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Ringworm - How the Experts Carefully Identify and Treat This Common Cat Health Problem

Scratching, biting and excessive washing of his coat can signal a number of different skin problems for your cat, including the stubborn condition of ringworm. Oddly enough, ringworm is not caused by a worm at all, but by a parasitic fungus.

It can be transmitted through contact with infected animals, soil or even humans. Kittens, pregnant queens and frail and elderly cats are most susceptible to the disease. Signs of ringworm on your cat can include a few broken hairs around the muzzle or ears as well as small, usually round, bald patches that later become crusty.

Although most patches are found on the head, ears, paws and tail, they can appear anywhere on your cat's body. If you have an indoor/ outdoor cat, or a multiple cat household, you might mistake the first signs of ringworm for a scratch or bite inflicted by another cat.

If you suspect your cat has ringworm, you should take him to the veterinarian. The disease is usually treated with pills and/ or topical treatments. For an indoor cat, you should also vacuum the cat's living quarters and wash his bedding, toys and other things that might harbor the fungus.

Treating the environment obviously is impossible with the indoor/ outdoor cat or in totally outdoor cat colonies. Although some cats are carriers of ringworm, many develop natural immunity to the disease.

Since the carriers do not show any signs, it may be very difficult to track down and treat the cause of the recurring ringworm in a multiple cat household. Cats can transmit ringworm to humans and dogs, and humans and dogs can transmit the disease to cats.

If your cat is infected with ringworm, extreme care should be taken with handling him. If possible, isolate him until the scabs fall off the affected area, taking with them the hairs that contain the spores.

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