What is Cat Ringworm in White Bear Lake, MN and How Can I Tell If My Pet Has it?

There are many pet skin conditions that can seem to offer the same symptoms. Itchy or red skin might point to many kinds of conditions from allergies to fungal or pest-related conditions. Many owners feel worried when they see signs that their cat is having some kind of skin issue since it can be hard to tell what the cause of the condition is and what can be done about treating it.

If you think that your cat has ringworm, this condition is quite easy to recognize. Once you know what this condition is and what it looks like, you will be able to tell if your cat does in fact have ringworm. Treating this condition is easy once it is diagnosed and it tends to offer really recognizable symptoms.

If you are ready to learn more about cat ringworm and how to recognize it, read on!

What is Cat Ringworm?

cat ringworm in white bear lake, mnRingworm is not actually caused by a worm. This is a fungal infection that causes circular bald patches that are itchy and red. These circles of inflammation can become infected if your cat scratches at them and if you do not catch the signs of the issue early, you might suddenly see these patches all over your cat’s body.

The fungi that cause this infection are called dermatophytes. These are little microorganisms that come from the soil, but they can also be contracted when your cat comes into contact with another pet that has ringworm. These fungi live on the keratin in your cat’s skin, and this is what causes the inflammation that leads to the baldness and scratching that you are seeing in your cat.

This condition can resolve itself over time as your cat’s immune system fights off the invaders. However, in cases where your cat has patches of balding and irritated skin all over their body, it is not likely that the cat’s immune system will be able to fight off the infection. For cats that are very itchy, it is also wise to treat them before they get secondary skin infections that can get serious.

How Can I Tell If My Cat Has Ringworm?

Ringworm is often very recognizable, and you should be able to tell right away that your cat has this skin condition. There are many other skin conditions that are not as easy to recognize, but ringworm has a very specific presentation that is easy to diagnose even if you have never seen it before.

If you think that your cat might have ringworm, you should look for these symptoms:

  • Circular areas of hair loss
  • Broken hair
  • Scaly or crusty round patches on the skin
  • Skin discoloration
  • Excessive grooming or skin shaking
  • Scratching
  • Skin infections
  • Infected nail beds
  • Dandruff

Most pets show some combination of these symptoms but the most common and easily identified symptom is circular and patchy hair loss. This is the hallmark of this condition, and it is usually obvious right away that this is the reason for your cat’s itchiness and skin irritation.

Cat Ringworm Treatments

Treatment for this condition is often quite simple, here are a few options your veterinarian might recommend.

Topical Treatment

A topical antifungal can be put on the affected areas and your vet will probably have you place your cat on an oral antifungal treatment protocol as well. If the condition does not resolve through these treatment protocols after six weeks, it might be necessary to clip off all your cat’s body hair. A lion clip can help keep the skin from being moist or irritated and can make treatment far easier.

Antifungal Shampoo and Conditioner

Your cat might need to be bathed in antifungal shampoo and conditioner every few days for a while after their clip to help resolve the issue completely. Some groomers or vets can do an antifungal dip treatment as well to help speed up the process of healing the skin and eradicating the condition. Some cats will not allow you to wash them at home so a groomer or a vet might be needed to help with this process.

What to Expect with Treatment

Some cats will take longer to heal and recover than others and you need to be sure that you treat all the pets in the house at the same time if they are showing signs of the condition. This is a communicable skin condition so your pets might continue to infect each other if you are not treating them all at the same time.

Make sure that you wear gloves when treating the lesions on your cat’s skin and wash your hands before touching other pets in the household. People can get ringworm from animals, and you will want to avoid having the same condition as your cat does. If your cat is showing a small number of lesions, you can start treatment with a human anti-fungal first to see if this will resolve the problem without having to head to the vet.

Caring for Cat Ringworm is Easy Once It is Diagnosed

Caring for ringworm is quite simple in most cases. If you catch the infection early, you will be able to stop the infection from spreading and spare your cat from having to be clipped and bathed for a while. This can be a condition that affects some cats far more than others, so your pet might escalate quickly from the early stages to a more severe infection even if you try to treat it at home right away.

Make sure that you head to the vet if your cat is not responding to your treatment efforts. You can get this condition from your pet, so you should not wait too long to get oral medications and stronger topical treatments as needed. This can be the key factor in keeping ringworm from spreading through your entire household and it is well worth the cost if you are spared this difficulty. While it is unsightly, cat ringworm is not a serious health condition, and you can treat it at home with ease in most cases.

Talk with your Birch Lake Animal Hospital veterinarian about your cat’s ringworm by calling (651) 426-2246 or booking an appointment online!