Do you suspect your cat has ringworm? As a pet parent, this can be scary to discover. Common symptoms of ringworm include crusty or scaling skin, circular areas of hair loss, stubbly hair, inflamed skin, infected claws, and dandruff. Some cats also excessively scratch and groom themselves to relieve discomfort.
Ringworm is contagious and is quickly passed to others through contact with contaminated objects or direct contact with the infected cat. Ringworm can be passed from cat to person.
This means every surface of the house and furniture your cat has touched needs to be cleaned to help prevent the spread to others in your household.
It also means everyone who has pet your cat has come into direct contact with ringworm. At this point, you probably have plenty of questions. Continue reading to find out more details about ringworm and how long to quarantine a cat with ringworm.
How Long To Quarantine A Cat With Ringworm
What Is Ringworm?
You will be pleased to learn ringworm is not a worm. Ringworm is a fungal infection that affects the skin, nails, and hair.
The name ringworm comes from the circular ring that forms and becomes inflamed. However, some infections are not perfectly circular.
Organisms cause ringworm and come from fungi called dermatophytes.
Microsporum Canis is a specific dermatophyte species that is the cause of almost all ringworm infections in black cats. This particular species quickly spreads and infects humans and dogs.
Pet parents and human family members can get ringworm from petting their infected cat. It’s essential to keep a close eye on your skin and begin your treatment at the first sign of ringworm.
Ringworm that is left untreated can spread all over your cat’s body and cause hair loss, discomfort, excessive itching, and scratching. You can inspect your cat’s skin regularly by slowly petting them against the direction of hair growth. This technique allows you to see the surface of the skin.
If you find any signs or symptoms of ringworm, take action immediately by visiting a veterinarian.
How To Treat Ringworm?
Ringworm treatment for cats includes the following:
The veterinarian will recommend using topical ointments and various creams to apply to the infected skin. This daily treatment needs to continue for at least several weeks or longer. Some ringworm infections take several months to heal.
Some infections will require oral treatment with an anti-fungal medication. Veterinarians usually prescribe griseofulvin, itraconazole, or terbinafine to help fight the infection.
Clean Your Home
This might sound a bit scary, but your cat’s infected hairs quite possibly can be lying around the house just waiting to come into contact with another pet or person in the household.
Clean your home thoroughly using a vacuum cleaner to collect loose cat hair.
Also, wipe down all surfaced using a pet-friendly household cleaner.
Your goal is to disinfect your home entirely to help prevent the spread of ringworm.
How Long Is Ringworm Contagious After Starting Treatment?
Minimizing your cat’s exposure to others living in the household is recommended during the entire duration of ringworm. Cats typically remain contagious for up to three weeks when a combination of ointment and medication is involved in the treatment process.
However, suppose you are only taking minimal steps to get rid of the ringworm and skipping days of treatment. In that case, your cat can remain contagious for several months until aggressive treatment is used.
Cats generally fully recover from ringworm after treatment is complete. The skin heals, and the hair gradually grows back. Cats with underlying health issues that are known for compromising the immune system might take longer to recover from ringworm. In this scenario, veterinarians often try alternative anti-fungal medications.
Should I Isolate My Cat With Ringworm?
Yes. Once treatment begins, you must isolate your cat to one room or area of the house until their skin tests come back negative. Your cat needs to remain quarantined in this particular area of your home for up to two weeks once oral and topical treatment begins.
Medicated baths are also helpful, but your cat needs to experience four baths before being released back into the rest of the house.
Keep in mind you are not punishing your cat for having ringworm. You are only isolating them to one area or room of your home.
Make sure you create an inviting and comfortable space for your cat.
Choose a room that doesn’t get used often by anyone in the house. Close off this room by keeping the door shut. Create a soothing environment for your cat by opening the window shades or window treatments, so your pet can access sunshine. Most white cats enjoy looking outside, so this will help keep them busy during isolation as well.
Place their bed, toys, food, and water bowls in the room as well. Some pet parents will turn on the television or radio to prevent their cat from feeling lonely. Some cats naturally like the attention of their owners and might feel lonely. Wear gloves to pet your cat, so they know they are loved.
It’s best to keep young children entirely away from the cat until the ringworm is gone. The same applies to the elderly. Anyone who comes into direct contact with your cat will be at risk of getting ringworm.
Can I Pet My Cat With Ringworm?
Petting your cat with ringworm is not recommended. People who have weaker immune systems are more prone to catching ringworm than those with normal immune systems.
Older people, children, and individuals going through chemotherapy treatment should avoid contact with the infected cat until the ringworm is wholly gone.
Quarantining your cat for at least two weeks from the first application of treatment is recommended.
If you have people or other pets in your household with low immune systems, extend the quarantine for longer.
The veterinarian will conduct tests on your cat’s skin periodically to confirm it’s safe to release your cat into the rest of the house and allow contact with others.
These tests are scheduled by the veterinarian and require you to bring your cat to the office. It’s best to get your cat in a crate and use gloves when handling your cat.
It’s essential to quarantine your cat to prevent the spread of ringworm. Remember, if everyone in the household gets ringworm at different times, people and pets can become re-infected with the fungus, and the situation can become long-term.
It’s essential to keep your house clean and isolate your cat to prevent the risk of it spreading. Do you think your cat has ringworm? If so, consult with a veterinarian today!