Q:

How do you prevent ringworm in cats?

A:

Quick Answer

Cats get ringworm through direct contact with an infected animal or indirectly through contact with bedding or dishes that have contaminated skin or hair cells on it, so the only prevention is for the cat to avoid infected animals or areas. Ringworm cells are highly contagious and can survive for more than a year.

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Full Answer

Ringworm is a fungus that affects the skin, hair and nails and leads to patchy areas of hair loss. The condition is also known as dermatophytosis. Symptoms in cats include skin lesions on the head, forelimbs and ears, or flaky bald areas with a red center. Severe cases may cover the cat's entire body. Some cats carry ringworm spores but are asymptomatic. Ringworm can affect any cat, but kittens and geriatric cats are the most susceptible to the condition.

An owner should quarantine his cat and contact his veterinarian if he suspects that his cat has ringworm. The owner should wash his hands after touching the cat to prevent spreading the fungus. Treatment options include medicated shampoo, ointment or oral medications. The veterinarian may suggest that the owner bathe other pets with the medicated shampoo to prevent the fungus from spreading. The owner should also wash the cat's bedding and toys, discard any items that he cannot thoroughly wash and frequently vacuum carpets.

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