Most of us have pets at home like cats and dogs. We spend a great deal of time, money, and effort to take care of our pets. We often hear stories from people who pamper their pets more than they pamper themselves. Are you one of them? If you are and you think you have done enough to maintain their good health, look again! Your pet might be suffering from a disease that may not be visible to you. One of the most common diseases in cats now a day is the popularly known as the ringworm.

What is ringworm?
It may sound like a worm that we normally see on the ground, but it is not. Ringworm is a fungus that can be found on the surface of the skin. It is also known as dermatophytosis and it is not an ordinary disease. Both cats and dogs are prone to the disease, but it seems cats are especially vunerable. There are three types of fungus that may cause ringworm, but the most prevalent of all is the Microsporum canis. In the Journal of Small Animal Practice, it mentions how 94% of all ringworm in cats are caused by this type of fungus. It is a fungus found on wild animals like small rodents.

How do you know if your cat is suffering from ringworm?
Your cat is most likely suffering from ringworm (dermatophytosis) if you see your cat’s skin with a small, round, hairless lesion on it. Its appearance may vary depending on where the disease occurs. Usually, ringworm occurs on the face, ears, tail, and claws, but it may spread across the other areas of the body and may form an irregular shape. It may start as a small spot, but it grows in size eventually when it is left untreated. When it reaches this stage, the condition can be diagnosed as severe, and may need a long term treatment.

How is ringworm being diagnosed by the veterinarian?
There are different diagnostic tests employed by the vet in order to come up with an accurate diagnosis. The first one is through utilizing a wood’s lamp. It is a specialized black light for the vet to see the presence of fungi on a cat’s body. This equipment makes the fungus glow a flourescent color once exposed to it. Another test is by plucking a hair from the lesion and examining it under the microscope (microscopic diagnosis). Around 40% to 70% of the infection can be diagnosed through this method. The third and the most accurate of all is scraping a sample of scale and crust on the skin and coat, and conducting a fungal culture. Moreover, cats should undergo further assessment to detect other disease that leads to vulnerability to ringworm.

What is the cure for ringworm?
Treatment for ringworm depends on the gravity of the condition. For mild cases, a topical cream containing an antifungal is most likely recommended. Examples of cream are miconazole and thiabendazole. On the other hand, oral and topical treatments should be done on severe cases. For this, the most recommended topical treatment is the lime sulfur dip. This is extremely effective and it can only be used after the vet’s recommendation.

Above all, it is important to decontaminate the environment through intensive cleaning of the carpets and furnishings where fungi might possibly reside. Furthermore, this habit should not be done only when certain condition occurs. It should be done on a regular basis. Remember, “Prevention is better than cure.”

Source:Journal of Small Animal Practice. Volume 30, Issue 4, pages 242–249, April 1989