Monday, March 12, 2012

Ring Worm

Ringworm is a very common form of skin disease that is found in both dogs and cats. Although its name makes you think otherwise, this skin disease isn’t caused by any type of worm. It’s actually caused by fungi known as Dermatophytes that feed on dead tissues found on the surface of the skin, spreading them around the skin of the animal.

With cats, there is a certain type of fungi known as M Canis that is found with nearly 95% of all ringworm cases. Normally, cats will get the ringworm disease from contaminated objects like bedding, clippers, or another animal that already has the disease. If there are animals in or around your house that have the ringworm disease, your cat could very easily contract.

Kittens or cats that are under a year old are more susceptible to ringworm, especially if you allow them to go outside.  Both kittens and adolescent cats can easily contract the disease, because it can take a long time to build up their immune systems.  

The most common symptoms of ringworm in cats are rough or broken hairs, or hair loss around the head or the paws. Ringworm can easily be identified by a round, oval or blotcy patch of scaly or inflamed skin on the body.  There will also be broken hairs around the patch of scaly skin, generally caused by your pet scratching or chewing.

If you notice any of the above symptoms with your pet, you should immediately schedule an appointment with your vet.  If the vet diagnoses your cat with ringworm, he may prescribe ointment or tablets. Tablets should be given with meals, and oiontment is spread topically and rubbed gently into the coat. The healing process will take time, normally around six weeks or more.

Cats that have ringworm should be labeled as infectious. If you have children in the house, keep them away from your pet. Whenever you handle your cat, you should always use gloves as ringworms are contagious. Even though it’s a mild disease, ringworm can result in serious problems if not treated right away.

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