When is a Worm not a Worm? Ring Worm and your Cat
Ringworm is a typical skin disease that affects many cats. This medical condition is not caused by worms at all, but rather by a fungus. The sores on the skin due to ringworm fungi are circular, which led to the belief at once a time that a curling worm under the skin caused this disease. However, there are no worms involved. If you believe that your cat may have ringworm, make sure that you have him or her see a vet to clear the problem.
Ringworm is also called dermatophytosis. There are four species of fungi that cause ringworm in a cat, and because some of these organisms are so well adapted to a cat’s body, about 20% of cats have ringworm and show no outward signs of the disease. Ringworm commonly infected the dead skin, nails, and hair on an organism, using the keratin in the tissue as food.
Both genetics and environment influence the development of ringworm in cats. For example, research has shown that certain cat species develop the disease more readily. Ringworm spreads quickly between cats, so those illegally or even legally breeding cats may find this a problem. Ringworm caused the hair to break off the skin and may be itchy.
If your cat has ringworm, there are a lot of ways to treat it. First, medications can be given to clear up the fungi found in the body. These may or may not have side effects, so make sure your vet tells you they are safe for your cat. Anti-fungal shampoo baths may also work. These baths should be given every day regularly and are great for cats that don’t mind the water. Lime sulfur dips, done weekly, can also be effective. If you have other pets, they may need to be treated as well to prevent the ringworm from spreading. Vaccines are available to help build an immunization to ringworm. If your cat has extremely long hair, clipping it may be necessary.
Remember, ringworm can infect humans as well as cats, especially children. If your cat has ringworm, or if you suspect this is the case, see your vet immediately. He or she can recommend what course of action you should take to help your cat overcome the ringworm as well as to help the fungi from spreading to other animals and people in your house.