You suddenly find a bald patch on your cat, and then another one and another one. You realize this is no longer a coincidence, and you start thinking you have a case of cat ringworm on your hands. If this is the case you are better off washing your hands very well since ringworm is a zoonotic disease meaning that it is contagious to other pets and even people.
Ringworm is not a worm, rather it is a fungus scientifically known as Microsporum Canis that affects the hair follicles causing flaky, ring shaped, unsightly bald patches throughout your pet’s body. However, some cats may only exhibit scaly patches with irregular hair-loss. Common areas involved are the head, ears, shoulders, back and tail. In some cases even the nails may be affected.
Typically this fungal condition is found in slightly malnourished cats or those with a weakened immune system. A diagnosis of ringworm can in some cases be confirmed if the cat’s skin glows under ultraviolet light, however a definitive diagnosis can only be given via skin scraping.
Traditionally, ringworm at the vet’s office can be treated by having your cat undergo several Lyme dips. In more advanced cases where the ringworm has spread to the entire body, antifungal medications may need to be given. However, there are a few home remedies you can try if your cat is suffering from a mild form that has not too much progressed.
Here are a few tips:
- Hair clipping
Carefully clip off the hair especially near the bald patches. This will help prevent the fungus from spreading. Make sure the hair clippings are removed as well by vacuuming.
- Use Betadine solution
Clean the cat’s affected areas with Betadine solution.
- Look for a cream
Look for an over the counter anti-fungal cream containing Miconazole or Clotrimazole (Lotrimin). These creams can be found in your local pharmacy in the foot aisle or in the female yeast infection aisle.
Most of us are aware of the many benefits of apple cider vinegar. Simply take a cotton-ball, pour some ACV on and dab it on the critical spots twice a day for at least one week. The ACV will change the PH balance of the skin making it inhospitable for the fungus.
- Wash you hands carefully
You would think soap and water will suffix, but you might need more than that. Play it safe by washing your hands first in a mild bleach solution followed then by the classic bar of soap and water.
- Clean up well
Spores which cause ringworm will be lingering around the areas your cat frequents for quite some time. You want to wash those areas carefully with diluted Clorox 1:10 and discard the bedding. Vacuum frequently and mop with the same diluted dosage of Clorox.
Whatever home remedy you use please be aware that TEA TREE OIL is toxic in cats! A great news is that ringworm eventually runs its course and goes away on its own after genrally within one to three months.
*Disclaimer: All remedies suggested are not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your pet is sick please refer to your veterinarian for a hands on examination. If your pet is exhibiting behavior problems please refer to a professional pet behaviorist.