Recently we've had a couple of adopters email us with questions because their cat had contracted ringworm, and they were worried. We realized there are a lot of questions we can answer about this common skin condition that affects both cats and people!
The Bad News
The Good News
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Where does it come from?
Ringworm thrives in warm, moist environments indoors (like locker room showers) or outdoors (like anywhere outside during summertime in Louisiana...) and is frequently contracted by kids from school friends or playing outside in warm, wet climates. Indoor cats tend not to encounter ringworm spores from their environment, but may contract the condition from their human (or possibly even canine) family members. Outdoor and indoor/outdoor cats may bring ringworm back home with them from outside. (Yet another great reason to keep your kitty safe inside!)
What does it look like?
On people, ringworm forms a round, pinkish spot on the skin that typically has very well-defined borders. On cats, you will likely see a round patch of missing fur with some crustiness on the skin in that area. Fun fact: ringworm glows under blacklight!
The immune system will usually mount a response and knock out the ringworm without assistance. However, we still recommend that treatment be provided since it clears the infection up much faster! For cats, you can pick up a foam (no bath required) or a special shampoo from your vet. For people, you can buy a ringworm treatment over the counter from your local drugstore. A dermatologist visit may be necessary for immunosuppressed people (whose skin may clear faster with help of a prescription cream) or if the ringworm infection is on a person's scalp. Ringworm of the scalp typically requires oral medication. Treatment for ringworm is relatively inexpensive and simple, and it is very effective! Ringworm spores can be cleaned from clothes/fabric with the regular washing machine. If you have other animals, it's best to keep the cat with ringworm in a separate room until the ringworm is gone to help prevent spreading to others.
Here's the bottom line...
If your cat, dog, kid, or even yourself get a case of the ringworm, there is no need to panic! Just wait it out or grab some over the counter cream for the humans and some shampoo or foam for the felines/canines and everything will be back to normal in no time. It's inconvenient, but temporary and not serious!
The PCCR Team