|Ringworm in cats|
The meaning and causes of ringworm
Ringworm is a fungal infection of the superficial layers of the skin, nails and hair. Ringworm infections can occur in all types of domesticated animals, and they can also occur in humans.
The name of ringworm comes from the classic appearance of the red circular ring that characterizes the limits of inflammation in people with the disease.The common name for ringworm is somewhat misleading, because the infection is not caused by the worm, and the affected areas are not always ring-shaped.
Organisms that cause ringworm infections belong to a group of fungi known as dermatophytes, so the correct medical name for this disease is dermatitis, some types of dermatophytes are specialized, which means they will not infect only one species, while other species can spread between Different kinds of animals or from animals to humans.
In cats, there is only one type of skin fungus, called "Microsporum Canis," which is also infectious for dogs and humans, and is responsible for all ringworm infections.
Ringworm infection in cats may be caused by other species such as "Trichomonas", which are also zoonotic and can infect humans.
Ringworm lesions can be very mild or even undetectable, so it can be difficult to detect ringworm in cats.
Ringworm fungi feed on keratin found in the outer layers of skin, nails and hair.Cats may have thick, round patches of skin with hair loss.This occurs when the fungi infect the hair shafts, leading to the fragility of the affected hair.
The main sites of these lesions are the skin on the head, chest and front, along the edge of the back, so some cats may have thick round patches of skin with hair loss in cats.
These lesions are usually not itchy, sometimes an infection in the claws, sometimes known as onychomycosis, can occur when the claws become rough and may eventually deform. In particular, long-haired breeds are often seen as incomplete hair loss.
Ringworm without any clinical signs or hair loss, these cats are called "asymptomatic vectors." These cats can infect other animals or even people, especially in multi-cat environments or shelters, without breeders knowing they are infected.
Read also: Heart Disease in Cats
Ringworm transmission method
Ringworm is an infectious disease, and transmission to others may occur through direct contact with fungi, by handling contaminated objects, or by touching contaminated surfaces.
Fungal spores may remain dormant for several months on brushes, combs, food containers, furniture, carpet or other environmental surfaces.This period can be up to 18 months.
Contact with ringworm fungi does not always lead to inflammation. The important factor in heartworm infection is the amount of environmental contamination. .
If you see ringworm marks on your child, they may have acquired them from your pet or possibly from another child at school. If anyone in your family has suspected skin lesions, consult a doctor immediately.
Ringworm incubation period
The incubation period between exposure to ringworm fungi and the onset of ringworm signs usually ranges from 7 to 14 days; some cases may take up to 21 days before the signs of infection occur.
Method of diagnosis of ringworm infection
When the skin and coat are examined in a dark room under a special ultraviolet lamp called a wood lamp, most cases of ringworm caused by M. canis will glow with yellow-green fluorescence, however, not all cases appear and some other types of skin cells do not shine under Lamp Wood, so additional diagnostics may be needed to make sure there are ringworm fungi.
The most accurate way to diagnose ringworm in cats is by planting fungi in vitro.This is done by taking samples of skin and hair cuttings.A positive culture can sometimes be confirmed within two days, but in some other cases the fungus spores may be slow to grow , And the results can take up to 4 weeks, meaning that the suspected case cannot be considered negative for at least a month.
Hair loss in cats may not be due to ringworm, there are many reasons, your veterinarian before making a ringworm diagnosis may recommend additional tests to rule out some of these causes.
Treatment of ringworm
Although the decision usually takes three to five months, the treatment of this disease is always necessary to reduce the risk of transmission to humans, especially children.
The most common method of treating ringworm in cats is to use a combination of topical treatment such as creams, ointments or shampoos, as well as oral treatment. All environmental pollution must be eliminated in order for treatment to be successful and to eliminate ringworm.
1. Treatment of ringworm topical
Topical therapy may be used alone to treat ringworm, but for a better result it is used with oral medication, there are many creams and ointments to apply to localized areas of the skin affected by ringworm.
If only one or two areas are affected, haircuts may be in small enough areas, if your cat is a long-term strain or if there is a more general disease, your veterinarian may recommend cutting all your cat's hair, and bathing with a shampoo at least twice a week, usually What topical treatment is necessary for several weeks to several months, the preparations provided by the veterinarian should be used.
Be sure to wash your hands after bathing or treating your cat, and sterilize any surfaces your cat has been in contact with using bleach solution.
2. Oral treatment
In most cases of ringworm, effective treatment requires the administration of an antifungal drug, Griseofulvin was the most commonly used drug for this purpose, although newer drugs such as terbinafine or itraconazole are frequently used, and are often preferred because they have fewer side effects.
If treatment stops too early, the disease may recur because individual cats respond to treatment differently. The treatment lasts for at least six weeks and may increase in some cases, do not stop treatment unless your veterinarian makes this recommendation.
Try to separate infected animals from uninfected animals and treat infected animals.If there is more than one pet in the family, it may be best to treat all pets.In some cases, consult your veterinarian about the best treatment due to your individual circumstances.
3. Environmental cleaning
The infected cat's hair contains many microscopic fungal spores that can be dumped into the environment, which can occur infecting animals or humans, by direct contact or by contact with fungal spores in a contaminated environment, it is very important to keep the environment as free of germs Possible.
"It is also important to isolate your cat in a room that is easy to clean"
Hair clipping with antifungal topical treatment in affected areas of the skin may help reduce environmental pollution. Always remove pet hair from furniture or floors as it may be contaminated with fungal spores.
Fungal spores may be killed with chlorine bleach solution and water using dilution of half a liter of bleach chlorine in 4 liters of water, where it is practical to use it.
Period of infection
If an aggressive treatment is used, infected pets remain contagious for approximately three weeks. Ringworm lasts longer and will remain contagious for a longer period of time if you are not faithful to the prescribed approach or if minimal action is taken, it is recommended to minimize exposure to other animals such as dogs and cats, and to your family members also during treatment, until the appearance of adverse infection.
Do cats recover from ringworm?
If ringworm is treated appropriately, the vast majority of cats will recover from infection, there should be some improvement within two to three weeks although the appearance of lesions may not change much during the first week.
If treatment stops too early or is not aggressive enough the symptoms may recur, although proper treatment may continue infection and in this case the veterinarian may have to try alternative antifungal drugs.
Is there a danger to humans from ringworm?
Ringworm can be easily transmitted to humans, especially children. Ringworm in humans responds well to treatment, and it is important to take appropriate steps to reduce exposure to fungus during cat treatment.
Ringworm fungi can remain contagious for up to 18 months in the environment and re-infection may occur. It is important to wear gloves when handling infected animals, and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
If anyone at home has skin lesions, especially small spots of thickening of the skin and reddening them with elevated scaly edges, seek medical attention.