Ringworm, what a disaster...




This is a skin disease caused by a fungus (plural: fungi).


The disease has it's name because once was thought that ringworm

would be cause by a worm curling up in the tissue but in fact

it has nothing to do at all with any type of worm.


It is also known as dermatophytosis. 4 species of fungi can

cause dermatophytosis in cats;but most likely it is caused

by the organism called microsporum canis. Microsporum canis

is so well adapted to cats that up to 20% of cats are thought

to be asymptomatic carriers, meaning they have the organism

but show no outward signs. Actually an Ringworm infection

starts in the dead layer of the skin, hair and nails. The

fungus is able to utilize this dead keratin in the skin as

a source of nutrition.


It is in no way life threatening and exactly the same fungus

that people might get on their feet. Almost every breeder

made once in a life-time his experience with this fungus.

Having several cats in a house doesn't make it easier. You

can isolate the infected cat but it's almost impossible

to keep this disease away from the rest of the cats and

even family members. And if you have it once it seems that

it is a neverending story... Just keep in mind that ringworm

is NOT life threatening. For sure, it is a nuisance BUT it

is treatable. Really nobody can say that he will never get

ringworm, especially not breeders who is buying new cats

for breeding, who is showing the cats, etc. not even if

the cats are regularly checked by the vet. Sure you can

keep it under control with preventative treatment if you

keep new cats isolated or if you come back from shows, etc.

but saying your cattery is completely ringworm free seems

a lie to me, as you have ringworm spores verywhere in the

air. Sure nobody should sell a cat or a kitten with an

active ringworm infection but even if you don't see any

ringworm infection it doesn't mean that there are no

spores in the coat.




Prevention could be:


If you bring a new cat to your home, keep it isolate for at

lease 4 weeks and give a fungal culture upon arrival, means

after 3 days because some breeder give topical or oral treat-

ment so you might get a false negative result.


After the culture has been taken, start givining topical

treatment once a week for four weeks (please talk with your

vet.) and get the best treatment for your cat. Sure you

could wait for the result of the culture but prevention is

cheaper before all your cats and family members are infected.


Kittens are most susceptible and preferable they should not

have ringworm at all. Preventative they could get topical

treatments from 3 weeks of age and if necessary treat the

entire litter with oral Sporanox (low dose 5mg/kg) until they

go to their new home. Sporanox is the most expensive, but

the safest and most effective oral treatment out there and

lime sulphur dips (although smelly) work the best topically.


However, please keep in mind that the majority of breeders

you come across will probably have, at some time, dealt

with ringworm as well even if they would never talk about

that officially.







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