ringworm in cats and contribute to its rapid transmission. So if our pet is a cat it is important that these conditions are avoided as much as possible, and more if our pet begins to show symptoms, in this way we will help the situation not to worsen.
Small cats can suffer from ringworm due to a poor diet, as their defenses fall. On the other hand, bad or no deworming can also contribute to this.
On the contrary, the formation of this disease in adult cats is a reflection that something more serious than a poor diet or deworming is happening, since it may be due to complications in their health such as a cold, pneumonia, leukemia, or other problems that greatly weaken their defenses.
Symptoms of Ringworm in Cats
Symptoms begin to appear within two to four weeks of being infected. The most common symptoms that cats can suffer are:
The areas of the body that are affected in the first place are its extremities and ears, however, as it expands rapidly, in a few days other areas will be infected as well.
How to Treat Ringworm in Cats
It is important that the veterinarian performs the tests that are required to give a safe diagnosis and also see if there is no other health problem that is causing the appearance of ringworm. Leukemia or feline immunodeficiency are very strong complications that end up weakening the defenses of the animal, and it helps develop parasites or diseases such as ringworm.
When the vet has determined that there are ringworm fungi in your cat through tests such as cultures and trichograms, among others, he will explain which treatment is best for your pet. The veterinarian must take into account the age of your cat, other diseases and parasites that could affect it, see how its immune system is and what risk there is of infecting other living beings. Having all this information will elaborate on the best treatment according to the needs of your pet.
You must clean the areas of your cat’s body that are affected using povidone-iodine or any other product that is antiseptic, anti-infective and antifungal, which serves to disinfect and heal the cat’s skin. When those areas have been cleaned, you can apply the prescribed treatment. The most common treatment is topical, which can be found in different presentations: cream, powder, emulsion, ointment or liquid.
There are also oral treatments but these are more aggressive for our cat’s body. In the event that ringworm persists, systemic treatment will have to be used to completely get rid of the disease.
Since it is a treatment that lasts a long time and with which we must be constant, it is important that we have the patience to see the improvement little by little in our pet until it is completely healed. It is extremely important to follow the instructions of the veterinarian to the letter in the application of the treatments, since the fungi can spread again with any mistake or if we are not constant.
In general, the treatments last between one and three months, however, in the case of ringworm, the treatment should continue for 2 or 4 more weeks once our cat seems cured, in this way you will guarantee complete healing. Once this time has passed, we must take him to the vet to repeat the tests and make sure that the disease has disappeared.
Tips and Home Remedies to Treat Ringworm
Here are some recommendations and home remedies so that you can reinforce the treatment that the veterinarian has given you and that your pet can overcome ringworm easily. IN NO CASE should these remedies replace the treatment that the veterinarian has given.
Since it is a disease that can affect us, we must be careful when we touch the cat and the environment. We will have to clean and disinfect the entire house, especially the areas where it spends more time. You should also use disposable latex gloves for when you touch or treat the cat.
If you have not used the gloves to touch the infected cat, you must wet your hands in bleach diluted in water—this way, you will kill the fungi—and then you must wash them with soap and water.
To avoid transmission to other living beings that are in the house, it will not be enough to clean your home. You will have to quarantine your pet, isolating it from other living beings until it has completely healed and when your trusted veterinarian assures it.
It is recommended that even if only one pet is sick, all pets in the house are washed with antifungal shampoo.
Disinfect the house
Cleaning and disinfecting your home is of vital importance since if you do not kill the fungi that may be in the surroundings, your pet can easily be infected again despite being cured.
You can use special detergents, chlorine, bleach and vacuum thoroughly at least the first and last day of treatment. And don’t forget to dispose of the vacuum bag!
It is recommended that you clean toys, beds, furniture, carpets, etc. with pressurized steam. It will be good to clean every day by vacuuming during the treatment of our pet so that the hairs that are contaminated and floating in the environment are eliminated.
Trim your cat’s hair
If you don’t want the fungus to spread all over your pet’s body, you can cut the hair around the affected hairless areas where the fungus is. This way, you will complicate the job of spreading and it will be easier to eliminate it. You should also get rid of the hair you cut as fungi can live on dead hair.
Brush your cat
Brushing your cat is a good way to eliminate fungal spores, and it will be easier to apply the antifungal products that the vet has sent you. Once you have finished with the brush, you must disinfect it and vacuum the area of the house where you have brushed your pet.
Bathe your cat
It is important that you bathe your cat often using antifungal shampoo and with the treatment that the veterinarian has instructed, to prevent the hairless welts caused by the fungus from becoming infected. You must let the product act for about 10 minutes before removing it and it is vital that the water is at a temperature between 25ºC-27ºC.
Vinegar with salt
You can also use natural remedies found in your home to complement the treatment prescribed by the veterinarian, such as vinegar with salt.
Make a mixture that contains vinegar and iodized salt until you get a paste. Then apply it to the skin areas where your cat has ringworm. Let it act for five minutes, then must remove the paste and wash the area well. Do it daily for at least seven days.
One effective home remedy is garlic since it is considered an excellent antifungal and has disinfectant properties.
To apply it, first chop it and mix it with neutral vaseline. When you have the mixture, apply it to your cat in the infected areas and cover the areas with gauze so that it has a better effect. Leave it overnight. Repeat this process after each bath. You can use this remedy for at least 3 days.
Neem oil is an oil that has a great antifungal effect and you can buy it from herbalists or pharmacies. To use it, put about two tablespoons of this oil in a jar with aloe vera and then stir it. Apply this mixture to the infected areas a couple of times a day and let it act for as long as you can while continuing to bathe it according to the treatment.
Grapefruit seed oil
An oil that also has a great antifungal and antibacterial effect, making it a widely-used product to treat any animal that suffers from ringworm.
Mix this oil with warm water and apply it a couple of times a day on the affected areas of the cat. This oil added to the veterinarian’s treatment will give excellent results.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is an oil widely used for many purposes due to its intense antiseptic properties. Apply a few drops of the oil directly on the areas of your cat infected by the fungus. This treatment together with the baths and the veterinarian’s treatment will bring about great improvements.