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Ringworm in cats – the most important information


Fungi in cats mainly attack the skin and its products (hair and claws) and may complicate other diseases, including otitis externa. Symptoms of fungal diseases can be very characteristic, but their diagnosis usually requires additional tests because they often resemble other skin diseases in cats. In this article you will learn what ringworm in cats is and what to do if you suspect that you have this problem may apply to your pet.

What fungal diseases occur in cats?

Among the fungal diseases in cats, the most common are dermatophytoses, i.e. skin diseases caused by keratophilic fungi, collectively called dermatophytes. In 95% of cases, it is responsible for the development of these diseases Microspores dog. Other dermatophytes found in cats include: Microsporum gypseumTrichophython mentagrophytes Whether T. verrucosum. In addition, you can also find yeasts of the genus Candida and Malasseziaespecially accompanying inflammation of the external auditory canal.

Where does dermatophytosis in cats come from?

Spores of pathogenic fungi are common in the environment, and up to 46% of cats may be their carriers. However, not all cats get sick. Cats with weakened immune systems most often suffer from fungal skin diseases, which is why the problem usually affects kittens and older cats. Also affected are cats that suffer from FIV or FeLV, are undergoing treatment with drugs that inhibit the immune system’s response (e.g. steroids), have an incorrect diet (especially vitamin A and protein deficiency) and those living in herds and in poor hygienic conditions. Cats, as animals that naturally hunt alone, may not cope with too high a density of animals in a small space. This situation causes them stress, which lowers their immunity. Thorough hygiene is also very important – by licking the cat, it removes fungal spores from the hair and prevents the development of fungal diseases. Therefore, long-haired cats are more likely to get sick because it is more difficult for them to take care of their fur and reach less accessible places on their bodies.

If you want to learn more about a cat diet that strongly supports immunity, be sure to read the article “BARF diet for dogs and cats – what do you need to know about it?”

Red skin in a cat

Ringworm in cats – symptoms

Dermatophytosis in cats is a disease whose symptoms can be easily confused with other skin diseases, and may also occur asymptomatically. A disease caused by Microspores dog it is called athlete’s foot due to the characteristic breakage of the hair that resembles the area affected by the disease being clipped with a razor. Cat dermatophytosis can cause large oval lesions where the hair is broken off just above the epidermis. The skin in these places is red and thickened, which is especially visible on the edges of the lesion. It is also covered with a gray coating or dandruff – hence some people may think that it is psoriasis in cats.

However, psoriasis is a non-infectious disease specific to humans and is not found in cats. In skin mycosis, lesions most often occur on the head, but they can also be seen on the sides of the body, abdomen and limbs – rarely in other places. There is also itching, but it is not very intense. In some cats, a fungal infection of the cat’s skin only causes thinning and fraying of the fur without the characteristic bald patches.

Read also “10 symptoms of disease in cats”.

Cat ear fungus

Ringworm caused by Microspores dog it may occur in the cat’s earlobes, which then become bald, thickened and covered with a gray coating. This fungus may also be responsible for otitis externa, just like yeast Candida. However, the most frequently detected fungi causing otitis are those of the genus Malassezia. Very often, ear infections are caused by several factors at the same time. Therefore, if your pet is scratching its ears intensively and shaking its head, it is important to take it to a veterinarian who will implement appropriate treatment based on tests.

Ear fungus in cats

How to diagnose ringworm in a cat?

First of all, if you notice any disturbing symptoms, you should take your pet to a veterinarian. Ringworm is diagnosed based on characteristic symptoms combined with an assessment of the cat’s predisposition to ringworm (e.g. young age or medications taken) and additional hair and skin tests. For this purpose, the doctor may take a skin scraping for microscopic examination or collect material for mycological culture. Some strains of the fungus Microspores dog can be detected in the light of UV rays using a Wood’s lamp, but this is not a very common procedure – a negative result does not rule out mycosis, and a positive result may be falsified by the presence of some drugs on the fur (e.g. antibiotics from the tetracycline group). If fungal otitis is suspected, a cytological preparation can be performed from material taken from the ear canal.

Mushroom sample in the laboratory

Ringworm in cats – treatment

Dermatophytosis in cats may go away on its own after a few months. During this time, however, the cat is a source of infection for other animals, but also for humans! Dermatophytosis is a zoonosis, i.e. a zoonotic disease, and humans can become infected with it from their pets. Therefore, it is best to implement appropriately selected pharmacological treatment as soon as possible, because it significantly shortens the duration of the disease and limits its further spread. Cats can be treated with general medications, shampoo therapy, and topical lotions and ointments – in the case of the latter, the doctor may recommend that the cat wear a collar that limits licking.

It is sometimes recommended to shave your cat during treatment, which makes it easier for topical medications to reach the affected areas. In the case of a cat’s ringworm, home remedies to get rid of the problem faster include regular cleaning and disinfection of the cat’s area – including: daily vacuuming and regular washing of beds. Additionally, you should take care of your immune system through proper nutrition, deworming and reducing the density of cats whenever possible.

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