Bug's Ringworm Experience

January, February, March 2003

Shortly after we got Bug, Jason noticed a sore on her neck, which he pointed out to me. It was about the size of a dime at that time. I was about to go on a trip for about a week so I told him I would look at it when I got back. Most things like this just heal themselves. When I got back I looked at the lesion, which was about the size of a quarter and knew immediately that it was ringworm. So off to the vet I went with Bug.
Here is a close up of the ringworm lesion. It is about the size of a quarter. Both of these pictures were taken after Bug had ben given an anti-fungal bath. At this point Bug was in quarantine in the bathroom. Poor Bug probably thought we were mean to keep her locked up for 3 months in the bathroom! I felt so bad about having to do that. But certain types of ringworm can be passed to people and other animals. it is highly contagious among cats but we didn't have any other cats. We did have a dog, and I didn't want the dog to get ringworm and I certainly didn't want Jason or myself to get it either!

Ringworm Information

Ringworm is fairly common in cats particularly rescue cats. When we got Bug I didn't realize that it was very common in the local cat populations. I have had many critters in the past but had never had a problem with ringworm so it was new to me. I do remember having ringworm myself as a child.

Common Questions about Ringworm:

  1. What is Ringworm?
    Answer: Ringworm is not actually a worm. It is a parasitic fungus.
  2. What should I do?
    Answer: Go to the vet. You can have a culture done to determine if it is ringworm or not. Some types of ringworm will glow under blacklights and your vet should test for that. The kind that do not glow under blacklight tend to be easier to get rid of, I discovered. Luckily Bug had the non-glowing type. Also- quarantine the infected cat immediately- away from carpets if possible. I put Bug in one of our bathrooms with her litter box and food. I was able to keep the area very clean and used a product called Quatricide PV, which is sold for cleaning vet hospitals. It is an antifungal as well as an antiviral cleaner. Bug was in quarantine for 3 months total and she was not released until I saw new hair growth in the area of the lesion.
    The vet can also give your cat a series of injections and I would recommend doing this. I did get the series with Bug. In addition to the injections I gave her a bath twice a week using an anti-fungal shampoo which I got from the vet. Twice a day I wiped the ringworm lesion with antifungal pads and put some antifungal cream on it. Because of the location of Bug's Ringworm I didn't really worry too much about her licking it off, but if your cat has a lesion in an area that is more accessible to the cat, you might get an E-collar to prevent them from licking off all the medication.
  3. How long are the Ringworm spores active? How long must my cat be in quarantine?
    Answer: This was one of the most frustrating questions I had when Bug had the ringworm problem. No one seemed to know the answer! I wanted to know how long the spores were active AFTER the lesion on the cat was healing- so I could know how long I had to keep up an extra vigilant cleaning schedule. My Uncle was the one that finally gave me the answer: About a month. So if the infected animal has a healing lesion- you must keep up vigilant cleaning for a month to prevent reinfection.

Ringworm Links

  • Facts About Ringworm
    Good site with great information. On this page there is a link to a PDF file with more good information on ringworm in cats.
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