Because of the highly contagious nature of ringworm, cats should be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian instead of using home remedies. It is possible for some cats, particularly long-haired breeds, to carry the disease and infect others without showing any symptoms of their own, according to VCA Animal Hospitals.
Ringworm is a common fungal infection in cats that affects the skin, hair and nails. Ringworm spores survive in bedding, carpets and other materials for as long as a year and can infect cats, dogs and humans. If a cat owner suspects ringworm, the best way to minimize spreading is to immediately quarantine the cat and contact a veterinarian, says WebMD.
A veterinarian diagnoses ringworm by performing a fungal culture on a sample of the cat's hair and skin scales. Black light tests and microscopic evaluations are used to identify the fungus. If the test is positive, the veterinarian examines the animal for problems that may make the cat more susceptible to ringworm and offers advice or treatment options to improve the condition, states PetEducation.com.
In most cases, the veterinarian prescribes a combination of oral anti-fungal drugs and topical creams to treat ringworm. Clipping the cat's hair and nails may be recommended. Oral medications are typically taken for six weeks, while topical treatment may continue for several months. An anti-fungal cream containing miconazole or thiabendazole is typical, along with a medicated shampoo used to bathe the cat twice a week, according to VCA Animal Hospitals.