Contrary to its name, Ringworm is not a worm at all but a fungus. There are three types of ringworm, one type is the same fungus typically referred to as “athlete’s foot”. When this fungus grows anywhere other than the bottom of the foot, it is called ringworm. The fungi live on the surface of the skin and in the hair follicles.
The usual symptom is a round hairless lesion. However, the characteristic "ring" that we see on humans doesn't always appear as a ring on animals. This lesion will grow in size and often become irregular in shape.
Ringworm is commonly found on the face, ears, tail and paws. The lesions are scaly and the skin may be reddened. The spots may or may not be itchy.
Transmission can happen by direct contact with another infected animal or person. It can be passed from cats to dogs and vice versa as well as from pets to humans and from humans to pets. The fungal spores can live in the environment for a long time and can be found in soil, carpets, bedding, grooming equipment, etc. The spores can infect an animal or person when they come into contact with them. The incubation period is 10-12 days. This means that following exposure to the fungus, about 10-12 days will pass before any lesions occur.
Can humans catch ringworm from animals? YES.
Humans can contract ringworm by handling an animal with the condition, or sharing a living area with them.
Are all cats, dogs, and people susceptible to ringworm?
Healthy adult animals and people usually have a resistance to ringworm. Young animals and people are more susceptible because their immune system haven't fully developed. Many animals are carriers of ringworm but show no symptoms. They can, however, infect other animals or humans.
Is there a cure for ringworm?
If no treatment is carried out, ringworm will run its course in two to four months and the symptoms will resolve themselves. However, treatment is recommended to save the pet from suffering any longer than necessary and to cut down the period of time they are contagious.
Ringworm Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis: If you see ANY hair loss on your cat/kitten, please inform Kitty City staff immediately. They will instruct you to bring your foster pet in for an examination. If your pet is found to have ringworm, you will have the option to continue treatment in your home or leave your foster pets at the shelter.
Oral Antifungal Medication: The vet may prescribe an antifungal drug that inhibits fungal reproduction.
Decontaminate the environment: Use bleach mixed at 1:10 (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) on any surface you can, at least every other day. This solution should kill 80% of the spores. Vacuum on a daily basis and dispose of vacuum bags/empty vacuum canister, which will contain the spores. Steam cleaning of carpets and furnishings will also kill a large number of the spores. This is best done after pets have left the home. Don't forget the animal’s bedding! Wash all bedding in very hot water with detergent that contains color safe bleach and dry on high for 60 minutes.
Quarantine: Confine fosters to one room of the house or in a crate to avoid spreading spores all over the house.