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The most effective treatment for ringworm in cats is lime dipping in combination with oral anti-fungal medication. Other treatments include the application of topical anti-fungal cream and bathing with anti-fungal shampoo.
The most common topical antifungal is miconazole (yes, that’s the active ingredient in Monistat!) which can be easily purchased over the counter and is very effective at treating ringworm.
Ringworm is definitely contagious — both to other pets and to humans. That said, it’s important to know that ringworm on cats will generally self-resolve within two to four months — meaning, it typically goes away on its own if you do nothing at all.
It’s even possible for indoor cats to get ringworm if they: Have contact with infected cats, dogs, people, or other animals. Visit a grooming or boarding care facility where ringworm spores are present. Touch furniture, carpet, or other surfaces containing ringworm spores.
People with weaker immune systems are more at risk of catching ringworm from cats, including young children, elderly people, people undergoing chemotherapy or treatment involving transplants or transfusions. We recommend that you don’t let children touch your cat if he or she has ringworm.
Over-the-counter antifungals can kill the fungus and promote healing. Effective medications include miconazole (Cruex), clotrimazole (Desenex) and terbinafine (Lamisil). After cleaning the rash, apply a thin layer of antifungal medication to the affected area 2 to 3 times per day or as directed by the package.
Topical terbinafine (Lamisil) and clotrimazole (Lotrimin), are not recommended for use in pets as they do not reduce further growth of ringworm lesions.
“Natural” treatments often suggested on well-meaning pet websites such as apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, tea tree oil, papaya, garlic, grapefruit seed extract, colloidal silver, betadine, and topical bleach are not effective and some of these home remedies are toxic to pets.
- Itraconzole – commonly used and one of the most effective drugs for dermatophytosis in cats.
- Griseofulvin – this is an old drug that used to be commonly used – it remains effective, but itraconazole is an easier and more effective treatment.
Apple cider vinegar Apple cider vinegar has strong antifungal properties, so it may help treat ringworm when applied topically to the affected area. To use it, soak a cotton ball in undiluted apple cider vinegar and brush the cotton ball over your skin. Do this three times per day.
Cats dislike apple cider vinegar (ACV) because of its smell. If ingested in undiluted form, some cats may have diarrhea and vomiting. A non-diluted version of ACV can be abrasive to a kitten’s tender skin. Some cats may have allergies to ACV, which may lead to itching and rashes.
What Can Happen If Ringworm Is Left Untreated? If a cat with ringworm is not properly treated, the lesions can spread over large areas of the animal’s body, causing hair loss and skin infections.
The clearest and most common clinical signs of feline ringworm include the following: circular areas of hair loss, broken and stubbly hair, scaling or crusty skin, alterations in hair or skin color, inflamed areas of skin, excessive grooming and scratching, infected claws or nail beds, and dandruff.
- Ring-like lesions on your cat’s skin.
- Scaly texture or dandruff in your cat’s coat.
- Circular, thickened patches of skin with hair loss.
- Sore, red and crusty patches.
Terbinafine (brand name Lamisil®) is a topical antifungal used occasionally to treat skin fungal infections in dogs. It is not as effective for treating fungal skin infections in cats.
Infected pets remain contagious for about three weeks if aggressive treatment is used. The ringworm will last longer and remain contagious for an extended period of time if only minimal measures are taken or if you are not faithful with the prescribed approach.
To kill ringworm spores, clean and disinfect solid surfaces. Launder bedding and other fabric, small area rugs and soft articles. Vacuum upholstered furniture and drapes, and discard the vacuum cleaner bag. Press duct tape to furniture to remove any hair the vacuum missed.
Oral Medication should be given as directed, for 14-28 days. Young animals should be weighed every two weeks and their dosage re-calculated. All ringworm animals should be kept strictly quarantined in a room that is easily cleaned, preferably without carpeting or upholstery.
Ringworm spreads rapidly. It is a zoonotic disease which means that it can spread from cats to humans. It is important to remember, however, that ringworm is treatable and that infected animals do not need to be euthanased.
You may cover the area with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage. Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed. It should heal within 2 weeks. After the diseased and dead tissue has been removed, the infection can treated.
Most cases of ringworm, groin infections and athlete’s foot can be treated using an over-the-counter antifungal cream, gel or spray.
Clotrimazole is a topical antifungal solution for dogs and cats used to treat fungal skin infections.
The FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) has approved miconazole topical lotions, creams, and sprays for use in dogs and cats to treat superficial yeast skin infections that respond to this medicine.
Lotrimin AF (clotrimazole) is an effective over-the-counter medication used for athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch, but it shouldn’t be used for more serious infections.
Coconut oil has both microbial and antifungal properties that can help treat ringworm infections. It’s an extremely effective topical home remedy for ringworm and infections with other fungi, like candida.
Bleach diluted 1:10 will kill 80 percent of fungal spores with one application and any surface that can be bleached, should be bleached. It should be noted, however, that bleach cannot disinfect anything if there is any dirt or grime. General cleaning should always precede disinfection.
- Bathe all pets in the household with a medicated rinse or shampoo while wearing gloves. …
- Wash the infected pet’s bedding and toys with a disinfectant that kills ringworm spores. …
- Vacuum daily for about two weeks to rid the house of infected hairs and skin cells.
Symptoms of Ringworm Infection in Cats In some cases, the affected skin can appear red and inflamed with a distinct circular rash (hence the name ringworm) that is very itchy for cats. Excessive grooming and scratching may be seen in cats infected with ringworm.
Oral antifungal medications should also be used to treat ringworm in cats. These include drugs like itraconazole (typically at 5-10 mg/kg orally once a day for 3 weeks), fluconazole, terbinafine, griseofulvin, and ketoconazole.
How do I keep from getting ringworm? The best defense against the itchy, scaly infection is to keep cool and dry and use a moisture barrier on the skin like Vaseline or Aquaphor.
Tea tree oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Tea tree oil can be effective in treating ringworm, and it soothes the skin. Tea tree oil may be applied to the affected area directly. Patients with sensitive skin can dilute tea tree oil with other oils like jojoba oil and coconut oil.
Accelerated hydrogen peroxide (of which Rescue is one brand) is our favorite disinfectant. When diluted appropriately, accelerated hydrogen peroxide does a great job decontaminating an environment contaminated by ringworm spores, but it has not been assessed for safety or labeled for use as a topical treatment product.
“It’s really good for them,” she says. You can also add vinegar to your dog or cat’s drinking water, about one teaspoon per quart of water. Of course not all pets will accept the taste so Morgan suggests having two water bowls out, one with vinegar and one without, to ensure that your pet gets enough water.
Although coconut oil is not poisonous to cats, it may not be the ideal addition to every cat’s diet. Any change in diet, supplements, or medications can affect your cat’s health. Depending on your cat, increased fat in the diet may lead to weight gain or digestive issues.
Your Pet’s Skin When your pet has a skin problem, one of the first things you might notice is that they have a new unpleasant odor. This strange smell is often the result of a skin infection caused by bacteria yeast or ringworm.
There’s no set time limit for a ringworm infection. Without treatment, it may go away on its own in a matter of months in a healthy person. Or it may not. Ringworm on the body is usually treated with a topical ointment such as terbinafine.
Infected cats continuously drop fungal spores from their skin and fur. These spores, which remain capable of causing infection for many months, are difficult to eradicate from a household. Children are particularly at risk of infection.
Ringworm is a common skin infection that is caused by a fungus. It’s called “ringworm” because it can cause a circular rash (shaped like a ring) that is usually red and itchy.